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Hubspot’s Leading Growth Marketer For Startups Nails Virtual Events

Rex Biberston
Mar 16, 2021 10:41:26 AM

Growth Marketing Camp, Ep. 8

Hubspot’s Leading Growth Marketer For Startups Nails Virtual Events

Hubspot has done big things virtually long before it was the norm. Carl Pieri dipped his toes in Hubspot’s growth engine in 2016 and came back to eventually manage marketing for the Hubspot for Startups program.

In this episode, Carl breaks down the team’s Global Virtual Growth Accelerator series. If you’re looking for insights into growth via partnerships and referrals, this one’s a treat.

 
powered by Sounder

Here's what you can expect on today's episode:

  • 8:00 - HubSpot for Startups Program
  • 13:00 - The internal side hustle 
  • 19:00 - Campaign Overview - ELEVATE: The Growth Accelerator 
  • 30:00 - Focus more on helping your customers

Read the full transcript:

Hello everyone. And welcome to Growth Marketing Camp. My name is Bobby Narang. I'm one of the co-founders here at Opensense. I am really pleased to be joined today by Carl Pieri from HubSpot. Carl rather than me going through the motions of introducing you. Why don't you take a minute and maybe introduce yourself to the audience, and maybe you can tell us a little bit about your role at HubSpot today and perhaps a little bit about what you've done at HubSpot during your employment there?

So I've been at HubSpot almost five years now. And I've been lucky to be on a lot of different teams in different orgs. I came in through kind of a services support route before making my way over to marketing. And currently I'm on our HubSpot for startups marketing team which is like a mini marketing team within broader HubSpot.

And we're marketing our startups program, which is essentially a discount for startups in their first couple of years. So as they start growing they don't have to pay the full HubSpot bill until they start seeing more revenue is essentially the methodology there. It makes a ton of sense if I'm not mistaken, I believe my company was actually a part of that program for a period of time and we have graduating to put paying full ticket price.

So you're alumni now. We're alumni now. Is it that the marketing org for HubSpot for startups sat within the broader marketing org or you can tell me a little bit about how HubSpot sort of views. That team, perhaps from an objective standpoint and maybe how that drives your org structure to some extent?

Yeah. So the HubSpot marketing team is large. It's hundreds of people with like dozens of people, specializing in different areas of the flywheel or different experiences. The hub software startups, marketing team. Is like, it's just four of us. So we're just a mini team that sits on the HubSpot marketing team and we focus primarily on marketing our program.

So the great thing is that we have all of these learnings from broader HubSpot that we can bring to our team and that we can use to amplify what we're doing. The tough thing obviously is we're trying to do the same thing that a few hundred other people are trying to do with just a few people.

So we have to get a bit more scrappy. Which also helps us empathize with the startups themselves. I want to dig into HubSpot for startups as we continue in the conversation. But I did also want to ask you just because I'm admittedly a massive fan of HubSpot and have been for years I have massive admiration for.

From engineering to the way that you all market yourselves present yourselves in the marketplace. So it's a real treat for me to be able to have this conversation with you today. And one of the things I wanted to ask you about was if I'm not mistaken prior to HubSpot for startups, you were involved in a leadership rotational program, or I don't know if it was a leadership program per se, but as a rotation.

Yeah. I'm really curious about that, Carl, because. I've heard of those and I've seen them at certain companies, but I don't know that I see it a lot in technology, SAAS companies. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience? Just how it was for you and if it's something that you might recommend.

Maybe you could just tell me a little about that experience. Yeah, absolutely. It was a really great experience for me. So the way it works is you do eight months working support. So you're doing like  web or phone support. So you really learn about the product and you really learn about the customers and then you rotate over to a team on the marketing side.

So what happens is a bunch of managers pitch different roles that they would like help on for eight months. So you take one of those and then eight months later, you switched to another one. And when that ends, most people stay in whatever they finished on, but you also could go to a new opportunity.

It's awesome because I think it's number one, obviously great for me, because I got to have all these different experiences before knowing where I wanted to settle. I think it's really helpful for the company because that knowledge of the product and that knowledge of the customers can be really hard to come by sometimes.

