Brian Halligan, Co-Founder & CEO
The art of ethical persuasion in marketing has become passé. There was a time when a salesman's last word was taken as the gospel truth and hard selling was the only way to go in marketing. Try an aggressive pitching style on consumers today and prepare to be either slammed with exhaustive knowledge about a product or redirected to spam folders and do not disturb lists. In an age dictated by uninterrupted internet and the power of information, consumers are in complete control of their purchasing patterns, and MIT classmates Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah realized this early on in their career. Starting at a time when marketers inexorably hooked onto traditional methods such as email blasts and cold calls to attract clients, the young graduates seeded HubSpot with a single bait— let the customers come to you. While Halligan was helping venture-backed startups, Shah was authoring blogs which generated massive traffic as compared to companies with professional marketing teams. According to Brian Halligan, Co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, the massive traction that Shah's tiny blog, running on no budget, received made one thing very clear. “People shop and learn in whole new ways compared to before, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction,” says Halligan.
Starting HubSpot with just three customers and a deep seated understanding of market needs, today Halligan and Shah's conviction has turned HubSpot into a multimillion dollar company with clients across 90 countries in a span of ten years. HubSpot's game-changing marketing software focuses on attracting customers through content and interactions that are relevant and helpful and not interruptive. Rather than adopting an outbound method of marketing where prospective leads are hounded with brochures and direct emails, HubSpot employs an inbound methodology. With the HubSpot marketing software, users can not only attract relevant traffic by publishing relevant content with SEO, blogging, and social media tools but they can also design web pages, landing pages, emails, and blog posts without web developers.
"People shop and learn in whole new ways compared to before, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction"
Let the Leads come to You
Today, although the concept of inbound marketing is soon catching up, Halligan warns that most organizations blindly deploy an array of sophisticated digital marketing tools which are sold under the hood of marketing automation.
The consequence is that while marketers end up buying lists of email addresses that bring in short term benefits, it does not provide a set up for long term success. As inbound marketers, HubSpot’s workflow tool ensures that the lead generation campaign is an organic cycle as opposed to a one-time investment so that organizations can scale and grow effectively. The company follows the four stages of inbound marketing: attract the right traffic, convert visitors into leads, close leads as customers, and delight all users through methods like smart text and social monitoring, whether they are visitors, leads, or established clientele.
HubSpot is on a mission to bring inbound to everyone and make our customers’ lives easier
To close the right leads at the right time, the company's software solution uses inbound marketing automation to understand the needs of customers and provides a personalized path to purchase. Using behavioral inputs from multiple channels such as social clicks or pricing pages, marketers can fully understand a lead’s needs, challenges, and how to guide them down the funnel. HubSpot's marketing solution sets up powerful and integrated workflows which help automate emails and follow up campaigns. Halligan explains that with drip campaigns, users can queue up a series of emails that convert leads into paying customers. Being a fully integrated marketing platform, HubSpot enables organizations to also have access to tools which allow them to grow and replenish their database as contacts diminish over time. Owing to its advanced segmentation logic, organizations can also determine which leads should get enrolled in the workflows. Apart from emails, the solution can also be used to set up and automate webhooks, score leads, and internal notifications.
To help attract more targeted traffic to web pages, the solution offers customizable design templates for building websites, blog posts, and landing pages. Along with real-time SEO suggestions, the marketing software also delivers analytics and tracks the return on advertisements. This helps customers gain insight on which marketing assets are most profitable. To top it all, the software can also be connected with HubSpot CRM or Salesforce to automatically record and organize every customer.
In one case in point, the marketing department of Suzuki South Africa realized that they needed to expand their strategies to maximize returns. With the HubSpot software, Suzuki produced articles, infographics, blog posts, and videos—covering topics like how to save fuel when driving an automatic car. This freshly brewed content was published on landing pages and promoted through social media with the social inbox. Visitors were encouraged to interact through calls-to-action and forms and nurtured through the funnel with highly specific workflows. Once specific leads qualified, Suzuki South Africa sent dealership details. In addition, with the marketing analytics dashboard, Suzuki could track every metric regarding how their leads had increased and how effective the inbound marketing strategy was.
Once sales figures were received from dealers, Suzuki also noticed that someone who had visited a particular blog or landing page months ago had finally purchased a Suzuki automobile. Ultimately, using HubSpot, Suzuki South Africa improved their sales by 21 percent.
Materializing Every Marketer’s Dream
Recently, to help marketers discover and validate topics that better match with buyer searches, HubSpot launched the Content Strategy tool. With this new tool, marketers not only learn what works for SEO but can easily apply it without an SEO consultant. The tool uses machine learning to help surface recommendations that are relevant to a user’s business and content that will perform well in search. Content Strategy also allows marketers to build topic clusters and track views and clicks on each piece of content. Firmly believing that machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) will help marketing representatives deepen their relationship with prospective customers, HubSpot has also acquired Kemvi, a startup applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in sales and marketing. Kemvi's proprietary algorithm, DeepGraph, sifts through millions of pieces of content each day to learn buyer patterns and the same technology will help marketers and salespeople automate manual processes like researching prospective buyers and drafting personalized emails. Since the modern day consumer is well informed, the onus now rests on the salesperson to tailor each interaction with a buyer and conduct seamless research before pitching a product. “AI optimizes that process, saving time for the salesperson and delivering a world-class experience for the consumer,” explains Halligan.
Always aiming at creating a new paradigm in marketing, Hubspot also released GrowthBot last year, a personal assistant for marketing and sales. GrowthBot is a chatbot where interactions can take place using text interfaces like SMS, Facebook Messenger, Slack and others. It collaborates with 11,000 chatbots and can provide quick answers to queries and can share jokes and cartoons, which has the benefit of supplying some content for slideshows or even marketing collaterals. GrowthBot can also be connected to tools like Google Analytics, which in turn simplifies the process of lead generation, starting a blog, or it can even answer questions on weekly traffic generation.
Firmly believing that GrowthBot is in its rudimentary stages, in the days to come, HubSpot is pegging high hopes on their innovation. The company is ambitious about their agent of marketing assistance and want to develop it further so that the bot can answer questions on traffic growth, how to register a new domain, or find statistics about a company. Commenting on the yearly vision of the company, Halligan says that at the start of 2017, the company’s goal was to double its efforts and render marketing automation as human and as simple as possible. He adds that the company has made substantial progress in attaining their preset targets in the first half of the year. “HubSpot is on a mission to bring inbound to everyone and make our customers’ lives easier. It’s about building seamless connections between platforms so that companies can focus on building seamless relationships with their customers,” ends Halligan.