3 Reasons Why #Inbound13 is HubSpot’s Most Important and Critical Event Ever

by Marcus Sheridan

Inbound 2013

As I finish the trek north to Boston in our family minivan this morning, my thoughts are drawn to what this week’s Inbound Conference means to HubSpot and just how much things have evolved over these past 4 years for the company. And as I consider where the company and brand is headed, I will be frank in making this statement:

This is the most important public event in the history of HubSpot.

I’m not saying it’s necessarily their most significant act itself, but it’s a big week for the future of the company. Why? Let me explain:

1. Finally Reaching Out to the Influencers

When it comes to HubSpot, I’ve always tried to be completely honest in my assessment of their product, their organization and their future. Over the years, they’ve done some things very well. At the same time, they’ve fallen short in other areas.

The one area they’ve fallen most short, in my opinion, at least from a brand and PR standpoint, is their relationship with influencers within the industry. Social influence is real. So are “influencers.” It doesn’t matter the industry, influencers can be found in every corner.

But up to this point, I don’t think HubSpot has tapped into today’s marketing and social media influencers as well as they could have. Although I’m sure not intentional, no doubt it has been lacking, as their focus has more been on producing prolific amounts of content (much of it very, very good) to spread the word.


To change this, one very interesting and impressive component to Inbound 2013 is the Bold Talks, headed up by Laura Fitton, which essentially is HubSpot’s version of TED Talks. Much to my thrill and surprise, some of the greatest speakers and digital marketing influencers in the world will be presenting at the event, with the likes of Mitch Joel, Peter Shankman, Ramon Deleon, Julien Smith, and many others gracing the stage. Along with this, many of these same folks will have their first intimate “feel” of HubSpot, their product, and their culture.

Needless to say,  a potentially very strong PR move by HubSpot here.

2. New Product Launches

(can’t say more now, will write more on this as soon as I’m allowed tomorrow afternoon ;-) )


3. A Look into the Future—Will  HubSpot go after the “big boys” (Salesforce) or not?

As always, HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah will surely give an inspiring, Steve Jobs “esque” keynote Tuesday afternoon, but I’m really curious if they’re going to come out hard on their vision of where the company is going—specifically, whether or not they ‘re going to get into the CRM space and go at Salesforce head-on.

For some time now, many folks in the industry (myself included) have wondered if HubSpot will become the true “all-in-one” marketing tool by forming its own CRM—really the only thing it’s lacking to make such a claim. (They all make that claim btw…)

saleforce app

Where is Salesforce headed? HubSpot? Time will tell…

Up until this point, HubSpot has not said they were in any way a Salesforce competitor, but as Saleforce seems to be dipping their toes in (lots of) other waters (where folks like HubSpot swim), I think it’s pretty clear the writing is on the wall. My honest assessment is that Salesforce wants to be an all-in-one marketing solution at some point and if anyone feels otherwise, they’re simply denying what’s right there in front of them.

When it comes down to it, someone in this space is going to do as Walmart or Walgrens did many years ago and become the true, one-stop shop for their customer base. As to whether or not HubSpot will make mention of this during Inbound 2013, only time will tell, but you can be assured many are watching closely.

A Few Other Personal Thoughts

For the first time ever this week I’m bringing my family to a marketing conference (my wife and 4 kids have never seen me speak in-person before). Frankly, it makes sense I bring them to what, in many ways, is the place (company) where everything started to change for me, my business, and my life 4 years ago.

To say I’m excited about this would be an understatement.

On Tuesday morning I’ll be delivering a presentation to all HubSpot partners where we’ll be taking a hard look at how to sell HubSpot, and the paradigm shift that is needed to help “non-believers” see the power of HubSpot and Inbound Marketing. I think the conversation we’ll likely have in this session will be truly powerful for everyone.

Then, on Thursday, I’ll be giving my own Bold talk, which will be focused on the power of transparency to build one’s brand, business, and bottom line. As you might imagine, it is my sincere hope to blow the roof off the building with that 35 minute presentation.

Also, f you’re attending Inbound this week, I sincerely hope to meet you. Too often readers of blogs feel intimidated and don’t approach bloggers, speakers, etc. at these events, which is a shame. So do us both a favor and don’t hesitate to stop me in the halls or on the street, as I’d love to share a chat and laugh.

Your Turn:

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts here. Where is HubSpot headed in your mind? Will they, at some point in the near future, be  a direct Salesforce competitor? What else do you see for the company? And finally, what has got you most excited about Inbound 2013 (other than Seth Godin of course!)?

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Palingo August 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Interesting thoughts here Marcus. I’m looking forward to the event and the new product intros. I think it’s great that you’re bringing your family! Hopefully I run into you this week.