On marketing cause marketing. If we think about it, has the least interaction with customers. If we're going to compare like sales support and marketing. But we're speaking to prospects all days, all day long. I found it really helpful to just be that voice of the customer in the room.

When you're working on different strategies. Definitely recommend a rotational program for companies. It's been a big success in that, like the people that come out of the program, I think are high-performers that HubSpot and most stick around for quite some time.

It's also highly sought by folks that are coming out of schools. Like it was pretty competitive. I want to ask you about that, but I just can't move on without calling up the fact that you spent eight months on frontline support. Yeah. Look, I've been working on building Opensense with my team for the last eight plus years and I still take frontline support calls and I'm not ashamed of that because.

It's all well and good, but your value prop is. But if in that moment, you're not able to deliver that service value proper or whatever. But if you can execute on that the trust that's built there and the sentiment that's built there, but also just for you, like you said, the knowledge, it doesn't get any better than that, right?

To your point, you can't speak to a customer's needs if you don't really. Know them. And one of the best ways is just to get that raw and unfiltered. Hey, we need your help solving X, Y, and Z. Yeah. It's, it's so valuable. And a huge percentage of our product team has actually come through support, which is just so great that they have that knowledge and that experience.

And it also, it helps, you know where to go to find the right information when it comes to sourcing ideas or sourcing problems. It's just, you have such a leg up there have been come through that background, in my opinion. And then how did HubSpot position that to you as you were coming out of school?

It as an opportunity that every new hire has, or I guess, is there some selectivity to it or it's changed since then, but at the time it was basically once like in the fall of your senior year, you can apply to this program. And then they accepted like three to four people and like a cohort.

And they did that yearly. It's actually changed. Now we're rolling out a new program. That isn't actually rotational, but it's a similar it's designed for folks coming out of school or folks that are like making that career switch. So it's still gonna be a pretty cool program, but I definitely recommend it.

Yeah, man, I graduated out of a school in Boston in 2008 and I wish there was that type of opportunity available for me. But yeah, I got lucky. Yeah, because I got it. It was around for, I think five or six years. So I got lucky that I got in well, while it was around. Very cool. Thanks for giving me a little bit of insight into that, our CEO  Amit is a former Bloomberg.

He ran information security there for quite a number of years, and I believe at Bloomberg, you can't sell until you've actually done support, meaning like their actual program is they put you on support before you can actually start selling to the customer. I just think the value I'd definitely recommend that a HubSpot you can shadow support calls, which when an exec does that. I remember them as someone that does that cause you see them on the support floor. And that means a lot to me that they're taking that time. They don't actually do this work cause HubSpot sport's pretty complicated, so it wouldn't be good for the customer to have them do that.

But it's definitely good at least to shadow and learn. Absolutely. Yeah. Anyway, I could probably spend a whole another podcast talking about that, cause it is so customer centric and so customer focused and speaking of customers again, it feels special to be able to talk to you this week in particular.

I think it was just a couple of days ago that they mentioned Brian took out a full-page ad in the New York times, thanking the market for having surpassed a hundred thousand customers. I know you all, aren't in the office right now, but. How do you feel about that? Are you proud of that work?

Tell me exciting. Yeah, it was really cool. Cause our mission is to help millions of organizations grow better. So hundred thousand customers is we're like one decimal point away from a million now. So it was pretty exciting to just hit that mark. And obviously we've been crunching, like I've been there for a while.

Everyone at HubSpot really worked really hard. So I think that was just a big. Just a big success for us. And we're a very, a lot of companies are, but I think it was one in particular, very customer centric and customer focused and obsessed. So that was just such a big moment. I know if we were in the office, it probably would have been even like more celebration and excitement, but you still felt it.

Yeah congratulations. Particularly, as you've been there for a number of years you're part of the story there, and I can only imagine, we feel it on our much smaller scale milestones, but, that's such an incredible number and to see the product having evolved from.

