049 - Early Martech Mirrors Early Partner Ecosystems?! Scott Brinker, Godfather of Martech, Unveils All!

Scott Brinker has been deemed the Godfather of Martech. That’s high praise, and rightly so.

He saw the value in early marketing technology and became an advocate. At that point, not many people recognized the way everything would fit together. Scott did. Now he’s hopped onto the partner train. That CAN’T be a coincidence.

As Hubspot’s VP of Platform Ecosystems, Brinker is ahead of the curve and is becoming a leading voice in partnerships and ecosystems.

“The world is shifting to ecosystems,” he says.

It’s time to hop onto the train!

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Jared Fuller  00:00
What is up partner up? We're in person, Isaac,

Isaac Morehouse  00:03
it's awkward person it throws off the home you know, we got used to we baked in the delays and awkward timing things on video. Now it's this whole like in real life thing we don't really know how to how to roll with it but we still we still have Scott with us from a different location.

Jared Fuller  00:26
He's He's there. So what we're trying to do is we're still trying to pump up the video views we perform like number one on Apple on Spotify, and then YouTube is just like black. So Isaac and I are in the same location and we bring on Scott Brinker So, the Scott what's the formal title at HubSpot VP platform

Scott Brinker  00:45

Jared Fuller  00:47
okay platform ecosystem so specifically today this service world kind of like that's another remit other side of the business more aligned to the kind of sales work today.

Scott Brinker  00:57
Okay, um, well, yeah, it kind of spans an interesting combination of Yeah, product and flywheel. Yeah, we can dive into all of that.

Jared Fuller  01:05
Okay, cool. Scott is just a legend. He's very interesting because background and we want to talk a little bit about the story. But for the folks that are listening at home the reason why we're talking the in person thing is again, so if you're listening to us online, we do do a YouTube so you happen to need a video Ashley in the community episode she did mention that she video are also there. But today with Scott we're gonna be hopping in in person recording out of St. Petersburg. telecasting to Austin, right in Boston.

Scott Brinker  01:39
I'm in Boston. I probably wish I was in St. Petersburg, right?

Jared Fuller  01:44
When we get to the next phase of the podcast and we can afford you know, the whole like guest experience when we fly you out and you can stay like that's We'll do that one manicure before

Isaac Morehouse  01:52
the show.

Scott Brinker  01:54
All right. Yeah. Wardrobe. Okay.

Jared Fuller  01:58
So here's who called you the godfather of Mar Tech was actually Jill Rowley. So like, you know, she's a social selling kind of evangelist like you could

Scott Brinker  02:09
tell is a force of nature. Yes, I think the entire mahr tech industry probably like rests on Joe Raleigh's.

Jared Fuller  02:17
So she referred you as the godfather of Mar tech, and you're leading ecosystem and platform at a company that's near and dear to my heart HubSpot, because, I mean, I built an integration with Panda doc and HubSpot. Before there was even API's for CRM, we built a Chrome extension that kind of hacked the DOM to like, make an integration, which is pretty cool. But now, it's hard to say that there's another app ecosystem and b2b that's growing as quickly as like HubSpot connect and everything going on there. But before we dive into, like, what, what's going on today, and what you're seeing from your vantage point, Scott, I'd love to hear the story of how did the godfather of Mar tech and the burning ecosystem, you know, you have chief, our tech, which is the big info, you know, 1000 plus companies, books, you've written, lots of thought leadership, and now specifically platform ecosystem. How did that come about?

Scott Brinker  03:12
Yeah, I was definitely what my career journey is. Winding would be the generous way to say, you know, I started as a software engineer entrepreneur, ended up, you know, building a series of companies, one of the early web development firms, then got into launching my own SAS business, we created a platform for interactive content. One of the very specialized no code platforms, boy, goodness, a decade or more ago. And so it was kind of interesting that as I was building up, you know, that company, I'd taken on this other hat of Chief Mar tech comm I've just through my experience was really fascinating to be working with one foot in the technical domain and one foot in the marketing domain. And just seeing all this lack of communication and understanding and operational efficiency between these teams, yet everything every force in the world was like, you know, driving these two teams, you know, together. And that was the genesis of Chief martec was okay, well, you know, like, how, how can marketing really effectively harness technology, not just from a technical perspective, but from an organizational and human perspective? And so I'm doing that while I'm running this startup.

Jared Fuller  04:31
Let's pause right there, just because I want to understand the story. And from your perspective, what facilitated that change. So, like, My thesis is, cloud became, you know, not ubiquitous, but started to accelerate. You know, Salesforce, obviously probably the biggest mover there in terms of customer data, right, accelerating out to the cloud in the early 2000s. And then this time when you're doing Chief martec, what was the what was the timeframe whenever you was how does Mark can you leverage this technology? What? What time frame was this?