Marcus Sheridan August 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Hey Pat!! Our friend Steve has already been giving me a hard time on Twitter today :-)

Hope y’all will be able to make it to my Thursday session.

Much thanks,



Ruth Zive August 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Hey stranger. Fascinated by this blog post and very eager to see how Hubspot positions itself. You’re bang on with Salesforce – I think it will ultimately be a question of who is most nimble to grab that ‘all-in-one’ moniker. Unfortunately I won’t be there – but would really love to meet you IRL Marcus. Swing by Toronto some time!


Marcus Sheridan August 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Hey Ruth!!! Yes, you are right my friend, we certainly do need to catch up at some point, which is why I hope I’ll get a speaking opportunity in Toronto soon…I love that city!!

Thanks so much for stopping by,



jared August 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Marcus- The BlinkJar team is “Inbounding” already. We are at the training session today. We are so looking forward to your presentation at Inbound. My two cents, I don’t think Hubspot will “bite the hand that feeds them”. With Salesforce being a major investor, it may not be the best approach. However, having said that, I believe it totally makes sense for Hubspot to add a CRM. It would essentially close the loop for Hubspot and allow them to be the ALL IN ONE SOLUTION.


Marcus Sheridan August 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Jared, what’s up buddy?! I actually met two folks from your team this evening and am excited to catch up sometime this week. See you tomorrow, hope you enjoy the session!!



Don Stanley August 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Sooooo awesome that your family gets to see you present this week. I have to admit, it’s what I’m most excited about in this post. What a magical and powerful experience this will be for Sheridan Clan (and for you too)! My 10 year-old got to be in the audience for one of my keynotes in Orlando and it was an experience I’ll cherish forever.

Appreciate your honesty about HubSpot too … there is no perfect solution and honest critiques keep us all on our toes. Can’t wait to hear about all that transpires at the conference this year. Looking forward to talking when you get back and hear about all the businesses and lives you touch.

Crush it bro … Rhino nation is with you in spirit.


Marcus Sheridan August 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

You’re the best Rhino, you really are. Our thoughts are aligned perfectly on this one. :-)




Anthony Fors August 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Not to sound too “fanboy”-ish, but I’m most excited to hear you live and to be a part of Inbound. Just the energy on Twitter is using up all my battery power. This will be my first marketing conference and my first non-cleaning business related conference. I would imagine I’ll be learning a lot.

Thanks for everything!


Marcus Sheridan August 19, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Anthony, I’m so truly excited for you my friend. I remember the first time I went to a non pool-guy conference. What a treat that was!!

And I expect a full report of your thoughts once all is said and done bud! ;-)



Gary Stockton August 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Good insights, and look forward to that second point and your impressions of any product enhancements being filled in tomorrow. Good luck with your presentation Marcus, not that you’ll need it. You’re a born sales lion.


Marcus Sheridan August 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm

You’re very kind Gary, I appreciate the words and will certainly be adding an entire section, or post, on the new tools.




Iain August 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

I really like the idea of the bold talks. If they are meant to go up against TED, they must be free for people to view and all that jazz.

I’m really curious as to what they are going to do with it, and how they develop it.


Erin August 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

Very intrigued by #3 and couldn’t agree more. There’s tremendous opportunity to close the loop here. Clearly, with some of the recent industry acquisitions, Salesforce (and others) seem to be entering the inbound/marketing automation territory.

Thanks for putting this out there.


Kathleen Booth August 20, 2013 at 9:34 am

Hey Marcus! Too funny – I am sitting in Club Inbound (the overflow room for the keynote) watching Mike Volpe show a slide on the growth of Dreamforce (the Salesforce conference) and compare it to the growth of HubSpot. All this at the SAME time that I am reading your blog speculating on whether HubSpot will taken on Salesforce here at Inbound. I guess the answer is officially “yes”!

As always, love your blog. I hope we get a chance to say hi and shake hands in person here at inbound!


Kathleen Booth


Owen Blevins August 20, 2013 at 10:06 am

“We want Seth!” That had to be you this morning Marcus…:)
Great post. Have always loved your candid and honest insight.
Looking forward to your talk this week.
BTW, you must book a trip at Bar Harbor with Divers Ed. He is off the hookand the kids will love it…
He dives to the bottom of the harbor with a video camera and you watch it on a big screen on the boat. He brings lobsters, crabs, star fish, etc. Up for the kids to touch, very informative.


Lisa Gerber August 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Hi Marcus,
Obviously you’ll kick ass this week. :)
It’s interesting, and I look forward to an update to this – Marti Konstant and I were chatting about this last week – Salesforce, hubspot, infusionsoft, and wondering where it was all headed. I’ll keep my eyes open for the update!
Have fun – wish I could be there. Also, my sister came to see me speak at the Vocus Demand Success conference in DC and it was just awesome. And especially awesome to have family to go out with that night. :)


irene August 21, 2013 at 5:40 am

Enjoyed finding your blog and agree with about Hubspot think its just a case of waiting to find out what transpires. Hope your family appreciated seeing you at work.