A marketing automation platform to now a customer platform. Yeah. Full cycle of customer platform. Again, it's a Testament, I think, to understanding the customer's needs and then having the know-how and the prowess to actually be able to build something like that. And, yeah. And so this is a decent pivot into talking a little about elevate because.

It's interesting how you can approach the market, right? As a startup as a company, you have a number of different options available to you. And, I see it a lot in some of the customers that we work with. There's a default tech stock that you see, but as you've developed a different product lines and things of the sort, it's definitely opened up, it seems HubSpot to, to different aspects of the market but the HubSpot for startups program it's pretty, I think smart. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about like the Genesis of the program, what the thinking was behind it.

And maybe perhaps some of the early sort of challenges and successes. Yeah. As with like many great things, it started as a tiny idea in a tiny prototype, which was just one sales rep realized he was constantly having calls with startups that just. Couldn't afford HubSpot, but he like really believed in their mission and was like, I'm sure you're going to be able to afford it in two years.

But at that point you're going to be on a competitor. And you'll probably not necessarily like the competitor you're on, but it's going to be real hard to switch to HubSpot, even if you want to. so it started as a small idea where he could kind of just, he and other apps to kind of pick the startups that they wanted to.

It's we don't say it's investing, but it's like taking a gamble on with the program. And then over time it became more established. So we just had, we made like strict rules around funding. And then you have to have a specific startup partner in order to be eligible for the program. So that's how we know.

Like you, you are a startup basically. And it's just grown since then. So I started in North America and then now we have people in like almost every continent. Obviously not an Arctic. I think every other one. It's grown like quite a bit, because when I started years ago I had some exposure to theme and I think it was just two full-time people.

And then basically like begging for help from four or five other people. And now it's grown to a program that has at least 40 people full-time working on that. So it's been pretty exciting to see that growth over time. That's incredible that it's grown to that substantial of a team.

That's. I'm going to be a larger team than many of the startups that I'm sure you're even supporting which is incredible. It shows the level of investment that's being made there. But in, in terms of long-term strategy, like it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that it's like a long tail sort of play where it's, if you can work with them early, get them adopted.

Then there'll be a HubSpot customer. I can say that with confidence because that's basically the trajectory that we took. We standardized on HubSpot from marketing standpoint, but then also CRM. And I think one of the things that's been amazing is when we talk about being customer centric, because we've seen iterations on HubSpot for sales over the years and it's gotten like.

Way better. But I am curious about this and we tackle this issue sometimes as well is, you're talking about giving HubSpot away. I don't know if it's for pennies on the dollar for free or whatever the case might be, but there certainly is an organizational cost to support that.

And as you're getting sort of executive level buy-in for this, how are you brokering that sort of topic. What is the internal dialogue around that? The big thing is at first it was a lot of just asking for favors. And it was small, so it wasn't that much work on anyone's.

Plate. Since then the real key to success is how we make the program as touchless as possible. If you pay full price for a HubSpot product, you're going to also pay a big onboarding fee probably. And you're going to get some pretty. Like handholding onboarding, but for example, HubSpot for startups.

It's a more touchless experience, which is actually still really great. I help the team develop. It's so cool. I'm a fan of it. And then also the purchase experience if you talk to a rep for HubSpot, for startups, you usually won't talk to a rep.  Usually you purchase touchlessly, but if you do, it'll be kind of like a shorter conversation, cause it's a much smaller purchase.

So it's usually less. Questions to be asked at that point, because when a company is moving over, it's a lot more questions than if you're just building a foundation. So that's just been the, really the key is how do we make this experience as touchless as possible? Without sacrificing and making it worse.

So often we actually see that these touchless experiments that we run with our group actually perform better than the more handholding ones. So it's cool. Cause it's a bit of a test. Like test tube there that like sometimes experiments we run for our team actually expand out to other teams because like we see the success.

But that touchless, like trying to of course have humans when they need them. But not excessively. Has been the key there. I'm struck by a couple of things. Number one is that the benefit is not only to the startup community at large, which is a huge benefit. And I think builds a lot of Goodwill, but you're telling me that as a result of some of the onboarding experiences that you've built or selling experiences that you're actually potentially impacting the broader business with learnings, findings, and potentially technology development.