Scott Brinker  05:03
Yeah, so I started chief Mar tech 2008. And it was based on experiences that I'd had pretty much for the previous eight years, you know, of just seeing companies adopting more and more digital marketing capabilities. But right, I mean, at the time, they were kind of isolated in their own little silo, it wasn't very deeply integrated into the mainstream marketing. org. And over that decade that that changed,

Jared Fuller  05:31
facilitated that change. And I want to I want to be clear about I think martec implies to me, automation. So like workflows, like more than one step at a time, was that your lens by which you viewed Mar tech, like, hey, now that we have some data, is absent data use just brand marketing, let's turn the TV, you know, the billboard up the radio the offline, right? It's just brand marketing. So the second we have data that's addressing that seems like a requirement that the next big innovation with Artech had to be automation, is that a fair way of summarizing why that was possible, it's like a new thing.

Scott Brinker  06:10
Possibly, I mean, I would reverse the order of it. At the end of the day, marketing went online, because consumers went online customers went online, you know, in marketing chases, being aware, the audience goes, marketing will follow. You know, and when we just think about the rise of how much engagement was happening, you know, in b2b and b2c, over the internet over mobile apps, you know, all of a sudden, this was the domain in which marketing was playing. And that being said, there were a bunch of advantages, you get out of that, and you put your finger on a huge one there, right? I mean, just instrumenting the data, you know, of all those interactions, and being able to pull that together to analyze and understand who our audiences and how we engage and all that. And then you're right, then get another layer on top of that becomes, oh, well, wow, all this data that's flowing around. I mean, like, we could have programs that like algorithmically do things with that data. And you know, automation, I mean, marketing automation, right, like, you know, rose up in that period, you know, 2006

Isaac Morehouse  07:11
that's such an important point that you make, I mean, I know it sounds so simple, but it's so so important that no, we didn't go to digital, you know, martec, because it was easier for us, we went there because customers were they're not happy to have these benefits. We're just getting that order, right, like, and that's something that we've talked about a lot in the purchase world, how are customers behaving? What are they doing now? Go do what they're doing whether or not it's makes life easier for you. In the case of more tech, it did make a lot of things easier, because you get all these benefits of digital with data and stuff. But in some cases, we've talked about this in an ecosystems framework, some things are harder, it's harder to attribute in, for example, you know, but but if your customers are living and behaving that way, they got to take the lead, you know,

Scott Brinker  07:58
yeah, and I would not say martec made life easier for marketers. I mean, today, perhaps we're in a different place. But boy, that original collision. I mean, the marketing organization was not a technology organization, for that matter. Most people in marketing weren't even really like an operational minded organization. Right. You know, and all of that was, you know, we had to build up marketing operations and marketing technology management, to be able to take advantage of this stuff. And I, if we sort of follow the dots of where this may be headed, you know, yeah, the next thing was like, Oh, wow, there's all these technologies out here, but Oh, my goodness, you know, like, how do we get these things to work together? How do we like, you know, orchestrate this into a cohesive whole? You know, and it was, that was the challenge that brought me to HubSpot.

Jared Fuller  08:48
Right, that you were saying that the technology and Mar Tech was downstream of consumer behavior changes in demand, right, like, so people were saying, Hey, I like, you know, consuming online. So okay, that was downstream of that. The next thing was, okay, great. We have this technology, but oh my gosh, it's actually hard. It's hard to measure, it's hard to like do and there's no roles, there was no marketing operations, like you said, there was no data, you know, analysis or any of these things that we kind of have today. So then, I think as a part of that, like why chief Mar tech and some of your work was probably popular, is that there almost feels like that there had to be at the same time, some sort of community, right? Like, these roles were not created because of marketing technology. And these roles were created because people were how do we do this? Like so in those earlier phases? How were people like kind of coming together to where you felt like Mar Tech was the thing like, you know, Joe rally or Scott Brinker. Like there's these conferences, there's people showing up, they're learning from each other. Like, if we look at community today, I think it's very different than what Was it that inflection point for marketing automation? How did that? How did you see that? Kind of like forming these roles being defined? Right? For the first time ever?

Scott Brinker  10:10
Yeah, well, I mean, again, all this stuff happens organically in its earliest days, you know, so even like, you know, in the late 90s, in the early 2000s, there were people who were operating, you know, in between, you know, the world of it, and marketing. It's just, it wasn't very official, and there weren't like labels for this, or titles, you know, but they were kind of the folks who were either like, the technically savvy marketer who kind of figure it out, or they be, you know, someone who is more in the IT or technology or, you know, software side of things, who's like, oh, yeah, no, I understand what you're trying to do, I can make that happen for you. And so it was this coming together of, you know, Chief Mar tech comm. And then we, you know, launched a conference in 2014, the MAR tech conference, that all of a sudden, I was like, Well, wait a second, we're kind of calling these people who live in both worlds marketing technologists? How many of them are there, like, when we launched the first Mar tech conference in 2014? It was really an open question of like, is anybody gonna show up? You know, like, 50 people, like, we'll go down to the bar, and, you know, post the fact that nobody knows what we do. And like, in a week or two, it like sold out for like, 400 people, and it's like, Whoa, there's something big here. And I think, yeah, in a matter of literally from 2014, to like, 2017 very rapidly, this coalesce, where there were a whole bunch of people who now like said, Yep, this is the label, whether I'm one of these marketing technologists or a marketing leader who knows I want to hire one of these marketing technologists, at least we had a little bit of language to say, Oh, well, this is this new kind of role that should be a part of the marketing team.

