Hubspot CMO Kipp Bodnar on the Power of Inbound Marketing


When executed well, inbound marketing (also known as content marketing), allows you to build an audience that builds your business. 

HubSpot is the world’s largest inbound marketing agency, and they have a reputation for getting results. Kipp Bodnar is Hubspot’s CMO and in this TGIM Short, he explains how to use inbound marketing to accelerate the growth of your business, and turn strangers into customers.

In this TGIM short, you'll learn:

  • Why inbound marketing gives you an unfair advantage over the competition
  • How to create powerful content for each step of the marketing funnel and each stage of your customer’s relationship with your company
  • The most common inbound marketing mistake (and how to avoid it)

Check out the full short below:

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Kipp: If you think about the way people have traditional marketing throughout the years, you basically interrupt people. You spam their email address. You send direct mail to their office. You cold call them on the phone. You put banner ads in their face and the lip. It’s a very interruptive process. It’s, “Hey. This is my business. Come look at me.” That’s really out bill marketing. Inbound marketing is essentially the opposite. Technology has innovated past all of that outbound marketing effectiveness because if you’re a human being today, you can just ignore all that stuff. You’ve caller id on your phone. You have ad blocker on your browser. You have a DVR to fast forward through commercials on your TV. You can just tune out all that outbound marketing. Cold calls. Well, less than1% of cold call just pick up the phone, random call, will actually work to connect and get a sales deal. You’re like, “Okay. Well, maybe I’m okay with that 1%.” The challenge the 99 people out of 100, you create a really negative brand perception of interruption and annoyance. It’s just not effective. Not only is it bad for your brand but it’s bad for your business.

Inbound marketing is really about how do you create content and pull people in with content to your website, to your blog, to your social media accounts, just Facebook page etcetera, by helping them and giving them information that’s going to make it easier for them to do their job. That addresses kind of the common questions concerns they have in the buying process. Look around your marketplace. What you’ll likely see is all of your competitors spending a lot of money on advertising and beating people over the heads with messages about their product. You need to be the opposite of that. You need to be the outlier. You need to go and give that community what it sorely needs which is education and information on how to solve their problem and endure a better way.

We think about the marketing and sales funnel. We think about it that it has a few stages. The top of your marketing funnel is really awareness. It’s getting people to have an understanding of who you are. If you think about the top of the funnel, inbound marketing is really about content and distribution. How do you create not product focus content but more general industry content, right? If you are a steel sheeting manufacturer, you’re not going to publish a bunch of content on your blog and through your social media channels about the quality of your steel or the benefits of your manufacturing process. Instead, you’re going to talk about the applications of steel in general. The problems that steel sheeting solves in the world. You’re going to distribute that through your email marketing, through your Facebook page, through your Twitter account, through search engines, through basically all of the different web distribution channels. That’s going to bring and attracts people back to your company. That’s inbound marketing’s role at the top of the funnel. Then you kind of have the middle of the funnel which is what we call conversion.

If you’re an eCommerce business that people buy something on your site, if you’re B2B company that somebody filling out a lead in form and becoming a lead that a sales rep can interact with, inbound marketing’s role really becomes part of the conversion process. You might be reading your blog post on the 10 surprising applications of steel sheeting. We’re going to keep our current example. Then they might see that, “Oh wow. You have a steel sheeting buyers guide that can outline what you should consider when you’re thinking about making a purchase.” All you needed to do was exchange a little bit of information and that buyer’s guide is completely free. You go to a landing page. You type in some information on the form. You get this buying guide. That’s really the conversion part of inbound marketing. Then the bottom of the funnel is really kind of where the hand off between marketing and sales happens. It’s really where we call basically the revenue stage of the funnel where you’re going to have that transaction.

Then the funnel goes one more stage down which is really how do you delight and make that customer very happy so that they’ll either refer other business back up to you and kind of fill the top of your funnel or so that it when it comes necessary, they might buy additional products or service from your company. Those are the stages as we think about it.

The number one thing that you need to really bring somebody as a customer for your business is their trust. They need to trust you that you’re the right partner for them. They need to trust that you have the right solution for them. If you’re going to build that trust, it’s really hard when you start out with a point of like, “Hey. I have the best product. It does XY and Z and it cost you this much money.” It’s not the point of which you build trust. The way we think about it is you build trust. You first sharing a lot of values. Adding a ton of experience. Now, we have people who buy HubSpot who have read our blog for years and they’ll say like, “You know, I didn’t need something like HubSpot before but I really appreciated the education, content and everything that you provided. Now that I need it, you’re the obvious choice. I felt like I owed it to you call because you’ve given me so much value over the years.” That’s the kind of trust, that’s the kind of perception that you want. Because not only is that the type of person who’s more likely to buy your product and will really be successful but it’s also somebody who’s more likely to be a long-term advocate for your business.

That’s the result of what good educational, full funnel content information give you versus starting basically right at the close which is what too many people do. There’s too many companies ignore the top and middle of the marketing and sales funnel and just say, “Hey. Who are you? This is what I got. Would you want to buy it?” That’s not the right way to go about it.

Show notes:

About TGIM: TGIM is a podcast for people who can’t wait for the week to start. In each episode we’ll be bringing you inspirational stories about entrepreneurs who have overcome obstacles, built incredible businesses, and are now living the life they want.