Yeah. Yeah. So it's less me than we have this amazing onboarding team that's developing the content. But yeah, so when they run something that's like really successful, it's like, maybe we shouldn't just be the small segment of our customers. Maybe we should be expanding it to all of them.

And it's nice. Cause it's a less risky population to test with because there's less money essentially on line. So it's good for that purpose. Yeah. That's really fascinating. The other thing that I was struck by is. HubSpot publicly traded for a number of years now.

And I don't exactly when you all  IPOd  but it sounds to me that there was an idea and a group of motivated individuals who were able to basically operate almost like a, it's like a startup within this company to make something happen. And that kind of goes against the grain in terms of what most people would think about working at like a large.

Publicly traded software company. Is that just HubSpot culture like how does that happen at a company? Yeah. Yeah. That's a lot of HubSpot culture is if someone has a really great idea and they can get the buy-in on it. Obviously they probably won't get put on it full-time at first, but if they can make it their internal side hustle it can expand over time.

I'd say startups is probably maybe like the biggest success example of that just because how well it's grown and how well now it's been copied by other companies since we've done it. But it's definitely in the HubSpot's culture to, to accept that and try to encourage it. And I think it's obviously easier at points when you're younger.

Cause it's just less process and structure in place. To start the program today would be really difficult cause you'd be disrupting a lot of stuff. But I still think if we had the idea today HubSpot would be willing to gamble, it would just probably be a different journey. I mean as a consumer, whatever that is, and however that manifests itself publicly we feel it as consumers, like there's something to that, and it's also just interesting, cause I'm, I guess maybe a little bias towards West coast tech, but that has. Like West coast vibes to it for an East coast company, which I very much appreciate. Yeah. I think we're pretty proud of that. And being, I think RC calls it like a pillar company in Boston that we're like one of the tech successes.

And I think there's some advantages to being an East coast company, for example, like talent stays around a lot longer than the East coast and does in the West coast. And that I think helps you move faster. And a lot of ways when you're not reteaching folks things. Totally. It's a great point.

Yeah. So there's some big advantages, but it definitely I'm sure it was a lot harder at the beginning. Cause getting funding as a Boston-based company, especially back then, it was a lot. Harder of a sell. I give that credit to our CEO for telling that story properly. Absolutely. Being credentialed from MIT doesn't hurt.

Yeah. Awesome. I want to start talking a little bit about campaigns, obviously, we talk about growth on this podcast. When I think about the word growth. As a person who involved in business that seems like you might as well just call the topic business because ultimately the purpose of the businesses is generally to grow.

And I think everyone has a little bit of a different definition and our goal is to demystify it a little bit. Let's talk about it in plain English. One of the things I've learned and just having a few of these conversations in the last several weeks is when it comes to like campaigns.

That's another word that I think people define a little bit differently and, depending on your company, depending on your approach and Just your overall marketing strategy. Does HubSpot for startups have a specific view on campaigns or is it a broader HubSpot view on campaigns?

I'd love to just understand when you think of a campaign, what does that actually mean to you? For us, I'd say campaign typically means something that's going to start and finish at some point. Like it's going to be kind of like over, so might be like an event or a content series, things like that.

That's usually how we. Think of a campaign, the other way where people might call this campaign, but we would just call it experiments internally is like kind of those ongoing improvements and like optimizations and like efforts that don't have a set, begin and end state. But I think other people might call those campaigns.

We just are scientific and how we approach them. Yeah. Okay. On average, HubSpot for startups, how many campaigns are you launching? Like each quarter, generally speaking, they kind of range we'll do at least like four, I'd say like small to mid-sized ones. and then each year we try to run at least a few big campaigns.

2020 obviously was tough. Cause we had actually like an ongoing campaign series for the year that was in person that was canceled. But we've had ones that obviously are virtual. So yeah it depends on the bandwidth. Depends on how big the campaign is. If it's something that is 20 hours versus.