Jared Fuller  11:55
And that's kind of what drove the curiosity towards not just marketing technology, but the interconnectedness to platform and kind of that opportunity. But

Scott Brinker  12:03
ah, well, that was a little bit of an interesting thing that I did not anticipate, it's one thing to say that you're going to have marketing technologists, it's a completely different thing to witness what happens structurally, in the marketing technology industry, because when I put that first martec map together, and there were like, 150, marketing technology 2014 year was that earlier, that was 2011 2011. So there was 150. Yeah, and to be honest, like everyone at the time, including me thought, Oh, my goodness, there's a lot of marketing technology, the entire reason I put that like graph together is because I was just trying to persuade more CMOS to think about hiring marketing technologists on their team, because just look at the systems and dependencies you have. It was almost by accident of being in the right place at the right time, where just year over year, I would keep updating that landscape just to keep track of what's out there. And my goodness, the thing I kept growing exponentially like year over year for a series of years. And that became something that above and beyond just having marketing technologists, you know, as a talent or skill set in marketing, this structural shift in the industry where you were no longer talking about, you know, a couple 100 players, but you were talking about 1000s of players. That was the thing that ultimately that like realized, okay, the only way that you are ever going to make sense of this craziness, the only way any normal company is going to be able harnesses, is we have to create some sort of platforming capabilities to bring these pieces together. Because individual marketers trying to stitch together, you know, products from like a universe of 1000s of different apps, that was clearly becoming this huge operational drag on the industry as a whole.

Jared Fuller  13:58
You said the industry as a whole. Where do you think the scrutiny was coming from kind of like, let's, let's say we're telling the story here, you know, kind of Mar tech to kind of like ecosystem? What was the kind of friction point and that story kind of like the fall from grace, but like, yeah, everything's coming together. This marketing technologies, like we have functions, we have roles, people are hiring for them. People are building careers, CMOs now have this as a required capability. Right before it was like the best brands, CMOs ran the world. And now it's like, you if you want to be a CMO, if you're not perfect at it, you better know how to identify and hire and manage it was that peak friction point, anything that would that justifying and with the attribution? Was it a combination of those things?

Scott Brinker  14:44
Yeah, I think the real pain point became this bifurcation in the industry. That was why they like Feldstein bargain or some sort of choice. You just don't want to it's basically like, marketers, we're being told you have a choice. You can buy a suite, and you get all the things from one vendor. And the good news is, we promise more or less all these things will work together. The bad news is, you can only do what we do in our box. And if you want something else, well, too bad, because, you know, yeah, this is this week, or the completely opposite end of the spectrum is yes, you can pick every single specialized capability you want from that, you know, blossoming landscape, you know, of 1000s of apps. But yeah, none of this stuff is gonna work together. So good luck with that. And if you're a marketer, who's like trying to always stay on the cutting edge of like, how do you provide the best experience? How do you stay competitive in like engagements through these new channels? It's like, you're like, Well, I can out loud here, I want both. I want to have my likes best of breed capabilities, where I want them. But I also want all this stuff to generally work together and being forced into an either or choice. They're just a terrible, terrible experience, you know, and so the only path through that was to say, okay, yes, we need these major systems that provide the backbone to our Mar tech stack, but they have to be open platforms, because people are going to want these specialized apps, we need these specialized apps, you know, this is how the industry develops a certain anti fragility, you know, to all the change in innovation that we're going through. And so that was, I think, really the, you know, spark that you could kind of tell him, like mid, you know, 2014, to 2019, this sort of shift where even the major suite companies, a number of whom were kind of opposed to the best of breed, right, they looked at it as a threat, you know, and, you know, what brought me to HubSpot was, you know, I was kind of railing against this as a, not only as the chief martec role, but you know, as this, you know, CTO of my own SAS company that was trying to integrate with these other platforms. A lot of them did not make it particularly easy. They were not very friendly to, you know, these ecosystems out, wow, this is a win win opportunity. And for years, when I'd be on stage with leaders from some of these very large companies providing these suites, I'd show them the landscape, and I'd asked them alright, well, what do you see here? You know, and their answer would be some version of FUD, like fear, uncertainty and doubt, like, yeah, no, this is yeah, we use this in our sales presentations to say like, do you want that master? Just everything from, you know? And I'm like, Okay, fine, I get that. But is that isn't really moving the industry forward. The first time I sat down with Brian Halligan. You know, they've reached out about, hey, we'd like to talk to you about this. You know, I pull out the trusty landscape, I'm like, Alright, Brian, well, what do you see here? And like his eyes, he's like, opportunity. You know, like, he was one of the first leaders in that space that I spoke to who like generally saw, like, Hey, there's this incredible energy and innovation, you know, that's happening here. And instead of just trying to fight this, I mean, isn't there some sort of way that like, we can harness this, you know, to provide better capabilities, better solutions for customers? And so yeah, I think today now, if you look at pretty much every major Mar tech platform, you know, the large ones, so they are truly platforms, they're open API's, that marketplaces, they're investing in their ecosystem, and the world is by no means perfect, we've still got a long way to go in that journey. But at least it feels like it's heading in the direction where you as a marketer don't have to be stuck between like, well, you can have this limited box, or you can have a complete and total mess, you pick one of the two, no, I want the best of both,

