BOSTON — HubSpot isn't letting anything get in its way today.

Not the dismissal of its chief marketing officer or the resignation of its VP of content. Not even an alleged criminal investigation, which federal officials have neither confirmed nor denied. 

Say what you will about controversy. But it hasn't dampened enthusiasm at the company, especially this week.

More than 14,000 people — about 30 percent more than last year — are attending HubSpot’s fourth annual customer conference INBOUND at the Boston Exhibition and Convention Center. 

The all-week conference, close to the marketing automation company’s Cambridge, Mass. headquarters, featured just more than 10,000 attendees last fall.

Bigger than the Big Guns?

Adobe’s Digital Marketing Summit earlier this year had 6,000 attendees, about 20 percent more than the prior year for the San Jose, Calif.-based marketing cloud provider.

Then again, maybe attendance here is high because the HubSpot small- to medium-sized business (SMB) audience itself is generally bigger than some other marketing vendors. Todd Rowe, global managing director at Google, said on stage today during a keynote (with just a touch of hyperbole) that there are 100 billion SMBs out there.

"HubSpot has captured the mindshare of the SMB market, and that explains the volumes," said R Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst for Silicon Valley-based Constellation Research. "Adobe is more enterprise sized as with Salesforce."

Either way, INBOUND is officially a MarTech Monster, much bigger than the competing Content Marketing Institute's Content Marketing World in Cleveland this week (3,500).

Why so big? Well, it’s been kinda a big year or so for HubSpot. The IPO last year. New product investments. New partner investments. Industry kudos.

HubSpot’s employee head count is now more than 1,000, up from 800 in May. Of course, HubSpot would probably rather have two more executives and no C-Suite controversy.

But executive musical chairs aside, HubSpot has continued to be one of the champions of the inbound marketing movement, the idea that great content, not auto-generated batch and blasts, ultimately leads people to you and your brand.

"Inbound is about creating value before you try to extract it out of the system," HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah said at his keynote Wednesday afternoon.

Marketing Educators

headshot of brooke petersen

Even non-HubSpot users came to INBOUND this week for industry education. Brooke Petersen, a marketing executive who works for Bronto Software out of Durham, N.C., is a Marketo user but found herself in Boston at INBOUND.

Petersen’s not reliant on marketing technology do her job, though — be it Marketo, HubSpot or whatever platform.

“None of these platforms are going to solve your problems,” she told CMSWire. “It’s finding the ones that aren’t going to give you more problems.”

Allison Boyajian, marketing specialist at Newburyport, Mass.-based iMarc, a digital agency, said she’s a daily reader of the HubSpot blog. Shah hailed HubSpot's community of inbound marketers — — which grew from 35,000 to 100,000 community members over the past year, he told the audience Wednesday afternoon.

Learning Opportunities

Inside the Platform

Mark Nardone, executive vice president of HubSpot user PAN Communications, said his Boston-based company uses HubSpot for all content creation and distribution to its targeted customer and prospect base.  

It focuses on moving prospects from top-of-funnel activities through conversion with an "aggressive" content program that is adjusted based on personas and real-time insights from the platform. Its blog is run off of HubSpot as well and integrated with other marketing channels.

Nardone called HubSpot a “one-stop-shop” that is easy to use and doesn’t require a different tool for each channel.

“Its insights and analytics and content creation capabilities are perfect for a business of our size,” he added, telling CMSWire three or four people in his organization use the platform. “HubSpot’s workflows also allows marketers to align campaigns to specific behaviors and lifecycle stage of the prospect — and customer. The ‘smart’ lists provide marketing departments with the ability to personalize and engage with a truly qualified prospect.”

Nardone said he would love to see improvement on the templates, CRM functionality and analytics with Wordpress for a single view of the effort.  

“Right now our site is WordPress,” he added, “and our blog is HubSpot.”

Financial Worries?

The news isn’t all rosy for HubSpot.

The American Trade Journal reported yesterday that the Cambridge provider lost 4.07 percent during the past week and dropped 10.35 percent in the last four weeks.

“Investors should watch out for further signals and trade with caution,” according to the report.

HubSpot has had a 52-week high of $55.07 in trading and a 52-week low of $25.79, according to the report. Its NASDAQ price as of Wednesday afternoon was $46.52. HubSpot, Inc. has dropped 11.23 percent during the last three-month period, the ATJ reported.

Platform Updates

HubSpot today during the keynotes of its co-founders -- Shah and CEO Brian Halligan -- announced updates to its marketing and sales products, including custom reporting and prospecting tools. They debuted HubSpot Connect, a platform for integrations that bring sales, services, accounting and other customer data directly into a central system of record within HubSpot.

screenshot of hubspot connect technology

HubSpot platform updates today included:

  1. HubSpot reporting add-on: Consolidates reports into one customizable screen where both marketing and sales can see all of the metrics they are accountable for in one place.
  2. Enhancements to Sidekick for Business and HubSpot CRM: Includes new ways for sales teams to find connections within their companies called Sidekick Connections; Prospects, which helps sales teams find details about companies expressing early interest by visiting websites, and Sequences, which allows sales to keep in touch with their prospects.
  3. Predictive lead scoring: Provides marketers with a lead score based on behavior, demographic, social, email and spam detection data.
  4. Leadin: Freemium tool designed for companies that want to better understand their website visitors and leads
  5. HubSpot Connect: Provides a timeline of every interaction a customer has within HubSpot marketing and CRM products.