400 hours. Yeah. It tying back to a team objective, a corporate objective, or is it more just, Hey, this seems like a really good idea. Let's build a campaign around it. So how do you architect. Typically we look at the impact that it would drive on our eligible applications.

That's the folks that apply to our program who are eligible. So like the startups. So that's basically, whenever we're looking at a campaign we're coming back to what is the predicted impact of this? Like who's going to want to go to it. What's the existing audience for this?

What like expected conversion might we expect? 

There's definitely times when that doesn't always work out. Sometimes you just have to do things cause you don't have to do them and then they didn't want necessarily drive that impact. But we try as much as we can with every hour of the day that we're spending is this driving applications.

So that's like our North star. That we've just rallied behind for a couple of years now. Yeah. And as you architect them, do you have a template that you work off of? Like you were saying what's the potential impact? What are the potential conversion rates? Are there a series of questions that you seek to answer before investing or does it depend on the motion that you're running?

It can depend, but if it's a more standard campaign, we might try to say how much traffic will like the page for this campaign. Get what percentage of that traffic do we expect to convert them to. Attendees are registrations. And then from there, what percentage do we expect to convert into applications to the program?

So just building out that, funnel or waterfall we'll see how that works out. That, that makes sense as a company that basically branded inbound to some extent, to have that kind of approach again, I'm giddy to have this conversation. I think it is like the peek behind the curtain.

And so I really appreciate you sharing some of that. I'd love to maybe just dig into one of these campaigns. And again I think. I saw your 2019 numbers. I imagine they've gone up since then . So tell me a little bit about a particular campaign that. I guess is memorable to you or stands out to your perhaps with one of your favorites.

And I'd love to maybe just start off with like just the high level sort of campaign objective or what the hypothesis was if you're looking at it from a scientific standpoint. So the campaign that stands out is this one called Elevate we called it Global Virtual Growth Accelerator.

So it's basically sessions on how to apply HubSpot's inbound methodology. So attracting, engaging, and delighting customers and then tacked onto that is just a session on presenting your startup for funding. So what we realized is there was sort of like a gap in the content that a lot of startups are learning at incubators or accelerators, or if they're not doing those, if they're bootstrapped, there's this gap of like, How to really achieve growth when you're in those early days of a startup, like what should you really be thinking about?

Cause like, when you look at the principles of Amazon and how Netflix is growing today, most of that doesn't apply to a newer startup. Correct. So we realized there was like that gap in the market. And we also realized that making it virtual. So this was before coronavirus.

But we realized that had some appeal just because a lot of incubators and accelerators are very heavy on being in person. So we wanted to open it up to folks that aren't necessarily living in like a typical startup environment. The hypothesis is basically we think that there's like this gap.

That's not being served by anyone with education, including ourselves or it may be it's being served, but it isn't being properly messaged as such So we want to fill that gap with this virtual accelerator. This is really interesting because it says if I'm hearing you correctly, it sounds like you all were leaning virtual before virtual became sort of like the norm.

but in doing so that was the gap that you were looking to address that perhaps you could broaden the exposure of the program or broaden the base of potential. User, I dunno, what was the sort of the Colonel at the center of it, all that drove you to that?

Yeah. It's not a recognizable gap. Yeah, I think the colonel really was that the virtual aspect was a big thing back in 2019, it was, this content really doesn't seem to be being served virtually. And there is in person content where you can get it. But you're also not necessarily learning from experts you might be learning from they're not experts, but like maybe like a program manager at an incubator accelerator versus like from the people who are doing this day in and day out.

So that was the thing there. Cool. I don't know what the appetite was for virtual events, pre coronavirus. It's all been a blur to me. But how did you think about who to target with this and. Through what channels were you looking to reach them?

It was a bit of begging in terms of looking at the internal channels that HubSpot has available. So obviously we have strong, like social presences. We've got some great newsletters. We have executive content that performs quite well.