Isaac Morehouse  18:43
Scott, how much of that evolution was driven by problems just within marketing departments themselves? And how much of it was driven by the constant battles between sales and marketing? And like, were you were you looking at what was happening in sales with things like Salesforce and the sort of increased automation of some of those sales processes and saying, Hey, this is a template for this marketing stack? Or were you looking at that as like, No, we don't want to go there. You know, I mean, how much was the sales and marketing sort of conflict or sometimes harmony playing into this? Or was this more of a self contained marketing solving its own problems.

Scott Brinker  19:24
I think for the the major driver was more within marketing itself. Because, you know, certainly for that decade of the 2010s It felt like serious decisions, right? They kind of like created that you know, waterfall model of saying, okay, marketing, we'll take everything up to the MQL. And then we hand it over to sales and you know, sales either takes it as accepted lead or we throw it back into the loop. And by no means was that a perfect architecture or certainly from a customer experience perspective, you know, that the that boundary left a lot to be desired. But that being said, operationally, marketing and sales were kind of working, you know, in that mode and so a lot of the energy in each of those departments was being focused on their own tech and their own operations and less so cross team. Now, I think, the past few years, yeah, all this work around revenue ops. You know, certainly all the movement around account based, not just marketing, but you know, just like count based, you know, everything I guess, as John Miller would call it, you know, these are all things that help lead to closer synchronization between those two worlds. And now you see, yeah, martech stacks and sales, tax sales, tech stacks blending together and all that fun stuff. But yeah, the the initial catalyst here for the platforming of the mahr tech industry, pretty solidly came from marketing itself.

Jared Fuller  20:52
It's interesting, right? I think what I'd love to get your take on is what seems similar about that story that you you kind of like, let's say had a front row seat that right, were a big part of like, that's, like, Why talk about the past? Well, it seems like there's lots of cycles that end up repeating themselves and just as weird humans, like things happen. It's like this looks similar to something that happened in the past. Now that you put on the, you know, Halligan talks to you, and you go, okay, there is a giant platform opportunity to bring this all together. And from the very beginning, though, I think y'all at HubSpot, were thinking about a little bit differently. It was flywheel versus funnel. What that means inherently, is that you can't talk about marketing in a silo. You can't say just marketing for marketing, you have to say marketing, and then customer engagement or sales, and then service, right, making sure that's driving LTV. And then HubSpot does have a pretty partner centric company in terms of, you know, the marketing agency world. Now you're looking at Platform ecosystem being on the inside. Does that feel similar to some of the stuff that you are going through in marketing technology, because you're running platform and you're helping other companies integrate? And then you're seeing these other things happen? Well, what about this feels like a cycle to you like a next, the next thing as it relates to partner platform ecosystem? To martec? And that story?

Scott Brinker  22:23
Yeah, no, I think you're right. I think the only twist on it is I think the most interesting thing that's happening right now in ecosystems around customer systems in general is not that each particular silo is going through the same evolution that martec did. Because it is you know, sales tech is have I mean, like, yeah, if you've ever seen Nancy Norton's sales tech landscape, and the resurgence of that hits, stunning. You know, Jay McBain, right. I mean, just focused on like, you know, partner channel ecosystem products, couple

Jared Fuller  23:01
100 apps right now, right? Yeah, it's 100.

Scott Brinker  23:04
So so so those patterns do repeat themselves in those silos. But I think what's more interesting right now is there's a really big movement to connect the silos. And I think where we see this happening most is actually at the data layer. You know, the products like snowflake and data, bricks, you know, these things that we used to call cloud data warehouses. Were kind of like, off in the distance, yeah, data was going there. But the number of people who could access them and leverage them and use them was, you know, very limited the scale of the data we had and was, you know, under constant storage constraints. What's happened in Cloud Data Warehouses today is just game changing. I mean, you know, snowflake, data, bricks, you know? Yeah, AWS is very, it's like, they underpin everything now. And what you're starting to see is all these different application platforms, even within particular, like domains of marketing, or sales, or product, or customer service, or finance, they're all both contributing data to that underlying data ops ecosystem. And they're also pulling data from that underlying data ops ecosystem and feeding it back into their frontline operational systems. And this is game changing. I mean, just in the context of marketing and martech, the data that marketers now have access to and can build campaigns on and can build programs around. It's like an order of magnitude, you know, compared to email a few years ago, what was accessible.

