A Closer Look at Marketing Automation: HubSpotClaude Harrington 11.25.2015
So far this week, we’ve written posts about Act-On and Marketo. Today, we forge forward with our exploration into the world of marketing automation by taking a closer look at another market leaders: HubSpot.
Have you ever heard the term “inbound marketing?” If so, then you have HubSpot to thank for that. In particular co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan, who coined the term describe the kind of innovative marketing efforts that he and HubSpot have pioneered since the company’s founding at MIT back in 2006.
In contrast to the traditional channels of “outbound marketing” (i.e. print advertisements, television commercials, etc.), Halligan’s HubSpot was built around the notion that the digital revolution has flipped the previous sales formula by empowering buyers. Under these new parameters, the best way to reach the Modern Consumer is through offering content that he or she may actively desire. By taking this approach, businesses can avoid paying the expensive fixed costs associated with traditional advertising and instead use data and behavioral analytics to target prospects who already possess some degree of interest in your services.
Given the origins of HubSpot, it should come as no surprise to note that every interaction we’ve had with them—from receiving a demo remotely to reviewing information available (or easily downloadable) on their website—has been an interaction infused with a logical, by-the-bootstraps ethos. It’s sobering, really. It’s also empowering. And something we particularly enjoyed, something that too often gets lost in business vernacular—prospects, suspects, targets—is that underneath these terms are actual people. Like us. And, probably just like you and I, these actual people prefer not to be told what they need, or what they should want, but rather appreciate a sales experience in which they feel in control of the journey. And with that journey in mind, below are a few of the things that we really liked about Hubspot:
[Note: Several of the tools described below, to some degree of similarity, are also offered by other marketing automation platforms. Nevertheless, they have been included on this list because we found them to be particularly noteworthy]
1. They Practice What They Preach: Before we get into HubSpot’s software, we’d be remiss not to mention that their website is chock full of value-added information.
They offer a diverse assortment of case studies:
They constantly create and distribute industry reports:
And they provide helpful tutorials dedicated to improving inbound marketing skills:
Whether you’ve purchased their platform, these offers are available freely through their website and hammer home the point of what HubSpot (and, really, marketing automation in general) is all about: using content to entice potential customers. The net result of successfully deploying this approach is the Holy Grail of inbound marketing: thought leadership.
2. Sidekick: Like similar tools offered by other marketing automation firms, Sidekick is ultimately an all-in-one solution to tracking prospects and intelligently integrating the various facets of our daily digital lives. One thing though that differentiates Sidekick at first glance is its clean, crisp and convenient interface. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you’re going to be spending several hours a day with a particular brand of software, it can end up making a difference.
In addition to collecting and collating this information, Sidekick will also intuitively fill in missing bits of prospect information and, for individuals/companies profiles that seem like good fits, it can provide you with a list of similar targets that may be worthy of consideration.
Lastly, we really liked how Sidekick feels especially geared towards building up your network of contacts within prospective companies. As we all know, employees frequently change positions and corporate decisions are rarely made by single individuals. So by branching out and filling in organizational chart, you’re assured to be in a better position going forward.
3. Increase Traffic, Fill the Funnel: A lot of the best tools available through marketing automation platforms are derived from extrapolating the data associated with your leads. With processing power, network transparency and predictive analytics, this information can then be used to create a seemingly infinite amount of programmable actions. And all of that is great–an efficient means to nurture prospects–but that whole wonderful process fails to work if you aren’t attracting leads to the top of the proverbial funnel. To combat this, HubSpot’s platform appears to be uniquely tailored towards ranking for keywords and generating traffic.
This can be accomplished by increasing SEO efficiency and generating “smart content.” Both of which require a lot of time and energy (and occasionally experimentation), but to borrow an analogy from the HubSpot sales rep who performed out demo: It’s like going to the gym, where the more frequently you go and the harder you work, the better the results will be.
Like we said at the top: “It’s sobering, really. It’s also empowering”