Leaders from HubSpot, Privy, Flywire and More on the Future of Marketing

At this point, we can all agree that the end user era has changed customer buying behavior. But this new era has also forced other functional areas to evolve their existing strategies—especially marketing.

Before the pandemic, I gathered some of Boston’s top marketing leaders for a special breakfast edition of OpenView’s Tales from the Table. We spent the morning talking about their careers (one attendee recently made the transition to CEO!), the industry and more.

One of the highlights of our discussion was around what these leaders have seen change in their time as marketers—and how it impacts their view of the marketing future. Grab a coffee—and maybe some avocado toast if you’re feeling extra millennial—and find out what they said below.

Boston marketing leaders

Kipp Bodnar, CMO at HubSpot

“Aligning goals and priorities across individuals and teams gets harder every month and year as you scale. More people can sometimes mean more confusion or more overlap in roles and responsibilities. I’ve experienced this first-hand over the years—it’s constantly there and can become an issue if you don’t obsess about goal-setting and alignment.

If you’re at a startup and you’re rapidly growing your marketing team, be sure that your team is clear on their 3–4 key priorities for the quarter and the year. Then break down those priorities into team- and individual-level goals that you can track daily/weekly/monthly.

Many companies do this part—and do it well—but you need to take it the extra step. Look at those goals and see if any of them are actually counterproductive or competitive to each other, because if so, it’ll create major issues for your team and you need to adjust accordingly.

Marketing is truly a team sport, and if the goals you’re giving one team have the possibility of being gamed or over-inflated, that could impact your actual growth—and it could make it harder for other parts of your marketing team to succeed.”

Dave Gerhardt, CMO at Privy

“Biggest change: We’re obsessed with tools and technology in 2020. That stuff is obviously crucial, but it’s so widely available that it’s become a commodity. You have to be good at tech.

What has gotten lost is creativity. Creativity is what will win in 2020 and beyond, not AI.”

Daniel Rodriguez, CMO at Simplr

“In the martech space specifically, there has been an explosion of technology solutions in the past five years. The result is that differentiation is harder, and to break through the noise I see two critical things: having a strong POV and leveraging the entire company to spread it. If marketing is only done by the marketing team, you don’t create the critical mass of voices to break through the noise.”

Allison Macleod, EVP Global Marketing at Flywire

“Technologies come and go. Digital is of course front and center, as well as marketers becoming more data- and performance-oriented and closely tied to revenue. Most important, however, is the more focused tie from marketing to the customer. In my tenure and experience, marketing strategy had largely leaned towards customer acquisition.

And while it still remains a focus, the most elaborate, extensive growth model will deem itself useless if it isn’t solving for the need and pain of the customer. Marketing now has a much larger focus on deeply understanding the customer and being that partner to sales, product and customer success to ensure the voice of the customer is infused in all go-to-market and product strategies.”

Mike Volpe, CEO of Lola

“One big change is the rising importance of speed. We live in a 24/7 world for news, content and customer conversations. You don’t have days or weeks to respond to a news story or social media post—you have hours or sometimes minutes to do it right.

And customers’ expectations for response time have shrunk. They used to email you and expect a response in a day, and now they’re posting on social media or chatting on your website and expect a response in minutes or maybe a couple hours. Staffing for this is tricky, but one takeaway is that it’s become harder to outsource and you need a more capable, informed and nimble team in-house to be agile enough to respond to the fast-paced world.”

If you’re interested in hosting our next Tales from the Table series (and having dinner on OpenView!), reach out to Casey Renner at casey@ov.vc.

Read more posts about SaaS marketing

Casey Renner
Casey Renner
VP, Executive Network

Casey manages the end-to-end strategy for OpenView’s advisor & expert network and corporate partnerships. She also leads all OpenView community-based initiatives.
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