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Announcing the WayBack Marketing Series: Start-Up Strategies From Today’s Best B2B Marketers #WayBackMachine

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This is the first article in a series that focuses on the critical strategies today’s most successful marketers use. But in a twist, we go back in time. Back to when they got started to uncover what programs they executed back then that are most connected to their success today.

Do you ever dream of collecting an average of 80,000 inbound leads per month? What about of a content marketing program that grew to capture over 1 million blog views per month? Or boast a LinkedIn group with over 90,000 members? How about a marketing database of nearly 1 million marketers? Does that sound like fantasy land?

If you are Mike Volpe, CMO of HubSpot, you don’t have to dream. This is your life. (Jealous much?)

I have followed HubSpot for a long time and had the opportunity to meet Mike in his early days there. (As a small world aside, I am pretty sure I interviewed for his previous job at SolidWorks when he left for HubSpot. I didn’t get it).

I attended HubSpot’s The Executive Playbook to Inbound Marketing and Sales event in Boston this summer and was blown away by his amazing stats. But as I was listening to his talk, my mind started to wander because it became very hard to relate to those numbers. After all, his amazing results today should be attributed to that remarkable platform, his budget, and the team he has today.

But we don’t have that kind of platform, and neither do you. And you know what? Mike didn’t either when he started out at HubSpot—as employee number five.

The WayBack Marketing Series Is Born

So rather than thinking about what I could do with a million blog views (or how to get that), I instead wondered openly about what were the few things that Mike and his HubSpot team of one did in the early days—BEFORE they had a million blog views and a database approaching 1 million. They didn’t always have a team of 50. They didn’t always have a team of videographers on standby to shoot cool videos in HD. What did they do way back then?

Mike was gracious enough to answer my question that day, and his answer was pretty interesting. (Sorry, that is a tease. More on why in a minute.) And his answer sparked an even deeper professional curiosity. What about other highly successful marketing teams that have delivered the results that we all strive for? What did THEY do way back then that allowed them to achieve those amazing returns today?

Thus this article series was born. Quite frankly, most of us can’t relate to what Mike is doing today. We just don’t have the same resources. But we absolutely can take something useful away from what he did in the beginning when his team looked a lot like ours. Those are the strategies and tactics we can, and should, be putting into place today so that we, too, can generate those outsized returns.

Over the next several weeks I will post the results of some fascinating interviews with a number of the top marketers in the business today (starting with Mike).

To each of them, I posed just the following two questions.

  1. What are the top 2 or 3 things you did when you got started that enabled you to scale to the platform you have today?

  2. What is the one thing you did later on, that you wish you had started doing earlier?

And then I let them run. I asked a few follow-up questions and probed for more detail in a few cases. I also challenged people when they gave me a soft answer that would require millions of dollars to execute. The goal is to have something practical, that we all can relate to, and that we can all use tomorrow.

I interviewed Mike Volpe, Joe Chernov of Kinvey, and others then edited each interview into a discrete article. Those articles will run for the next several weeks and will culminate in an event or activity that we are working out the details on. Some of these top marketers are also speaking at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum . Register now to see them live.

I hope you like what we have put together here. I sure had fun getting to know these remarkable marketers and their stories a bit better. I know that I will be a better marketer for it; I trust you will be, too.

I welcome your feedback here or you can reach me on Twitter.

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Aaron Dun is vice-president of marketing and strategy at Percussion, a provider of Web content, experience, and engagement software products. Reach him via

Twitter: @ajdun

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  • by KerryM Mon Jul 8, 2013 via blog

    I'm intrigued. When will you start publishing this series and how often?

  • by Alejandra García Mon Jul 8, 2013 via blog

    I'm also interested on knowing when will you start publishing this series and how often.

  • by Christina Tarkoff Mon Jul 8, 2013 via blog

    Cool! Looking forward to the series on these superstars got it all started.

  • by Aaron Mon Jul 8, 2013 via blog

    Hi everyone, thanks for the comments! The plan is to publish the first interview next week and ideally publish weekly from there. Stay tuned!


  • by natasha Tue Jul 9, 2013 via blog

    How do we make sure that we receive this series? My inbox is flooded with Marketing prof emails and I'm concerned that I will miss yours.

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