The first episode of our podcast for 2022 is out! In this episode, our hosts Chaz and Motso, chat to the Spitfire Heads of Department about the latest marketing and HubSpot trends to look out for in 2022.
The rapid and dramatic growth of technology and digital platforms have presented brands with new strategies to play around with, especially over the last couple of years. There are always new trends to jump on, or not, shifting consumer behaviour and new emerging technologies. We kick off our first podcast of the year by discussing marketing and HubSpot trends with our Spitfire Heads of Department and what they’re most excited about for the year ahead.
Shiran Sugerman, Spitfire Head of Onboarding, says that, “In the world of HubSpot, the Sales and Service doesn't get the credit that it deserves. And I think that most people see digital transformation as looking to your marketing, but it's not, it's the whole flywheel, it's marketing, sales, service, the whole thing. And I think that in this year, more and more people are going to realise that bringing their sales, marketing, and services together and having that central view of the customer is going to be the difference between having a business succeed and having it fail.”
Facebook ad sequencing is what Lauren Espach, Spitfire Social Media and Content Manager, is most excited about this year. HubSpots ad sequence builder is used to create journey-based advertising campaigns for Facebook audiences at each and every stage. “I think that's going to be fun. And I'm really looking forward to playing around with that and just really seeing the results that we can get from that, for our clients.”
Mojalefa Mothudi, Spitfire Paid Media Specialist, is more excited about using existing features to their full potential as opposed to anything new. “I'm not excited about the new things that are coming. I'm more excited about fully using what we do have instead of what's new. I think we haven't used the ads to its full function. Especially when we're experimenting.”
“I love to grow my client accounts, and helping their business accounts grow. And, you know, while this happens, naturally passing on any learnings to my team members so we can focus on creating more diverse and innovative solutions,” says Marlene Oosthuizen, Spitfire Inbound Strategic Advisor, who is very excited about growing her clients and her team.
Taking a ‘back to basics’ approach, audio first media, RevOps, and embracing digital transformation are just a few more trends that our team is looking forward to for the year ahead.
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Full Transcript below:
Do better, be better. Welcome back to the Spitfire Podcast, Take Flight. We're your hosts, Motso and Chaz, Inbound Marketing specialists at Spitfire Inbound. For our first episode of the year, we thought that we'd chat with some of our Heads of Department on the key inbound marketing and HubSpot trends for 2022. They don't only give us the digital tea, but they also suggest actionable tips on how to apply these trends to our marketing strategies going forward.
This is going to be a jam-packed episode, so make sure to listen all the way to the end, so that you don't miss out on the knowledge bombs that our guests share with us today. Also, please let us know your thoughts on this episode and tell us what trends we may not have touched on.
Okay, so let's dive right in! With us today, we've got Lauren, our Social Media and Digital Content Manager, Shiran, who is our Head of Onboarding, Marlene, our Strategic Inbound advisor, and Mojalefa, who is our Mr Google and Paid Media Specialist. Why don't you guys introduce yourselves and elaborate more on your role at Spitfire? What is it that you do?
Cool, fantastic. So basically I head up the content and social media departments at Spitfire. With that, I manage a team of social media and content experts. So we do everything, social and content, for Spitfire and for our clients, and my core area of speciality is paid social media.
Well, I wish I could give you a clear answer, but the quickest summary would be that I am by title, an Inbound Strategic Advisor. So this just really means that I give businesses and clients strategic advice when it comes to meeting their marketing and sales goals. I'm also in the HubSpot Onboarding Department, so I help individuals and businesses with their initial HubSpot setup or I'll help them optimise their current portal usage, through guided learnings.
Cool. So just in a nutshell I'm responsible for overseeing everything related to SEO, paid search, just paid media. So everything related to Google, I'm the go-to guy.
Well, I'm the Head of Onboarding and I think it's a complicated title because when people hear onboarding, they think of internal staff, but that's not what I do. My role is HubSpot and client onboarding, essentially. So I'm Head of the Department and essentially, in a nutshell, that role is getting people to really learn how to use HubSpot and love it. But not just basic training, actually getting them to understand the strategic ways that they can use the tool and helping them set it up in a way that's going to be unique to their business, because every business has different goals and different strategies. And it's not a one size fits all tool, and I mean, inbound as a strategy is not a one size fits all. It's about that customisation and making sure that people are able to really use the tools that we give them, whether it is HubSpot or it is inbound, or it is a sales strategy, the way that it's going to benefit their business and help them grow.
Thank you so much guys, for those amazing introductions. So now we are moving on to our next question. So in your area of expertise, what do you think are the most important trends to look out for in 2022?
So I think that the trend is the entire sphere of digital transformation. So every company is going to need to move into that digital sphere, if they're not already there, and those who are already there, are going to need to keep up with the times as it were. I think that RevOps has become an area where more and more people are realising that, you know, operations is not just about the basic things here or there, it's quite a fundamental function of your business. And the HubSpot Operations Hub is new. So I do think that that is a trend we're going to see more of in the New Year–is people looking for help understanding and growing in a RevOps side. I also think in the world of HubSpot, the Sales and Service Hub doesn't get the credit that it deserves.
