Buzz(ed) Marketing at Hubspot's Inbound Conference

Jerry Rackley

By Jerry Rackley

This week I took a break from my usual routine and attended part of the Hubspot Inbound Conference at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. Demand Metric sponsored the Hubscotch event, which I’ll discuss later in this post.

If you know anything about Hubspot, it will come as no surprise that everything about this event was well produced. The venue was filled with friendly Hubspotters who were quick to answer questions and guide attendees to sessions of interest. The exhibit area was architected to maximize interaction and it didn’t feel like a traditional, trade-show exhibit hall with overeager booth personnel. Instead, it was a comfortable, productive environment.

Demand Metric sponsored the Hubscotch event, an idea cooked up by our CEO Jesse Hopps and CMO John Follett. In the spring of this year, during a discussion about becoming a sponsor, the idea of hosting a scotch tasting was floated. As it turns out Hubspot CMO Mike Volpe is a scotch drinker, so with a little clever branding, Hubscotch was born.

On Tuesday, August 28th at 6:00 PM, John Follett, Mike Volpe and myself took the demo stage over for a little scotch and marketing. Our theory was this: Demand Metric distills (no pun intended) marketing best practices into tools and templates for our members. We thought it an interesting experiment to put a couple of marketing geniuses on stage, liquor them up and see if any new best practices emerged. Since the event was videoed, we also thought it best to incorporate actual marketing discussion in between the tastings just in case any of the company accountants saw it on Youtube later.

The audience was packed, either because we included the audience in the tasting, because of the marketing luminary on stage in the form of Mike Volpe, or both. As a person who has trouble distinguishing Diet Pepsi from Diet Coke, I’m sure I wasn’t the most discriminating palate on the panel, but I did detect differences in the three scotches we sampled.

Between tastings, we asked Mike to share how the Hubspot marketing team is organized. Hubspot is an amazing lead generation engine, producing about 50,000 leads per month. As practitioners of what they preach, they don’t just pass all those leads over to the sales team. Instead, they have a Service Level Agreement in place that defines lead quality, and the effect is that only about 12,000 leads – still a staggering amount – make it through the SLA filter and get to sales.

There are between 30 and 40 people total on the Hubspot marketing team, or by my calculations about 10 percent of the workforce. Having come from a company with 400 employees where I was one of four marketing team members, these numbers make me envious. But when you’re putting up numbers like Hubspot is, the ROI on the marketing investment makes the case for the headcount.

Mike has his team organized into three groups around the conceptual sales and marketing funnel: one team managing top-of-funnel activity, another working the middle of the funnel and the last taking care of the bottom of the funnel. Mike has a structure that works and the right people leading it, so he stays pretty hands-off, giving them freedom to do their jobs. Marketers love this kind of freedom.

Given Hubspot’s impressive growth, they must add headcount regularly, so I asked Mike what he looks for when he hires. The most interesting part of his answer was his desire to hire intelligent people with critical thinking skills. How does he screen for that? Why with a brainteaser of course! If you’re planning on applying to Hubspot and you land an interview, you’ve been forewarned.

By the end of our session, the scotch was gone, the audience was entertained, and I do believe we uncovered a new best practice: the use of brainteasers to hire more clever marketers. Demand Metric may have to add brainteasers as a category of content for our members to use when they hire. If you have a good one, share it with us!


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