So it was a basically about finding all the opportunities across all of those different channels, where we thought we could reach our audience and working with those teams to produce or help produce content. And then another big one was, since we are a partner model for HubSpot for startups, it was working with our partners directly.

So how can we work with them to tell them about this program? And they were really excited about it. That was one of our highest. We kind of like look at the buckets of where everyone came from, and that was one of the highest and the last one that was pretty big was actually referrals.

So when you were accepted to the program, you were allowed to send a referral, essentially to like other startups. And that worked really well for us. Cause the startup ecosystem, especially back in the end, when folks like often like worked next to each other was, were really niche and tight and like they're happy to share content with each other.

Cause like usually. It's not necessarily a winners takes all. Cause they usually like the start next to you is not doing anything similar to you. That was also a really powerful channel, super smart to really recognize the fact that if I'm Currently a bootstrap startup, then I'm likely renting a desk next to maybe 10 hours.

That's like a real sort of understanding of your target audience. Realistically again, we've sat in those desks. So I understand exactly what you're describing. But the other thing that's really interesting that you talk about.

And I guess this is a really fascinating to me. The partner network that you have is pretty incredible. I think there was a a bonus topic, if I'm not mistaken, maybe was one of the primary topics on last year sessions about your, yeah. The system. If I'm not mistaken.

Yeah. In 2020, we had a bonus section around Leveraging the partner ecosystems, for your growth, because there are certain products that just, it really makes sense to leverage these marketplaces that already exist. For example, like at this point, HubSpot is so big that there's businesses that are entirely built off of the HubSpot like integration ability.

And then, so it was really about like how to unlock that for your company, if it makes sense for your company. Yeah. Yeah. No it's really fascinating. Just the opportunities is potentially there. We certainly think about that a little bit as well. So it's just interesting to hear that as being one of the more viable channels for this particular program.

Let me ask you so is it to safe to say that in 19 it was in-person and then 20 was virtual, is it, they were both virtual  but 2019 ended in like an in-person pitch event at inbound. Okay, cool. So like there was that component that was also planned for 2020. But it actually worked out a little bit better because the problem with that is it's mostly North America folks who can afford to take the time and money to go to inbound.

So I'm making it like fully virtual last year, we were able to open the demo. We call them demo days to four different time zones around the globe, which was great. So that leads me to ask you, it sounds like that's a good, nice win for last year versus 19, perhaps. But what are some things that have worked out perhaps that surprised you and worked out for the better that surprised you and perhaps some things that maybe didn't pan out that you were also surprised by.

I think one thing is we always talk about don't listen to what I say, but watch what I do. And I think we didn't follow that amazingly from 2019 to 2020. And that we expanded the program a lot and added, I think it was twice as many sessions as there had been the year before.

Cause they were so requested and people really wanted this topics or these topics. But what that meant is that the program became like a little bit. Like scary or like huge to look at from a startup's perspective. And they felt like if they missed out on any of the content, suddenly they were behind and they didn't necessarily want to keep participating.

So even though we did have way more folks participating, like the percentage that were like active week over week was not so great. So we learned from that we need to do a better job of even if they request all these things, it doesn't necessarily mean that we should. Do all of them cause it just becomes overwhelming and a bit of a mess.

So that's something this year we're actually really, we're going back to the core elements and really focusing on what we do best. That's another really interesting and unique sort of finding like I can just imagine, I don't want to have been bombarded, but like you start looking at the list of all of these things that I need to do better when I think in early stage, like the focus really is just get your traction and then, once you attraction, these things will fall into place and here's a framework to think about that.

That's a really interesting observation, I think year to year. So what's the future of the program? Like it's the team's grown obviously from an idea and inception to, again, I think the number is 8,000 that I saw participants in the last couple of years Where does this go?

What is this story going forward with? So in 2020, where, or sorry, 2021. We're splitting it so that we can get a more North America focused one and then a more internationally focused elevate. So it's going to happen like once in the summer and then once in the fall or in the winter.

So that's something that we're excited about. And the other thing I mentioned is we're going to be bringing it back to those core elements that we originally had focused on. That's pretty great. And then we're also just going to be we're always looking for partners on the  event first year we had an venture fund Then last year we had Greycroft.

