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HubSpot Inbound Marketing and Web 2 0 Case Solution
HubSpot has truly identified the change in marketing trends and has managed to generate its client base from its web-based statistical marketing tools; however, it needs to appreciate the fact that long term business growth is a function of acquiring new customers and retaining the existing ones. By ignoring this basic rule of generating good word of mouth, businesses cannot thrive in today’s competitive world. Therefore, in order to achieve the future goals and to accommodate a diverse set of customers, HubSpot needs to plug the churn outs, customize product range, fine tune pricing strategy and add new analytical tools.
Following questions are answered in this case study solution:
Do you agree with HubSpot that the “rules of marketing” have changed? If so, how? Is inbound marketing the answer? Why or why not?
Is HubSpot finding and serving the right set of customer? Given its position as a start-up company, should it widen its focus to serve any customer that comes its way? Or narrow their target, by focusing exclusively on either Owner Ollies or Marketer Marys? Or by focusing exclusively on either B2B or B2C customers?
HubSpot has begun to differentiate its products as it has learned more about its customers. Should it do more? Should its pricing strategy change too? Does the software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model work for both Marketer Marys and Owner Ollies? Should HubSpot try to immediately capture more value for either of these customers?
Are Halligan and Shah being too stubborn by not doing any outbound marketing? OR should they continue to practice what they preach by focusing on inbound marketing alone?
Halligan and Shah want HubSpot to be to marketing what salesforce.com is to sales. What would your plan of action be to make this happen? Why would you take these actions? What keeps you up at night about your plan?
HubSpot Inbound Marketing and Web 2 0 Case Analysis
1. Do you agree with HubSpot that the “rules of marketing” have changed, If so, how? Is inbound marketing the answer? Why or why not?
Yes, there is no doubt that the rules of marketing have changed. There are no barriers anymore for a marketer now, and they can reach, interact, persuade and convert a prospective lead into a customer in a matter of hours. And all of this is done without formally arranging a business meeting or an out-of-office lunch where business matters are discussed and finalized. The contributing factors to this change are three-fold: social media, customer awareness and competition.
With over 1.1 billion users of Facebook, 0.5 billion of twitter, 0.35 billion of Google Plus and 0.25 billion of LinkedIn users web tools and blogs have become an interactive platform for inbound marketers now. Inbound marketing is very productive due to one-on-one interaction, user-friendly interfaces and frequent traffic. Since these web users interact with many people and come across a lot of choices; hence, they become rational decision-makers. Whenever they come across a product or service choice they discuss, compare, evaluate, talk to existing users and then take a logical decision.
Although, these tools are heavily used for inbound marketing, but targeted outbound marketing tools such as “cold” calling, e-mails and direct text messages can prove to be as fruitful as inbound marketing for today’s business world.
2. Is HubSpot finding and serving the right set of customer? Given its position as a start-up company, should it widen its focus to serve any customer that comes its way? Or narrow their target, by focusing exclusively on either Owner Ollies or Marketer Marys, or by focusing exclusively on either B2B or B2C customers?
Yes, Hubspot is finding and serving the right set of customers. The focused effort has led to accelerated growth and a satisfied customer base. However, the company needs to focus on churn-out rates and training customers on proper utilization of offered tools.
4.0% churn-out rate is very high for a startup business as most businesses focus on steady growth, which is bolstered by a loyal customer base. By focusing efforts on plugging this leak, the company can generate additional revenue and taking it as a case study could help in understanding the reasons why clients leave and how they could be retained. Similarly, customers who complained for “ineffectiveness” of Hubspot tools shall be convinced by objective data that they are under-utilizing the tool, as a result getting underperformance.
Since the needs of Ollies and Marys are different; therefore, the company has different packages for them (refer to Exhibit 7 of the case). However, the customer base targeted by Hubspot’s clients is either businesses (B2B) or end-users (B2C). That is where Hubspot needs to differentiate its services. Both Owner Ollies and Marketer Marys’ packages shall be sub-divided into B2B and B2C. Such differentiation shall be based on the logical fact that the churn out rate of B2C customers is very high (6.0%).
3. HubSpot has begun to differentiate its products as it has learned more about its customers. Should it do more? Should its pricing strategy change too? Does the software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model work for both Marketer Marys and Owner Ollies, should HubSpot try to immediately capture more value for either of these customers?
Being a new company, the learning curve of HubSpot has risen quite steeply. In today’s fast-paced marketing environment, HubSpot should continue to do so for its survival and growth.
HubSoft’s tools are very effective in generating traffic and leads. Therefore, the pricing strategy shall incorporate the service charges tied to the traffic that a particular tool generates. Currently, HubSoft has only two packages with very little customization available. All tools are not similar and not effective equally for all customer types; therefore, they shall not be charged equally bundled as a package. Some clients may feel that lead visit alert is not required by them, and some other may feel that it is the best tool. Therefore, the packages should be more customizable, and pricing strategies shall also follow the same pattern.
The major client base of HubSpot is Owner Ollies, despite the fact that Marketer Marys package has three additional tools. This shows that software-as-a-service model is not very productive for Marketer Marys as they have to justify the $500 per month figure to their bosses. Therefore, HubSpot needs to be more flexible in their Marketer Mary package and offer some discounted price if a customer choose not to use a specific tool which is part of the offer.
4. Are Halligan and Shah being too stubborn by not doing any outbound marketing? OR should they continue to practice what they preach by focusing on inbound marketing alone?
Marketing tools can range from less effective, effective, more effective, and to most effective; but there is no way that a marketing tool gets completely useless unless there is a paradigm shift. Being an Information Technology (IT) based Service Company; HubSpot cannot do outbound marketing as an FMCG company because that would be very less productive. However, proper market research involving competitor analysis serving different segments, their churn-out rates and probing for leads in business lost by competitors can prove to be productive.
There are 8 major competitors in the market and each one of them has their own churn-outs. HubSpot needs to reach out to those unsatisfied clients and offer them their services in order to generate more revenue. Furthermore, HubSpot can also probe into reasons why certain customers prefer products other than those of HubSpot and how they can alter their service to cater to those needs.
Additionally, the Non-CMS clients who make 85% of the total client base shall be focused in order to convert them into CMS clients. This would help in the growth of client’s business, as well as, HubSpot’s on business simultaneously. Conclusively, it can be said that targeted outbound marketing can have fruitful results for HubSpot both in the short and long run.
5. Halligan and Shah want HubSpot to be to marketing what salesforce.com is to sales. What would your plan of action be to make this happen? Why would you take these actions? What keeps you up at night about your plan?
No business can continue to perform well unless two things happen; it gains new customers and it gets more business from existing customers.
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