Brian Halligan is CEO of marketing software company HubSpot, which opened in 2007 and now has about 3,200 customers. He recently spoke with BtoB
about trends in b-to-b measurement and analytics.
As inbound marketing grows, what are the major challenges in tracking the digital components of integrated marketing campaigns?
What we encourage people to do is to look, in a very simple way, at each channel and look at the shape of the funnel, per channel—and then try to optimize that funnel. It's a pain in the neck to get a true, “closed loop-funnel” look at your business, and most Fortune
500 companies haven't got that set up right.
How can b-to-b marketers improve their lead-nurturing efforts?
B-to-b companies are way too obsessed with the middle of their funnels—[i.e.,
] what do I do once I get a lead?—and not nearly interested enough in how the heck do I get more leads in the first place. They spend 90% of their time [in the middle of the funnel], then squeeze the value from their lists. What they should do is flip that and spend 90% of their time really opening the top of their funnel and getting more leads into the funnel.
You're co-author of
“Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead” (John Wiley & Sons, 2010). What can b-to-b marketers learn from the legendary band?
They were early adopters of “top-of-the-funnel”' technology. On their  album, “Skull and Roses,” they put a call to action on the back of the album [encouraging] people to send in their mailing addresses; as soon as e-mail became a viable medium, they started collecting e-mail addresses. They were always on the cutting edge of how to communicate with the marketplace and how to pull people in touch with technology; and, I think, business owners today can take a lesson from that because they should be using Twitter and LinkedIn, Facebook and all this new Google technology.