Social Influencer Series | VP Marketing Hubspot, Meghan Keaney Anderson
How many of you had the opportunity to attend Hubspot's - Inbound 2016? What an incredible event. It was my third trip inside the ropes and I had the chance to catch up with Hubspot VP - Meghan Anderson Keaney, who has been at Inbound since its inception. She was nine months pregnant and ready to burst, but made time for this interview because in full disclosure - I am her favorite cousin.
Hubspot introduced me to the power of social media as a brand builder and the best tool lead generation and conversion to sales. It is really why I am here today in social at Lithium Technologies in this incredible and important MarTech space.
I guess my first question for the young idealist who wanted to save the world with her words as a writer in the non-profit sector - how the heck did you wind up being the VP of Marketing for one of Boston's biggest tech success stories?
Remarkably very little has changed about my idealism actually. I entered the workforce with one primary criteria. I wanted work to be more than a paycheck. I wanted to be surrounded by people who were passionate about what they were building and throwing themselves at the work. I found that first at United Way of Massachusetts Bay, an organization that I still think is one of the smartest ways to invest in the community. At United Way I started to see the role that technology and the internet can play in quickly galvanizing people and driving results. I wanted to learn digital marketing inside and out so I left United Way to join a tech start-up called Performable in 2011. In a start-up everyone has to be driven because you are living month to month. You're in the trenches. So that fit my model well. Just five months after I joined that fifteen person start-up was acquired by HubSpot, which was still relatively small itself but rapidly growing. At HubSpot I was really happy to find myself surrounded by the same type of passionately driven people as I'd found in my previous roles. It's funny, I've been at HubSpot for more than five years now and that curiosity hasn't lessened.
When you joined HubSpot it was a small nimble start-up on the way up. Now it is a publicly traded international company. How has the culture, vision, mission changed?
There is a common belief out there that as companies grow, it's inevitable that they'll lose their culture. It's a big concern people have in joining a big company over a small one. Change is inevitable but losing the culture is a fallacy. To me, one of the most impressive things about HubSpot is that as we've grown the culture has deepened. Each new office opening and HubSpot class of employees seems to add another dimension to it.
I remember once, Patty McCord who had a major impact on Netflix's success and saw them grow significantly over the years came to talk to HubSpotters in a series of leadership talks we have called "HubTalks". Someone asked her that same question. "Should we worry about losing our unique culture as we expand?" She responded thoughtfully that nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. It can make you stop innovating because you're too busy looking back to see what's all around you.
Culture is not a limited resource. If you spend too much time thinking about how things were, you'll never grow into how things should be. Certainly, some things have changed as we've gotten bigger. The challenges are different, but so are the ways in which we can solve them. So I try to value my company's roots, but also allow myself to be exhilarated by its future.
You guys wrote the book on Inbound Marketing, literally. How has the evolution of social media changed your business model?
Inbound marketing is this idea that instead of forcing people to pay attention to what you want them to pay attention to - your products, your sales process - you should adapt around them. You should create the sort of search-friendly content that is useful and interesting to them and then build upon that relationship to talk about your products when it's more relevant. Social media has always been a huge part of that because unlike traditional advertising, it is a channel controlled and defined by the user not the company. Engaging with prospective customers on social media not only is a more cost-effective way of attracting prospective buyers, it's more effective - period.
If you were consulting an SMB on building a modern marketing plan, what is the short list of essentials that have to be part of success today?
Start by knowing your weakness. If you're a one person marketing team and no one knows your company exists, spend the majority of your time focusing on search engine optimization and building out a presence where your prospective buyers are. Start to create a content engine. Every piece of content is an opportunity to get found online. As that repository of content grows, so will its influence. We've been creating content for 10 years at HubSpot. Today - more than 70% of the website traffic we get on a monthly basis comes from old content. So that post we wrote 6 months ago or 2 years ago is still working for us today without having to add resources or budget to it. Your second hire should be focused entirely on conversions. How do you create the right pathways to turn a website visitor into a user or prospective buyer. Social media, smart email marketing, and good design are all essential layers to add as you grow.
Finally - and this one is important - from the beginning make sure every person responsible for growing your business can read and interpret data. Make sure every decision is steeped in analytics so you are able to re-allocate resources into what's working and cut out what's not.
What do you think are the top social channels for inbound marketing?
I can certainly point to the fastest growing channels or the ones with the most users, but the top social channels for a given business should really reflect that company's audience rather than an overall trend. One thing that I can say however is that the way you leverage those channels should be different today than it was even just a couple of years ago. I wrote a post recently about how I think content consumption is starting to change. One of the key points in the post is that whereas social media used to be a pass-through promotional channel, now more and more users are consuming content wholly on those channels. Whereas it used to be very text focused, video and images are now dominant on many of the social networks. So you your strategy has to evolve too.
Speed Round (5 questions just for fun):
Meghan's go-to social channel is Twitter and she can be found tweeting @meghkeaney. She is a talented and aspiring writer who's epic novel will one day be entitled - "Here's How It Ends". She hopes that her baby will experience a laptop battery that can actually last a transatlantic flight, but seriously - "she hopes that her child's parents look at each other the way her parents do, well into their retirement years".
While she wouldn't name me as her favorite cousin officially, we do share an appreciation for the coolest place on Earth - Crocker Park in Marblehead Massachusetts at sunrise.
Meghan Keaney Anderson is the VP, Marketing at Hubspot. Meghan leads the content, product marketing and customer marketing teams for HubSpot. In her spare time she writes, saves the world and hangs out with her husband and their little baby girl who came shortly after Inbound 2016. She also has a beloved pup named Otto.
About the interviewer:
Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With over 20 years of experience in the media industry and a wild ride in the world of tech start-up & social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX at Lithium Technologies, where he is the Regional Vice President of Sales for the East. His mantra is - Brand Globally. Market Locally.
e: email@example.com or m: (617) 513-2668 or t: @markkeaney2pt0