HubSpot’s Meghan Lockwood on Creating Marketing People Love

For "Marketer of the Week" we sit down with Meghan Lockwood to chat inbound marketing, & creating marketing people love. Come see what she had to say!

Meghan Lockwood is a natural-born writer and storyteller with a gift for good conversations. After starting her career as a financial analyst at Merrill Lynch (and realizing that managing rounding errors was a less-than-inspiring career path) she is now putting her raconteur-skills to work as a content manager for HubSpot. Meghan kindly agreed to chat with us about HubSpot, inbound marketing, and the future of the world as we know it.

AMB: Let’s start with HubSpot. Talk a little bit about what you do and what value you bring your customers.

ML: We really encourage inbound marketers to “create marketing people love.” Practically speaking, HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing software platform. So where some companies just do social media or emails or landing pages or design, HubSpot does all of those things.

But more than just software, HubSpot advocates inbound marketing as a philosophy: our customers, our blog readers, and our social media followers all become part of a broader ecosystem of marketers who believe in a new way of spreading your message. We’re enabling marketers globally to create remarkable content that really engages people so they can convert strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, and then leads into ongoing relationships, and accompany that content with a broader strategy to align marketing and sales, delight customers, and improve the efficiency of their marketing efforts.

The way I think about it is we’re demystifying the world of online marketing.

AMB: In your 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report, you called inbound marketing an “ideology.” What did you mean by that?

ML: Inbound marketing is not just another tool; it’s a whole way of looking at marketing. Sometimes marketers chase the next flashy thing. So they’ll hire an inbound marketer to sit next to the web designer and “do” inbound marketing. But inbound marketing isn’t something you “do”; it’s the way you do it. It’s how you look at all of your marketing.

You ask yourself: How can I create a system that brings people in? How can I design a website that creates a thought process? How can I create a call to action? It’s about understanding how all the pieces work together.

AMB: Why should marketers care about creating marketing people love?

ML: Because I believe marketing people love is the only type of marketing that actually works. We’re all so connected now. We all have our little constituencies. If I love Bavarian cake frosting, I can go out and find people who love Bavarian cake frosting. Creating marketing people love is about caring—deeply caring—about what you’re doing. It’s about finding the audience that’s going to be innately engaged with your content. And it’s about figuring out how to translate your passion into words.

A lot of times when marketers get online, they start talking like marketers instead of like people. A man would never walk up to a girl in a bar and say, “Looking for the man of your dreams? Your search is over!” I believe the heart of creating marketing people love is knowing how to talk about the essence of what you do. You’re not trying to trick people into a click. There’s no bait-and-switch. It’s a very authentic way of saying, “Look, here’s who we are, here’s what we do, and here’s why you should engage with us.”

AMB: Do you think inbound marketing can fit into a strategy for a SaaS provider?

ML: I really do. There’s just no way to compete on price anymore. There’s always going to be someone who’s better, faster, and cheaper. And you don’t really want price to be the differentiating factor anyway. If you can be the company that customers trust to tell them the truth, that understands their customers’ business, that knows their industry, then you’re not competing on price anymore. It’s a game changer.

AMB: How has word of mouth changed over the years?

ML: Well, it’s all gone online. Social media is the new word of mouth. Twenty-seven percent of all the time spent online is spent on social media sites. And not just that, but people have fundamentally changed the way they buy products. There’s an Accenture report out now that says 63 percent of consumers research companies and brands online. I used to call my father when I wanted to buy a car, but now I look at Consumer Reports. When I need a cab, I get an Uber. And on and on.

The other interesting thing is that we’re right on the cusp of Millenials having purchasing power, which I believe will have an even greater effect on word of mouth marketing than what we’ve already seen. We have to figure out ways of monetizing those conversations. That’s where analytic tools become really important because you can see where and how your audience is engaging with you. You can identify what your fans are talking about, and you can start using their language.

Information isn’t scarce these days; attention is scarce. And more and more people are looking to their social circles to tell them what brands to follow and what to care about.

AMB: Is there a forward-thinking idea that most SaaS providers aren’t adopting?

ML: If SaaS providers aren’t thinking about inbound marketing, they should be. Marketers are just now realizing that customers don’t want a fragmented experience—they want one unified approach and interaction. Inbound marketing facilitates that for companies large and small. The next part is figuring out how to tie all of these disparate channels together. If you have an inbound philosophy about nurturing emails and listening on social and creating great content, how do you combine all of those things?

I think the new era of big data is going to be very interesting because it’s going to provide marketers with a lot of context about their audience that they don’t have yet. My TV can already learn what I want to watch. My house can learn what temperatures I prefer. I think the next phase of marketing is creating marketing aimed at individual people.

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