Founded in June of 2006 by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot is a company that has seemingly taken the Internet by storm, racking up top ranked blogs, twitter accounts, viral videos, and millions in venture funding along the way.
The Ultimate Case Study
In the Inbound Marketing space everyone is looking out for the next great case study. Pioneers like Dell and Zappos are brought up anytime a marketer needs to show a client that inbound marketing strategies do in fact work.
But could we be missing the biggest case study of them all?
HubSpot, the company that owns the term Inbound Marketing, got to the top by associating themselves with a phrase that up until 2006-2008, had mostly been used in an entirely different context (typically referring to a form of market research).
In the process, HubSpot has created measurable demand for a classification of marketing that never existed before, while at the same time, flooding the Internet with relevant content for an (at the time) uncompetitive market.
How did they do it?
“All we try to do is build things we think people will like – both software like HubSpot and the free marketing tools at Grader.com and other things like our blog articles, Webinars, videos, and HubSpot TV – and then share these things with people and ask them what they think.” – Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing for HubSpot in a 2009 ZDNet inteview.
The HubSpot team is frequently known to mention that the secret to their success is “eating their own dog food”, and HubSpot must be full.
In the course of their marketing, HubSpot has created:
- A suite of popular, free analytics & benchmarking tools (grader.com)
- A top ranked marketing blog (#29 on AdAge’s Power 150)
- A series of popular YouTube videos yielding over a quarter of a million views
They’ve also been instrumental in pushing the term “Inbound Marketing” by:
- Sponsoring the Inbound Marketing Summit, featuring many of the top minds in the Social Media and SEO industries.
- Creating the Inbound Marketing University, a resource and education site that’s very subtly branded as being run by HubSpot.
- Creating a series of music video spoofs which extol the virtues and process for successful Inbound Marketing
- Publishing the first Inbound Marketing book (affiliate)
Notice in the charts below, the growth in search demand for the term “Inbound Marketing” has a strong correlation with the growth of HubSpot’s business.
HubSpot has managed to grow a successful company by promoting and branding a set of marketing tactics that had previously been classified as two separate entities. They’ve created a self-fulfilling marketing machine: they generate demand for a marketing strategy they created, which builds interest in the services they alone can provide.
Do you think the Inbound Marketing term is here to stay? Or is Inbound Marketing itself too narrow to cover the full scope of the Internet marketing activities that must be conducted for a successful online campaign? Further, has HubSpot built the foundation for long term success by pushing the idea of Inbound Marketing?