Jared Fuller  24:39
So this is, I didn't think that I was gonna invite Scott on and I was gonna get into an argument with him, but I think I'm gonna have to try and pick a bite. So this is interesting, Scott. I would agree with you on the CDP side of things in terms of what you can potentially orchestrate. Here's my question back to you. Does that data make Marketing. So let's assume a best in class like a not the best marketing organization in the world, but they're doing ABM. They do retargeting their brands good. They have multi Conversion Options for their landing pages chat and forums, you know, they don't engage things. They're building content community, they're doing all of that stuff, right? Does data, help them acquire more customers? Does data increase their conversion rates? Or are we seeing right now the limits of data because of how we behave? It's like, I don't know how many more ads that can be served, you know, the delights, state of marketing reports of the average Americans receiving 400 to 10,000 ads per day, you know, like, Are we are we that end in sight? We're like that data and that interconnectedness loses its effectiveness? And maybe maybe not.

Scott Brinker  25:56
You know, it's a wonderful debate to have, I guess, I would argue, two stages to this one is a lot of the data that we're now getting access to, that we didn't have before, isn't pre acquisition data of like, oh, well, this is stuff about prospects and how we target them, and you know, how we engage and get them to close? And then once we close them, we're done. You know, but a tremendous number of businesses, right, you know, making the first sale is the beginning of a very long relationship, you know, and now or hopefully, very long relationship, right? You know, and so now having this like detailed data of like, what's happening when customers are engaging with, you know, our customer service or support organization, if they're using some sort of digital product of ours? Like, what are the patterns of usage? Do they do they stop? Do they go up, you know, you know, which particular features? You know, even data, you know, from our finance department, or people paying us on time? Yeah, you know, all these things are like data sources that if you're looking at how do you optimize the ongoing relationship with that customer? Oh, my goodness, it's a huge amount of data. And we are just barely, first of all, we're just getting access to this for most days.

Isaac Morehouse  27:13
And then the data I imagine about it, to the extent you have access to data about how they're behaving outside of your product, how are they behaving with other products and interacting with others things in the ecosystem, right. And that's where some of these things like like a crossbeam, or whatever, to kind of let you access some of that. I feel like that's a whole new frontier, you know,

Jared Fuller  27:39
we went the same direction with this. And I think the the thing Scott that I would love your take on is it seems to me, like the next winners. So like if HubSpot can pull this off, is it's going to be harder and harder for HubSpot to become 100 billion to 200 billion $500 billion company just because of those, you know, the net new acquisition where you have to drive more lifetime value. And in terms of platforms, why invest in HubSpot, like if I'm a company right, integrate with HubSpot, if I'm an agency, why service HubSpot, you have to have more partner value than my alternatives. And what I'm hearing is maybe the future might entail like, hey, our ability to ingest these usage and adoption and understand allows us to partner and recommend based on that data, right, like, it's not just how we market you know, our own features to these customers. It's also how we highlight surface recommend and bring partners into the equation. Is that is that is that like a big thing that's starting to happen right now, as you're seeing this customer data, and connect the platform ecosystem go, Hey, here's where we know, like, we need to double down and invest in partnerships.

Scott Brinker  28:51
Yeah, yeah, I would say, You're absolutely right. I mean, this is a whole additional layer. Right? So I was just even talking about like, first party data, right, because the probe of that, that we're, like, barely starting to harness, you know, but basically, this next layer out of second party data of all of you know, the different kinds of partnerships, I have an ecosystem. And can we exchange data in a way that helps both of us win better? Yes, I mean, products like crossbeam are, you know, so innovative?

Jared Fuller  29:21
I think well, even, I mean, taking the use of data. So let's say I'm a HubSpot customer, right? And you recognize some behavior based on what I'm doing in the application, and that I will become a better customer, let's say a more successful customer, if I'm doing X, Y, or Z behavior. So like one of the things that I was aware of was a Northstar moment for CRM, HubSpot CRM back in the day was, you know, if we can get that customer move the deal to close well on the likelihood that they stay a customer, right? 700% more likely. I'm sure there's all sorts of those inflection points, that as an ecosystem team, you're kind of looking at to help facilitate partners and that means actually kidding account executives, maybe it's real time, right? Like, oh, they might be needing these integrations or its customers,

Isaac Morehouse  30:06
letting them get access to data beyond just their so an analogy came to mind immediately of an entrepreneur, I know really well, I started a FinTech company that's automated, basically, bookkeeping and reporting for primarily for multi unit franchises. So like Jimmy, John's, whatever. One of their value props is, if we provide your reporting, you not only get for your own units, all your stuff, it's benchmarked against all the other units in your franchise concept, and all other franchises. In general, the industry as a whole, because we have some, there's this network effect. And so you have this incentive to use them because you get access to data about other businesses that are either similar that are competitors, or that are adjacent. And you can say, Well, wait a minute, why are my stores, you know, that mean, so much worse, it seems like compared to the industry standard, or compared to the other in this concept, and being able to basically sell access to data from other users of that platform, it gets this, it gets this sort of effect. So I'm just imagining something there where even your partners themselves, if they can access data from other partners. And again, it can be anonymized that can be there's

Jared Fuller  31:22
a lot of ways that you can see just the employees there, right account executive, CS people, right to make a better recommendation, right? Right. Like, hey, benchmarked, here's what we see, this is what we should do. That seems like the company that nailed that, this decade, like that's one of the reasons that he's doing well, writing is value brings more partner value to the table, it seems like this is now the bar that's being raised.

