Marketing Growth at Hubspot’s GROW 2019

The key takeaways on sales and marketing growth strategies from the industry’s leaders at GROWTH 2019 On 4th November, a thousand marketing and …

The key takeaways on sales and marketing growth strategies from the industry’s leaders at GROWTH 2019

On 4th November, a thousand marketing and sales professionals gathered at Marina Bay Sands to listen and learn from the best minds in digital at Hubspot’s global series – GROW 2019.

I usually run events in Asia for Cogs Agency and this was my first industry event I’ve attended since joining the company. I’m glad I chose to go to GROW and if you hadn’t had the opportunity to, here’s a little report of the conference.

What is Hubspot?

A CRM software? A Marketing Automation Program? An eMail Marketing tool?

If you’re in the marketing space like I’m, chances are you encountered Hubspot often when searching marketing ‘How-tos’ from content, lead generation programs, social media engagement, website management and more.

Hubspot’s blog is a library that helps you understand and better your marketing strategy.

Disruption in the customer experience space

Shahid Nizami, Hubspot’s APAC MD kicked off by noting how the noun disruptor has been misconstrued by many – and I agree.

The word disruptor is clearly overused and misunderstood such that most people associate industry disruptors as innovators in the tech space.

Shahid then drew an interesting observation between legacy/big market disruptors (e.g. Google) and the newer disruptors (e.g. Netflix) with the number of patents they applied for.

The distinct gap (in the patents) certainly tells us that big market disruptors are playing an innovation game, so how do the likes of Netflix, Airbnb, Spotify succeed despite lower ‘innovative outputs’?

This group of disruptors hold a certain common characteristic that contributed to their success. Shahid terms them as ‘experience disruptors’ for these companies innovated from within their customer experience. It’s about “How they sell, is why they win”.

He draws 6 approaches that experience disrupting companies in the Asia Pacific used to win customers.

6 ways to succeed as an experience disruptor

  • Be obsessed with Experience Market Fit – just like Singapore’s first digital mobile operator Circles.Life did to shake up the existing oligopolistic telco market
  • Removing friction from your customer experience journey – like how Australian software giants, Atlassian won over programmers with Jira (an issue tracking application)
  • Personalise – Do you really personalise? What is personalisation? I want to touch on this because as a marketer this is what we do so much of today. We create segments or personas from psychographics. We should break away from assuming our customer profile. Follow in the footsteps of Spotify and Netflix to creating data-driven user cases, where customers tell us what they like.
  • Selling through your customers (not TO customers) – Malaysia’s online fashion and beauty retailer, FashionValet does this all really well with their simple use of their hashtag #fvootd, (that abbreviation stands for fashion valet outfit of the day). It isn’t anything ground-breaking to use the hashtag to promote your business but getting your users to share their experience with others online about your brand willingly is sort of like easy Word of Mouth referral no?
  • Attack your business model – bring value to your customers like Haylee mattresses did, allowing a 100-day trial with no-questions returns and full refund policy.
  • Make it easy to use – And constantly iterate for ease of use like Canva did! Not everyone can afford a creative education or software license and Canva was founded to help bridge this gap and cater to this previously unserved audience.

It was interesting to hear from Shahid especially when most businesses these days are built on providing solutions.

Uncommonly Common Marketing Strategies for Success

The other talk that made an impact on me greatly was none other than Kipp Bodnar’s. He is Hubspot’s global CMO and this makes his presentation so relatable as a marketer.

Kipp was on stage to share his lessons over the years leading and driving the marketing team efforts at the company. He has 4 learnings that I wanted to share with fellow marketers who didn’t have the opportunity to hear from him.

  1. The old is the new new – If you’re in sales, this maxim, ‘acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.’ Similarly, creating new content uses more resources than re-purposing your older ones.
    As marketers, we often try to break through the noise by coming up with something ‘new’ and we often overlook our past successes. We should start doing more of this today because our past successes, especially the high performing ones, can be updated and be made relevant to our audience today.
  1. It’s the structure – If you have been looking at your web performance and noticed flat lines and/or throughs, it might be because the rules of the game have been tweaked. Google often changes its search algorithm and as marketers, we should be aware of when and what to know how to change our game plan. For Hubspot, the marketing team had often worked in silos. But since Google introduced snippets on search, they realised their SEO team and Content Writers now have to work in tandem to produce better performing content.
  2. Customers are better at marketing than us – With research, Kipp and the team discovered that Word of Mouth (WOM) is still the biggest source of referrals. Before you start planning WOM campaigns, do remember the habits of consumers today – they are online using their devices. So, SEO can lend a hand to boost WOM, by answering questions that your customer has.
  3. Sometimes you must make big changes – Hubspot advocates the use of sales funnels, MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) and SQL (Sales Qualified Leads) like no other company that I’ve known. But somewhere along their journey when they were launching their CRM tool, they came across a new breed of leads – the PQL (Product Qualified Lead). This case is applicable to freemium-base companies. It’s a bit of a stretch to explain it so I’ll share the link for you to go into detail here. The lesson here is, when things start to feel trap, don’t hesitate about making big changes just because it’s inconvenient.

I thoroughly felt re-energized by the perspectives shared during GROW 2019 and appreciate the opportunity I had to attend this.

I highly recommend attending industry events, not only to build your network but to learn from others.

GROW 2019 Countdown Shahid on Stage David Fallarme Marketing SEA
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