So this year we're looking for an international partner based in a Mia. So we can kind of understand that audience a bit better. So that's pretty exciting. That is very cool. We didn't participate in elevate, but we were involved in HubSpot for startups program.

It was a tremendous benefit to us. It gave us an ability to be exposed to the product, which I've grown to love and certainly have standardized on. And so I think like that long tail component is real. I don't know that's something you necessarily want to get into any specifics around, but I am curious do you all have like visibility into that?

I'm just like generally speaking, I imagine you're measuring the impact of this on the business. Yeah. Yeah. It's pretty interesting to speak because we're investing or we're giving the software to startups. So you do see. Like lower retention to an extent because obviously most startups after time aren't still around.

But what we see is that is way offset by the startups that do stick around because not only does their discount go down, but like almost all of them are purchasing more products because they're seeing success on HubSpot. So even though We call it like logo retention. My kind of go down your dollar retention is looking great.

And actually it's like offsetting other areas of HubSpot that like, not are bad, but just like maybe one month there was a tough month, but like startups are great, so we're good. So it's really exciting to see that. And that took time. Cause like it was two years before our first startup ever finished the program.

And it was only started five years ago. So like now that we have more data and we can show that the value of it it's an easier sell and it gets us more investment, which is great. Absolutely. And you started the conversation today talking about the million customer, mark being like a high-level goal.

This seems like a pretty valuable channel for new logos, new customers to help you achieve that goal. Exactly. And we're excited to see like what startups come out of it because it's still new, but some of the startups that we've already seen some grow to be big, some of them are unicorns. But we're excited for the days when, like the next door dash or the next Uber is coming through.

HubSpot for startups will be absolutely cool. Very cool. Really fascinating. I think the elevate program as a sort of a growth strategy is just a fascinating, I think, example, and I think it's unique and it just makes, it seems to make a ton of sense just given the overall business objectives and I don't know, just the goodwill component of it, I think is also pretty, pretty powerful as well from a brand standpoint, HubSpot's out there doing that and that's really, I think, yeah, it's aawesome that we're allowed to invest that time and because obviously, like most of the companies.

A lot of them might not end up using HubSpot or I don't know where they went. But I still hope that they found a lot of value, like participating in Elevate, for example. Yeah. Again living out in the Bay area, software companies left and right. I don't know of a ton and I know you're talking about there being copycats out there, but I haven't seen it to the extent that we've, saw it and experienced it with HubSpot.

Yeah. I think we're pretty early. I think the other big one is probably AWS has, it has a great. I startup program. And you're starting to see them pop up. And you'll see it, it reminds me of our early days when it was just like a Google form was basically like the program. It's fun to see like other companies are in that stage right now.

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I want to ask you just a couple questions to wrap up today. Just general experience questions as a. Employee at HubSpot of a marketer. Are there things that you see whether it's competitors or other companies marketers doing that you think that they.

Maybe  should stop doing right away or that you can't stand when you see it or things that you see and you absolutely love I know I'm asking you for basic extremes but what are some things that perhaps that you see out there that you either love or hate or that you would like to implement or would never sort of apply the 10 foot pole?

I think the ones that frustrated me or when I see marketing efforts were really feels like they did not bother to get to know. Like the end person that they're like designing the experience for designing the ad for often you'll see that when like the company, for example, so we just celebrated our hundred thousand mark.

But like even in the ad that we put in the New York Times, it was really all about our customers. But often you'll feel like a lot of companies are just like talking about themselves in the ads and a lot less on like how they can help folks. So I think that's a big one.

And also just focusing more on like the helpful, I mean, it's the inbound methodology, but like being helpful, like how your content can be helpful versus just like asking for my attention or asking you to sign up for your product without telling me much about it. I think that those are like the big ones.

It's less marketing and it's kinda more the growth marketing and maybe also product. But sometimes you feel in an experience in a product when they're like way over trying to monetize a product, like they're really aggressive with their emails. They have millions of paywalls or they've got these pop-ups everywhere.