Scott Brinker  31:46
I do not disagree with anything you guys are saying.

Isaac Morehouse  31:51
Like, I've figured all this stuff out a long time ago.

Jared Fuller  31:54
Like what's going to differentiate companies, you know, kind of, over the next several years, like, if you're thinking about building product and platform and you know, developing inside of an ecosystem, I think you need to be thinking about, you know, for any entrepreneurs or partner leaders out there, how do you drive partner value? Right. So if you're launching an integration platform as a company, because lots of tech companies, you know, they have ISV partnerships, so customer integrations, but opening up an API and allowing people to just build, why would someone come to you, I think being able to orchestrate partner value, I share that first party data from the customer and say, Hey, here's, here's the types of people you should be helping. Here's the opportunity, here's what you should be doing. That seems like a last mile, but it's still not been connected for the vast majority of the market. Right, like getting a point of view on this because you're there. But what about the rest of the market? Yeah, no,

Scott Brinker  32:53
I think you're absolutely right. I mean, that being said, I still feel like there's there's like some fundamentals of these. I mean, you mentioned the network effects earlier is, I mean, the no illusion, you know, it's not my smiling face. The number one reason partners build integrations for HubSpot is because HubSpot has a very large customer base, that customer base has decided HubSpot is going to be their system of record for you know, the CRM. And so when those partners want to sell their products that have some piece of the equation in the customer experience, their process prospects are asking them, hey, you know, do you integrate with HubSpot? Because if not, I need to look at your competitor who does I mean, at the end of the day, the you know, there's this core dynamic of saying people build to platforms, because first and foremost, there was a clear economic incentive with their direct customers, if their customers aren't, don't care about it, they don't care about it, and none of the other bells and whistles you put around that matter. That being said, there is a very competitive world when it comes to platforms who have equally large customer bases, lots of demand, you know, but now it's really the competitive battle of, you know, okay, well, what is the total best experience for customers and partners? And that's where, okay, well, if you've got that solid foundation upon which you can then build, yeah, then you can start to get into things like this, like, Okay, well, how can we leverage ecosystem data in a way that like helps partners do better that helps customers get fit to the right thing and collectively makes HubSpot a more attractive ecosystem for all of the participants in it? Yeah, that is definitely where all the fun stuff is happening. That's where so much innovation is happening. But yeah, if we didn't have the underlying like, you know, install base, you know, to provide the economics. Yeah, then none of the other cool stuff would be mattering to

Jared Fuller  34:56
them. So an interesting question for me because I think they're Going back to the cycles thing, and like if we've seen this story before, have we not? What seems fundamentally different about this time is that there might be more participation. But it seems like what I just shot foreshadowed a little bit with you is, was more aggregation. There's more participation from other companies, service providers, partners, there's more integration, but there's still more aggregation meaning there will be more, you know, I don't say the first mover advantage, but like, consolidation, if you will, in terms of like, who has that largest base? You

Scott Brinker  35:36
see, the aggregation is absolutely what? Oh, sorry, I was just going to say, I think aggregation is absolutely the right term. I'm a big fan of, you know, Ben Thompson and stir Tacori. And he's written a lot about aggregation mostly in the context of, you know, like consumer platforms and social networks and things like that. But I think that dynamic is very much at work inside, like the business tech stack. And the products that are, that's just trying to consolidate the tech stack because that That ship has sailed, like the amount of software in the world is not shrinking at this point. You know, so consolidation is challenging, but aggregation finding, like, can you have these aggregators in the tech stack that actually help people get more value out of the variety and the diversity of other software and apps that they have in their tech stack? That is a huge opportunity. And those really do become the centerpieces of the modern business stack.

Isaac Morehouse  36:33
Let me ask you about this role that you are hiring for a Chief Chief ecosystem.

Jared Fuller  36:42
Ecosystem evangelist function, right, that you probably already filled it by now now that we might be having multiple

Scott Brinker  36:51
you know, there's still opportunity. Yeah. Anyone who's listening who wants to apply, please do. Tell me about this rule.

Isaac Morehouse  36:58
It looks pretty. It looks it looks kind of unique. Because we, you know, we're talking to Jay McBain, and he was sort of predicting, oh, there's going to be rolls like this. And Jared was like, Oh, my goodness, I like it's right here. Scott Brinker is hiring for it right now. Give me what was the genesis of deciding, okay, we need to go out and hire and kind of this role description. Where did that come from?

