Growing a Brand into a Movement with Hubspot’s Mike Volpe

June 29, 2015

mike volpe

“Today people are exposed to your brand in a whole new way.” Customers are different than they used to be. We don’t like cold calls. We use our DVRs to skip commercials. Hubspot knows and has built a marketing movement around this shift. This week, Hubspot CMO Mike Volpe joined me on the On Brand podcast for a discussion charting the growth of this inbound marketing giant.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Mike Volpe

Mike Volpe is Chief Marketing Officer at HubSpot, a marketing and sales software company, where he leads the company’s lead generation and branding strategy through inbound marketing, including blogging, search engine optimization, video marketing, and social media. Since Mike has joined HubSpot, the company has grown from 10 to 13,000 customers, from 5 to 800 employees, surpassed $100 million in annual revenue, and completed a successful IPO leading to a valuation over $1 billion.

Under Mike’s leadership, HubSpot’s marketing has won more than 30 awards, been featured in over 20 marketing and business books, and generated over 2 million inbound leads. Mike also hosts The Growth Show, a top 10 business podcast that interviews c-level executives about how they grew their business. Mike holds an MBA from MIT Sloan and a BA from Bowdoin College and appears frequently as a marketing speaker.

Episode Highlights

When you think of Hubspot, you think inbound. From the founders’ book to their industry-leading marketing event, inbound is at the forefront of all things Hubspot.

Thought Hubspot has defined the concept of inbound marketing they want to keep it open-source. “From the beginning we always wanted to create something bigger than the company — a broad movement.” To trademark that would have been the very opposite of open source.

Is the inbound label ever confining? “Sure. We still get questions asking about outbound marketing and if they (customers) need another service. But the inbound concept starts a debate. It starts a conversation.” This is an important branding lesson: when you try to be everything to everyone, you end up not being anyone at all.

What about Hubspot’s most recent brand beyond the inbound concept — The Growth Show podcast? “We realized we had an additional audience, a buyer persona that we wanted to speak to.” In studying this executive audience’s unique demographics, characteristics, and behaviors, Volpe and company realized that a podcast focusing on bigger growth issues would be a great fit. The rest is podcasting history.

“Be like Oprah, not like Ogilvy.” What did Mike mean by this? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out!

Why is culture an important part of the Hubspot brand? “Your people are responsible for brining your brand to the world.” Recent guest Martha Pease cited the Hubspot Culture Code e-book as a brand that’s made her smile recently. Mike reminded us why your people are such an important part of your brand.

What brand has made Mike smile lately? “Tesla. I’m a huge Musk fan and I think they’re doing several things very well right now.” Specifically, Mike shared a story about a recent viral video created by a fan.

To learn more about Mike Volpe and all things Hubspot, please visit You can also follow Mike on Twitter.

As We Wrap …

Recently our friend Luis Sanz gave us a shout on Twitter about our recent episode focused on influence and thought leadership featuring Ian Greenleigh. Thanks for listening Luis!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.