Owen Blevins August 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

Two more additional comments since yesterday. I thought HS might suprise us with a simple CRM. Salesforce needs way too much babysitting in the form of an admin. Too much overhead for a small company IMO. We looked at it and then decided to go with Sugar. It ain’t perfect either. I’ve kissed a lot of frogs with CRM. They are animals that need a LOT of attention and the biggest failure with them is implementation: buy in from your team, mapping out meaningful work flows, consistant and accurate input from everyone, (especially the boss) and admin monitoring of the system. Nothing spells out the demise of a CRM system more than people loosing faith in its reliability or if the system does not integrate with Outlook/email service on a consistant basis.
My second comment is on how cool it is to have family with you at this event! My wife half jokingly asks if she can sneak in to some of my presentations with the kids at times, and truth be told, I’d love to have them see what I do!
You are blessed to have such a beautiful family my friend And they too are as well for having such a cool dad/husband… Please tell your daughter that her video was awesome!
Could you please share the url if it’s available? I’d love for my 12 yearold son Liam to see her artwork.
As always, Rock on my friend…


Julie Vetter August 21, 2013 at 6:35 am

Hi Marcus,

Great points. When I saw Brian Halligan speak in Paris this spring at a Salesforce event – a panel of 4 successful startups. Parker Harris was on the same panel and I also saw what you point out about Salesforce moving toward being an all-in-one-solution. Since then with the Oracle-Salesforce-Radian6-Eloqua-Exact Target-Pardot mashup it has continued to unfold.

Looking forward to sharing your blog as soon as your New Product Launches part is filled in. Couldn’t be at Inbound but will definitely look forward to the recording of your session.


Marcus Sheridan August 24, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Julie, thanks so much for the kind words, I do appreciate it. I’ll be writing a review post of the HubSpot tools that were shown at the conference very soon.

Continued success!



Monica August 21, 2013 at 6:55 am

Marcus, Great session on Tuesday with a powerful slide deck — I’m thankful for your generosity in sharing it with us so we use it in our own sales efforts. (Thanks for remembering what it is like to be getting started with Inbound) Look forward to your Thursday session.

Oh, and it must not go unsaid, your daughter’s animation was killer. Kudos all around for the Sheridans!


Marcus Sheridan August 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Thank you Monica!!!!!! :-)


Peter August 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

It’s going to be a crazy space soon, they’re jostling for the ‘all-in-one’ ultimate position. Infusionsoft are doing big things in this space too with a $53 Million Dollar injection … and they’ve got the CRM component.
And yes you’re right Marcus, they all say that they’re the true all-in-one solution.
Good luck on your talk.


Marcus Sheridan August 24, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Appreciate the kind words Peter…and yes, Isoft is a good example of another one “doing it right.”


Wade Harman August 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hey Marcus, it’s been a while since I’ve been here and wanted to stop in and see what you’ve been working on lately!

My response to your question about HubSpot is this: I think it will do well because it has smart people behind the helm. However, I think the social media aspects of it will increase and become more important as time goes on because of the popularity of social media platforms and how easy it is to curate content from these places.

These days, more and more people are spending their time there and if so, then that’s where all marketers need to be.


Chris Field August 23, 2013 at 7:21 am

Hey Marcus, I heard your bold talk yesterday and was amazed. I love the fact that you brought your family with you. I wish I came up and said hi after your talk. Maybe next time. Great job up there. Do you have a video of the presentation on Tuesday? Or something similar? Bummed that I missed it.


Marcus Sheridan August 24, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Hey Chris, I’m sorry we didn’t meet. Next time, let’s make it happen!!

I’m sure HubSpot will be putting it up soon.

Much thanks!



Peter Dunn August 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

I saw your Bold Talk at the Conference yesterday Marcus. I was one of the people you handed the microphone to. Terrific job and it was great meeting you briefly. I thought Inbound was pretty amazing.


Marcus Sheridan August 24, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Peter, so kind of you to say sir. I’m glad you got something out of the talk and I hope it’s not the last time we’ll “chat.” ;-)




Dharmesh Shah August 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

My man, Marcus: Thanks for helping make the inbound movement what it is.

Didn’t get to sit in on your session — but my wife did (she attended the entire conference). Felt the magic that is Marcus.

We’re overdue another dinner next time you’re in Boston and things are not quite so crazy.


Art Gatenby August 26, 2013 at 4:14 pm

You wowed them on Thursday. Sorry you did not have the full hour.



Nadish September 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Thank you for this great article!! :)


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