Scott Brinker  37:20
Yeah, well, boy, I mean, Jay McBain is clearly Yeah, the world's expert on ecosystems at this point. So it does not surprise me that he anticipated this. Yeah, we can't do it a bit organically, which is, you know, the world is shifting to ecosystems, like you see this even in like really big, high level executive surveys, like every year, IBM does their whole, like C suite survey of what's on the minds of, you know, senior executives of like fortune 500 companies, you know, and you've sort of seen over the past few years, this rise of ecosystem ecos ecosystem ecosystem, you know, that more and more people are recognizing, like, okay, the patterns of how businesses work together. I mean, we used to be in this mode, where what was it? Porter's Five Forces, you know, like, just industries had had clear boundaries, and you know, clear modes, and the Yeah, whole collapse of things into, you know, a digital global conglomerate of, yeah, everyone, everyone kind of being all connected through, you know, the internet. It's just changed those dynamics. But ecosystems are starting to open up as a way of like, oh, well, this interconnectivity in this sort of, you know, blurring of boundaries between industries, and, you know, different kinds of providers in these industries. There's actually, yes, it's a threat to the old model, but it's new opportunities for new models. That being said, well, a lot of people are talking about this. This is a really new space, like most companies don't really know how to even think about this, even software companies that you could argue are particularly dependent or opportunistic, you know, on how they can leverage platforms ecosystem. It's just there's not a lot of content out there. That's starting to be a lot more recently. But you know, for us, we saw this great opportunity to have someone who would really be dedicated to like understanding the stories of our partners, what's working for them? Where are their challenges, what are their creative approaches to solving this? And to help like feed that back not only to the rest of the partner ecosystem, but even beyond the walls of our partner ecosystem to just other interested parties who are like, Oh, well, what what's happening in the HubSpot ecosystem, what did they learn from this? What have their partners learned from this? How is that evolving? One of the patterns I just think there's something that can a making helpful contribution, you know, to this discussion about ecosystems and be at the same time Yeah, help, HubSpot partners or prospective HubSpot partners. Yeah, really hone their playbooks on how did they succeed seed in this model, how can we help them when

Jared Fuller  40:03
it's interesting? The places that they live? Jay, we have to we have to ban talking about J and N episodes. He good analogy for reference watering holes, right? So he said, but the channel account manager of the future probably won't be assigned, you know, a territory or a Geo, or certain partner types where they're going to live, because they're going to live where these people socialize. So kind of like, like a community manager or an evangelist, so to speak, where you're in there building trust and rapport, helping providing value and sharing stories, right? You're like, oh, yeah, so you're trying to solve that, okay. Here's a way that I can connect with people that have already solved that same challenge. Are you aware of in that, like just kind of peers in the space martec Or partner land or whatever. Other SaaS companies that have started to evangelize that that aren't, you know, partner tech companies, I think, obviously, partner tech companies, CrossFit is doing a great job with that with their content. Is there any other bigger company that's starting to like say, hey, we need to contribute and put, you know, our hat in the ring on helping elevate how companies interoperate, or ecosystem?

Scott Brinker  41:17
Yeah, well, I think the big platform folks are like, I know, Salesforce has a medium blog for their AppExchange partners that, you know, we compete with Salesforce, but I'll take my hat off to him, I thought they've done a wonderful job, you know, with that community. I don't know if Shopify has a dedicated person for this, but I think, yes, you know, certainly the vibe of what's happening around that ecosystem of people really learning within that community of how this works. I think that, for me, Atlassian is another one of those ecosystems, you know, so I'd be less in a position to tell you what the org structures are at those companies, right? How they see that, but from a net impact, like, yeah, I see that kind of effort happening there. And yeah, I'd love HubSpot to be a contributor to that.

Jared Fuller  42:09
If the primary objective then is helping build the story, the narrative, the marketing, right? So this is evangelism spans across like, who might benefit from that evangelism, the partners themselves, right, so they can consume that content, the internal employees, the county executive people to work with partners, the CSM service team, kind of the totality of that they're supposed to come across all of it. So then

Isaac Morehouse  42:32
potential partners, right, yeah, see a story. Yeah, right.

Jared Fuller  42:38
So this is something that is just an overlay then. So it's like, hey, ecosystem focus, but the overlay impacted like, also the entire company. This isn't like a, I think we're fundamentally different than might seem like a Dodge horses. Just true. Is that normally, like, even just a couple years ago, that was like, which part of department is not recorded to? It's like, it seems like, yeah, we're working Scott in the ecosystem gaming platform, but everyone seems like it's an overlay to everything, isn't it?

