Please describe your organization. What is your role and responsibilities?
I'm the marketing technology director at Kuno Creative. We are an inbound marketing agency that specializes in the implementation of HubSpot and inbound marketing best practices.
Can you give a broad overview of how your company implements HubSpot?
We utilize HubSpot when working with clients to capture leads online through content marketing, demand generation, and manage those leads and qualify them through marketing automation.
What was the business challenge your company was facing that incited the need for a content marketing platform?
Whenever we're implementing HubSpot, we're trying to use every feature in the system and setup ourselves and our clients for a successful use of the software. We don't just use one part, but really encourage the full use of the platform. HubSpot is a backbone platform that can host your website, which enables personalization based off a contact database, which is really the differentiator between HubSpot and every other marketing software out there.
HubSpot can send emails, it can capture leads on landing pages, and it can manage your social media with a tool that's better than HootSuite or Buffer. You can have your blogs for creating content all hosted on HubSpot. You can do your reporting. You can set up marketing automation. I think that most of the platforms that are out there right now are marketing automation first and platform second. HubSpot is a platform first, and it is the only system that can really claim that. HubSpot is a solid ground up platform that can manage multiple parts of your marketing.
Was there a specific business goal that you were hoping to accomplish?
Going into HubSpot makes me want to do marketing and makes me want to do it a certain way. It focuses on the whole picture of marketing, and I don't get that from any other platform. The user experience is second to none. When HubSpot did their rebuild, it was a complete change in the way that you can handle and do marketing. HubSpot makes it feel like you're doing a good thing as a marketer rather than just sending emails. HubSpot is built around the idea that sales is not the gateway to information. Eighty percent of the work is done on the marketing side to provide information. Being able to have that content all in one place, being able to have that contact database and knowing everything somebody does on a website helps us nudge people better to the information that they're going to need to make a buying decision. By the time the client is ready to talk to someone in sales, they're probably going to know more about you, your company, and what you do than the salesperson. That's our goal with HubSpot.
Did your company have a formal selection process for deciding on a content marketing platform? Was your company considering other platforms or possibly contracting a content marketing agency?
I actively work with other systems and the reason that we specialize in HubSpot is because even though the other systems have the word marketing in their titles they're really sales and lead flow automation tools. They're not marketing software. HubSpot is a software that is great for two reasons. It understands what you need to do from a modern marketing perspective in order to generate trust and a relationship online through creating content and enables the user to slowly nurture prospective buyer through to get them to the point where they're ready for sales. In addition, HubSpot has that automation aspect so that you can perform lead management and lead flow to sales. Every other system that I've touched outside of HubSpot has a user experience that is not ideal. They look, they feel, they move like systems that were built in the mid 2000s. That's what they are.
HubSpot is a system that was meant for marketers whereas those other systems were meant for IT [information technology] buyers. IT was part of the buying process, so they make sense from an IT perspective. They do everything that they claim to do in terms of marketing automation but, when I look at what I can do, since technology is such an important part of everything in our daily lives, having technology that isn't user friendly or requires you to work on is not ideal. It's inefficient. It makes your day worse.
Did you initially begin with the platform's free version or trial period? What pricing plan does your company currently utilize?
Kuno Creative is a HubSpot agency partner.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Can you share any success, metrics, or overall results of your content marketing campaign since initial implementation of the platform?
We never done outbound marketing, and we've been working at this since 2010 when the partner program came into play at HubSpot. We have built our company up from maybe a dozen people to almost 40 people now. We've grown our client base just by implementing HubSpot inbound marketing methodology and best practices with the software. We don't make cold calls. We don't have to because we have so many consultation forms being filled out on a regular basis. That's because we're doing what HubSpot says to do: create content, share content, make sure the content is relevant to the buyer in the buyer's cycle, and nurture those leads.
Were there any software features or tools that you were really impressed by that potential buyers should be aware of?
If anybody's looking at software systems and ways to do their marketing and their marketing online – everything starts and ends on your website in the end. The fact that HubSpot allows us to build out websites that directly connect to their database we can personalize content. If somebody goes to our website and downloads a piece of content, they're going to see a different headline on the home page the next time they come back. If they tell us what industry they're in, they're going to see a different industry message on the home page the next time they come back. We can't do that in a single system the same way. People tend to be hesitant when it comes to thinking about moving your website to HubSpot or any SaaS [Software as a Service] solution in the end. The fact that the website is connected to everything and sits right one top of that core customer database, and does websites in a way that is easier to use than WordPress for updating and building out attractive sites. They've given Web developers a lot of flexibility and leeway in what we can build out and what we can do. Most systems you expect email marketing and marketing automation. I expect some of the social metrics. But, when it comes right down to it, it's the Web and the content that matters. The fact that HubSpot has this content optimization system that connects right up to our database makes such a significant difference in being able to implement this more modern style of marketing.
Have you found it necessary to use any of the company's available tutorials or support resources? Was the support useful and accessible?
One of the best things about HubSpot is they've been super attentive to user demands, but not rushing feature updates out the door.
Are there any areas of the platform that you feel are not intuitive or that you feel could be improved upon?
There are other platforms that can do things that might be more advanced from an automation side. I think the biggest challenge for anybody who's looking at HubSpot and looking at it up against Marketo or Pardot is you're not comparing apples to oranges. You're comparing apples to an elephant. HubSpot is designed around this entire methodology that if you don't subscribe to, you're going to miss utilizing major portions of the software. The methodology is so simple and easy to keep moving forward. We have clients that come to us because they need us to help them do things that their in-house developers couldn't do or they want us to do some advanced automation. There's so much that you can do with this software. It's so powerful in terms of creating this marketing experience online and putting your brand out there through content, that if you don't buy in to the way that things are done in that environment, you're not going to get the success out of HubSpot that the system is built for. If it doesn't do something, chances are it's something I shouldn't be doing in the first place.
We ask you to rate the software on a scale of one to five, with five being the top score. What would you give the platform for ease of use and implementation?
Four and a half, depending on the system that you're coming from. It could be lower than that if you're coming from a monstrous, old-school system into HubSpot. That might make it a little harder. If you're just starting out it's a five.
What would you give the platform's features for desired functionality?
Five. The quality of features that are available – I don't think most people realize how powerful it can be. I can't speak highly enough about the way that these features exist and work together.
For support, as in responsiveness and resources available?
Five. They have layers of support. Their first layer will be able to answer basic questions about the software. If it's something that might be more oriented towards a developer's issue, they have a developer's forum that gives you direct access to the engineers who are working on the software. Their support is great. Some people call for strategy information but that's not what they're there for.
For overall usability and satisfaction with the platform?
Four and a half. Our success can be directly attributed to embracing inbound marketing and HubSpot as a tool. It's how we've grown without cold calls, backslapping sales, and RFPs [request for proposals].
How likely are you to recommend the platform to a similar business?
Five. HubSpot is the only marketing software that I would recommend to anyone at this point. There's nothing else that compares.