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HubSpot’s Dharmesh Shah on the Value of Content Marketing

Boston and Cambridge, MA have plenty of marketing innovators, and Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot‘s founder and CTO, is right up there with the best of them. HubSpot, a leading provider of inbound marketing software, has been doing content marketing since before it became a buzzword. I recently had the opportunity to ask Dharmesh about his views on inbound marketing. (I’ll use the term inbound marketing in this post as representing content marketing; and leave the discussion for the differences between these two for another post.)

With all the hype around inbound marketing, you’d think that we are near the pinnacle of its acceptance and leverage.  However, we need to be cautious about letting hype outpace reality.  “Though inbound marketing is not as radical as it was 5 years ago, I still think we are in the early stages of the movement,” Shah says. “One of the interesting charts I like to look at is the Google Trends chart which shows interest in a term or phrase over time. If you compare inbound marketing to marketing automation (which has been around longer, and has had more companies pushing it), you notice that marketing automation has essentially been flat whereas inbound marketing has been taking off.” Refer to the following Google Trends chart: (blue=“marketing automation”; red=”inbound marketing”)

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However, we are far from being in an inbound marketing bubble. “A bubble happens when people irrationally value something, thereby continuing to drive that value up,” Shah says. “In the case of inbound marketing, it is trackable and measurable. So, unlike traditional methods like billboards and print, businesses can actually know whether their inbound marketing efforts are working or not. As such, there’s little room for irrational values that make for a bubble.”

Who’s doing well at inbound marketing? Shah points to as an example of a company that excels in this area. “They produce some of the industry’s best content, and are constantly innovating in terms of how they think about building their brand and community,” he says. “They’re one of the most ‘inbound-y’ companies I know.”

Boston-based cloud back-up service Kinvey is another (non-marketing) company whose content stands out. “They’re really good at creating content and tools for their target community (mobile developers),” Shah explains. “And, they have one of the best inbound marketers in the business in Joe Chernov.”

Like all good content marketers, Shah believes “the core of inbound marketing is creating value for your audience — before you to try to extract value from them.” This audience value can come from content creation, curation or syndication. However, what role does content curation really have in driving the success of content marketing?  “Given the increasing volumes of content that are out there, there’s value to really good curation, helping people find the content that will help them,” Shah says. “Search engines are great for finding things you’re looking for, but not great at discovering things that you should be looking for, but aren’t. That’s where curation can help.”

Check out Curata’s resources to learn more about the basics of content curation, more advanced techniques for curating content, or examples of best-in-class companies using curation today to complement their created, original content.

Michael Gerard

Michael was CMO of Curata, responsible for Curata’s marketing strategy and all related activities. He has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures as well as having driven innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations such as IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore. Michael received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and an MS in Engineering from Northeastern University.

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