Scott Brinker  43:08
I mean, this is the nature of ecosystem is they do not stay within very narrow boundaries. In fact, the whole beauty of ecosystems is they bring a certain holistic connectivity to an organization that its customers and all these other stakeholders and providers around it. So I think that's fair. You know, and I think like, you know, organizationally, like Yeah, so I'm hiring for this role. But you know, I could see this roll could live in half a dozen, you know, different teams in HubSpot and still do the exact same mission to be it's, I don't know, yeah, even less about like an organizational structure. Interesting. So much is like, is this mission being well served? Well, I

Jared Fuller  43:55
think I mean, that's a I don't know, probably the debate that I'm glad we weren't talking a couple years ago, Scott, because what would have been the most boring debate ever? Because everyone's had it is the sales and marketing debate? And, like, how do you break down the barriers? Have you do this? How do you do that? It's just the same. It's the same argument that we've been having a having. And what's hilarious is you didn't we just talked about a function that just is like, there's not even a debate. Right? Like the ecosystem function is just so inherently cross functional. You can't you can't even try to take a course or someone has to orchestrate that. Right? There has to be someone with is responsible for orchestrating but the whole point is for them to work across department. And I think it really is a unifying and kind of like I think the refreshing perspective on for the folks that have been our marketing sales like how do we make all this work? Like let's all win together, like that, partly the partner iOS in the ecosystem grows. To me that's why I loved HubSpot as a culture like I've spent time in the offices with hundreds of HubSpot partners. Everybody wants to help each other and win together. There aren't the old world. I won't mention the competitors old. I think y'all have done a great job disrupting that culture doesn't feel the same. I felt like oh, no, that's that department. That's got to go deal with them. You got to go up that BP chain that doesn't look that way. I feel like it's just a living.

Scott Brinker  45:20
I think this is, you know, you put your finger on where real disruption happens is technologies might be enablers for it, but ultimately, is culture and thinking and approach the changes. I mean, again, I, I think HubSpot did a remarkable job of this with inbound marketing. I mean, the entire way that, you know, the marketing universe thought of its mission and how they succeeded it. You know, HubSpot came up with a very different take on how you could do that. And yes, created some software to help make that happen. But actually, in the early days of that, I mean, the software

Jared Fuller  46:06
right now, right now,

Scott Brinker  46:06
absolutely. Great. Now, yeah, I don't think anyone after me,

Jared Fuller  46:13
customers, a paying customer, not just a free customer, customers on HubSpot. So yes, I will vouch for that.

Scott Brinker  46:19
But it's to the point, though, of, you know, it's it's the thinking and the ideas and the culture that are ultimately the real disruptors to this. And actually, you can have some of the most amazing technology in the world. And if you know, the way in which like the thinking or the management or the process or the culture around, it doesn't take hold. The technology just yet doesn't go anywhere. And so I think this is what's really exciting of what's happening with ecosystems. I mean, the technology for some of these ecosystem products. It's not, it's not rocket science, right? It's not like, oh, wow, that's yeah, I mean, like, how did you ever program that? But it's a cultural shift and an approach shift, thinking shift. That's like a game changer, you know? And so yeah, you know, companies, you know, you mentioned like, yeah, with cross beam and the incredible evangelism they're doing, what an enormous value being provided in changing the way people think about what's possible, and how to go about approaching this. And so, yeah, definitely, I mean, the DevOps thing is kind of another version of rice. But in some ways, it's kind of an internal variation of this, of saying like, wow, okay, instead of just always thinking about this was marketing, and this was sales on this was customer service, you know, can we step back and start to look at how we might orchestrate things across all of these? Yeah, I mean, the like, the motions, you know, that, you know, Reb ops teams have developed here, they're pioneering and yeah, aside from the technology, it's the thinking and that is really interoperability,

Jared Fuller  47:53
how do I help my sales counterparts, how to co sell my working counterparts, how to co market my product, how to co innovate. There's that collaboration that's inherent in all of

Isaac Morehouse  48:04
this, the mental model is the is the innovation and almost the precondition for the technologies that can

Jared Fuller  48:11
exactly what its downstream, the tech is downstream from that opportunity. And I think in terms of feeling like okay, that is the moment I think this is where we got to get in Scott the plugs. We got the conference tour coming up. So we got to ask connect, San Francisco, so world's largest partnership, nonprofit, April 27 28th, they can use the code partner up, I get the box off registration. So I'll be there sneaking on stage and seeing a few things. And then we have supernode, which is crossbeams conference, Philadelphia, a 1617, which is just announced, we'll be doing a keynote. They're talking about the era of the ecosystems and kind of like why we should all be excited that we find ourselves in collaborating. And Scott signed up yet. Let's find out live. Scott, have you checked out the partner hacker daily yet? The daily

Scott Brinker  49:08
I'm not, but Sign me up.

Jared Fuller  49:12
We'll have to partner kill him fully. It's the world's first daily partner email. So we're bumping like a 60 plus percent open rate, by the way with hundreds and hundreds of scribers on a daily partnerships email, so go check it out. Scott. Pleasure.

Scott Brinker  49:30
Awesome. Thanks so much for having me really enjoyed the conversation.

Jared Fuller  49:33
Absolutely. Next time we're in Boston, look it up and look forward to all the continued success in Marketing Evangelist and partner that's also looking at ecosystem. I think it's a great way for us to bring more people into the fold. His conversations with Scott Scott, thanks so much. Partner up. We'll see you all next time.

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