Like that. That to me, isn't a great experience. And I also know from HubSpot that when you do that, Your return on investment goes down at some point. Like it's not really worth all of those things. So that's another one I'd say folks definitely be cautious out of it. Take the time to like secret shop your product and see what the experience is like on the other side.

Yeah. Because you learn a lot when you do that. Yeah. That could customer centric approach. It really is so important. Like how are you building. How are you creating value, communicating value, delivering value to the customer every time they touch your company, like it's not even secret sauce.

That's just that's like how you should expect to build a business where people have options. People don't want to change providers. They want to have their pain solved or value created and they want to have a good experience while all that's happening. Yeah. It's funny, you mentioned the ads that speak more to.

The company versus the customer. I saw something just on LinkedIn today where I think it was an executive was touting an incredible month or incredible quarter or something like that. And he says it's a testament to our leadership. And I'm just thinking if I was an employee at that company, I would say, surprised you didn't say it. It's a Testament to the hard work that my team put in, or, that they're incredible customers or something. So there is self-awareness, this is an interesting concept, right? Self-awareness as people, but then also almost like corporate self-awareness, like understanding how you're being perceived.

By the important stakeholders, whether it's your customers, your employees, your investors, whatever the case might be. Yeah. I think like I've definitely observed companies that do a better job of that than others. Although I can see like myself having not done a great job with that personally at certain point, I mean, it can be hard and it's nice to celebrate your wins.

yeah. But like they're also your customers wins and your customers like being celebrated. So totally. Who do you read these days, or who do you follow, like in terms of like your own personal and career development? I focus a lot on growth. I also find actually product management.

Like I take a lot of, the lessons of product management, because that whole modern product management is based around the customer and solving customer problems. And in my opinion, like really great growth marketing is doing the same thing. So I do a lot of learning from them. One is Brian Balfour, who he has like a course called Reforge.

He actually was a former Hubspotter, but now he runs this company called Reforge, which is gives these like amazing. Lessons and also like free webinars and stuff. So definitely recommend that. Andrew Chen is another one. I think he used to be at Uber. Now he's a partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

He's someone I follow on Twitter. And then last one is Brianne Kimmel. So she actually just moved to starting a venture fund. But she like typically has been in like the marketing growth side of the world. So recommend following her on Twitter. Cause her insights are great. Those are fantastic.

I can't help it. I want to ask you one last question. Cause you mentioned something about understanding the customer and how that sort of ties back to product development. But you're saying using the similar sort of approach for growth marketing. Can you explain to me what you mean by that?

So I think so product management, a big thing is like about finding the problem. And then from there you work towards the solution. I think at marketing, we often jump to the solution without fully understanding the problem, or even like making sure it is a problem with our customers. So the key there is let's start with the problem and then develop the solution there.

And we might even develop the solution in product management. You're doing that. With constant communication with the customers marketing, you don't necessarily have the time to be that crazy about it. But you can at least be working some with customers or emailing or talking occasionally. So I think like those aspects, and then also just getting on regular calls with customers is something that I've.

You said, this is really important to me. Just cause in marketing, there's not usually many reasons to be on a call with a customer and it's easy to realize the three years have gone by, without actually talking to any. So like I regularly at least once a week, try to like schedule something. I'm glad I asked that question.

That's really helpful. Really helpful explanation and certainly something for me to chew on after the fact Carl, you've been so generous with your time today. I really appreciate you coming on. It was just such a pleasure to just have the chance to learn a little bit more about.

The machine, the organism that is HubSpot and how you think about things and how you operate. And then, as a startup, that's leveraged the platform and been involved in the program, we are as a community appreciative of the work that you all are doing. So we appreciate that investment that you've made to yourself and the company.

It's incredible to hear that there's 40 people now allocated to this program. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks so much for joining us today and If you have any last comments and if not, we can wrap up. Last comment is just, don't forget about your customers and talk to them as often as you can.

I think that's the big one for me. Absolutely. Awesome. Thanks Carl.


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