Know your inbound audience, don’t get discouraged by a small budget - and don’t ignore the internet of things! These tips and more from Hubspot’s Senior Staff Writer.
Amanda Zantal-Weiner is a senior staff writer at Hubspot, a blog that generates a jaw-dropping 4.5 million views a month.
There, Amanda keeps marketers ahead of the curve and helps us make smarter decisions with well-researched marketing articles; so when she agreed to do an interview with us, I did this at my desk.
Amanda lives and breathes inbound marketing strategy, a methodology that the marketing team here at Reelio has seen the direct results of after applying it this past year.
The power of inbound was further reinforced for us at Hubspot’s Inbound 2017 conference this September, whose speakers included former first lady Michelle Obama, creator & producer Issa Rae, and Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin, and more.
Recently, I got to ask Amanda more about inbound marketing, new trends marketers should be paying attention to (spoiler alert: it’s the internet of things) and her thoughts on influencer marketing.
Hi Amanda! Tell me a little bit more about your role. What are you responsible for at Hubspot?
My official title is Senior Staff Writer, but it’s a little bit more than just writing blogs every day. There is obviously an editorial aspect to it in terms of planning the content and looking for opportunities in old content; there’s finding out what the trends are that we need to cover in order for marketers to get ahead of the curve, there’s the actual editing part of editorial as well, and then, of course, there’s the aspect of knowing our audience. That one might go without saying for you and I - but that is one of the founding principles of inbound marketing - know who you’re trying to reach. Know your inbound audience.
How are ways that you get to know your audience?
Well, we have been writing the marketing blog for 11 years. I say “we” very loosely, because I’ve only been here for about a year and a half, but the marketing blog has been in existence for over ten years, so we have a good idea of who our audience is at this point. We’re big on personas around here.
“If it’s going to help our audience, we will write about it.” - Amanda Zantal-Weiner, Senior Staff Writer, Hubspot
How has your perspective on marketing changed in the last year?
I think more than anything else, it has taught me how much I didn’t know about marketing. I really was in the trenches of inbound methodology every day, and we write about all things marketing day-in and day-out. But I think that being exposed to all of the different resources that Hubspot has, has taught me how much more I had to learn about marketing and how much opportunity there is that I just didn’t know about.
We did the Hubspot Inbound certification in-house as a team and while there were cornerstones of it that I knew, seeing it all together and having new language and vocabulary to use around the process was really powerful.
Yeah, and I think that there’s this whole aspect of “I don’t have the time for marketing” or “I don’t have the budget for marketing,” and it doesn’t have to be like that. Marketing is a lot more accessible, attainable and reachable than a lot of people think; including myself, honestly, prior to my life here.
You are deep in the trenches of this stuff every single day. A lot of our audience is B2C, have you noticed any B2C marketing trends?
So, we are a B2B company, and a lot of our content is written with a B2B audience in mind. That said, one thing that we’ve written about it in the marketing blog before is that people think B2C marketers get to have all the fun because those are the really great case studies that you see, but there is so much from B2C that you can borrow as a B2B marketer.
“...there is so much from B2C that you can borrow as a B2B marketer.” - Amanda Zantal-Weiner
And I think that there are some areas where people don’t expect that to be the case, such as emerging technologies like VR, AR, and the internet of things for example.
People think that the internet of things is a very, very consumer smart home-oriented concept.
I just came from the Samsung developer conference and the internet of things was a huge, huge deal there. And I use the example of Diageo, which is an alcohol distribution company, because they were one of the earliest [B2C] companies to use the internet of things in this very simple manner. For Father’s day, they made a certain number of whiskey bottles “smart” so these fathers could receive special video messages from their kids.
And if you can turn a bottle of whiskey into a connected device, anybody can use the internet of things for marketing. That’s one of my favorite B2C and B2B examples. I think it’s important that [marketers] get ahead of the curve now.
I love that example. I always felt that despite being B2B or B2C - at the end of the day you’re still marketing to people - and people still like experiences that put smiles on their faces, whether it’s geared to helping them do a better job or giving them a better lifestyle.
Yeah, there were definitely those technologies that five years ago people wrote off, you know? I think they thought, “oh this is just trendy, this isn’t going to go anywhere.” And if you did have that sentiment and you ignored them a lot, then a lot of people got left behind, because they did turn out to be more than just a trend.
Social media itself is one of the best examples of that, though that was more than five years ago. But I think that this is the next generation of those things that marketers can’t really afford to ignore for much longer whether you B2C or B2B.Lastly, do you see influencer marketing as an inbound blog strategy?
That’s an interesting way of phrasing it. I will say that we’ve written a lot (myself included) about the value of working with influencers. If it weren’t inbound, or “outboundy,” or unethical; if it were interruptive, we probably wouldn’t recommend it.
In a nutshell, it is a valuable part of a marketing strategy, but you have to be - like anything else - strategic about it. You have to know who’s going to reach your audience and what is that message that you want to send, by way of said influencer as the conduit.
Thanks so much Amanda for taking the time to talk with us! Reader, who’d you like to see featured in our next Q&A?