And I think that most people see digital transformation as looking to your marketing, but it's not, it's the whole flywheel, it's marketing, sales, service, the whole thing. And I think that in this year, more and more people are going to realise that bringing their sales, marketing, and service together and having that central view of the customer is going to be the difference between having their business succeed and having it fail. So with what's happened in the world, I think that, while we're all ready to go back to some semblance of normalcy, the thing that is not going to ever really go back to what it was before COVID and before lockdown, is the split between working from home and working at the office. I think that the people that felt that working from home was the best thing ever, had now realised that being in an office is actually great and vice versa, but ultimately, what it's done, especially in the South African market, is it's opened up opportunities for cross country, cross regional business. And in order to really function and grow in that environment, you have to make sure that you have a digital strategy in place that is going to mean that when people come to your computer, to your website or they come to your chatbot or whatever, all the experiences are the same. And it's fundamental that they're feeling that you as a business are giving them what they want.
And why is self-service important to customer centricity?
That's a very good question, because it doesn't really necessarily tap into marketing only, and it's not to be used specifically from that perspective, but these innovations also enable sales teams and free up their time. So things like pre-qualification, automated lead distribution… which really enables the sales team to focus on closing more sales.
I think actually the one thing that a lot of people don't see as much of a trend, but for me, it’s so so so important is actually taking a 'back to basics' approach ,just to make sure that your foundations are well… you've got well rooted foundations. Even from a Google perspective, how they want us to manage the accounts, you'll notice that they always say, “Are you making sure that you're following the best practice on this”, or “Is this set up?” Easy example, if your targeting on keywords is set up properly, that allows you to automate things. So if you have the right set up from the get go, it allows you to automate and just pretty much let the system target and do its job more efficiently. So I think a lot of problems that I see across the accounts, and not just… everywhere, is that 'Is the basics set up properly?”
So after reviewing 2021, in conjunction with current trends and seeing the forecast, we will be expecting 2022 to be highly focused around customer centricity. We also saw this as a main focus at Inbound21. And HubSpot is not the only tech giant revolving everything around their consumer. Apple has done it in terms of privacy, and it's just going to become an upward trajectory. I have been heavily involved lately with mapping our integrations. So, alongside self-service tools, which include WhatsApp for business, live chat and building our interactive chatbot journeys to enable self-service to clients.
So I think there's going to be a huge drive to… as brands move more towards digital, just based on COVID in the last two years, especially paid social, there is new functionality on the different platforms. LinkedIn is going to be good for us, or a big drive for us this year. So for example, LinkedIn articles are fantastic. You know, there is new functionality across all the different platforms. And I think, audio. You know, with the rise of apps, audio first sort of media, like Clubhouse, like Twitter spaces, like podcasts, that's definitely just one of the touch points that I think brands can leverage. And there's a huge opportunity within that space.
I just want to carry on with that especially, when you spoke about LinkedIn. What is it about LinkedIn as a social platform that is growing the way that it is?
I think specifically, you know, each platform has got their own benefits and pros and cons, but I think because we play primarily within the B2B space, LinkedIn is such a great platform to leverage that. So brands marketing to other brands or businesses to businesses, just in terms of the increased targeting, for paid social, the platform functionality, and just better reporting. And just the fact that LinkedIn and HubSpot… HubSpot is a LinkedIn partner. So just the reporting depth and functionality that you can get, is going to be a huge driver for us.
I've had a few conversations as well, where B2C marketers see LinkedIn and they just think, “No, not at all!” But, an interesting conversation that I had, which is obvious, but not obvious, is that your B2C customers can be a human that's on the B2B side, you know, so you could be a customer. So you’re just missing out on another person just because you're trying to stay away from it because LinkedIn isn't a B2C social media platform. So yeah, I think that's important to note as well.
Exactly. It's not… it's not considered a traditional B2C platform, however, exactly, like you said Chaz, there's a human on the other end, and they could potentially be an influencer within their business, they could be a decision maker, you know, if we look at it like that, and yeah, just remembering that there is another human, it's another person on the other end, which is great to leverage off.
We're humans on the other end. I swear. (laughs)
We promise. (laughs)
I hope so. I mean, yes, for sure. How do you think these trends, as you've mentioned, are going to affect Spitfire Inbound clients and us at Spitfire Inbound ourselves?
So I am really excited and ecstatic about this movement. So with all of the technology changing and new integrations entering the market, including those that are currently being custom built to fit, we'll be able to serve and create solutions where our clients can enable true customer delight and satisfaction. And I mean that in the sense of, you know, roping in any dev teams where a solution doesn't ultimately meet the current integrations that are out there, but, you know, often we're really able to push boundaries and expand on the requirements for the client. And once you enable your entire tech stack and all of your tools to revolve around your client, then you enable upselling and servicing and then giving a full 360 for your client, which is ultimately what every business wants.
But for us, this just means that we're going to become incredibly busy, which makes me very happy. Meaning that we can deliver solutions to other businesses that really work. And apart from that, these trends will really drive more internal learning, which will enable us to tap into our creative mindset and thinking, which will diversify everybody's skill set, which is always at the heart of our business.
I mean, this is a process that I personally have started actioning last year across most of our clients. So it's a conversation we've already started. And another thing that brings me onto the next, I'd say trend, is it opens up an opportunity–experimentation. If we are able to set up this good base, that everyone is aligned on and is set up for success, it also allows us to test out and bring in experiments into whatever we do to almost see what works for us. What I've personally found is that best practice always sets you up for success. But it's also really good to see if you deviate slightly from best practice, does it sometimes have good results or bad results? And what I've found is sometimes when you test and do something a bit out of the ordinary, you actually do get good results.
So once we've set up the good fundamental base, I like to test and implement automation. And once we're done with that, try out and experiment with different things to see what works for that specific client. The nice thing about our clients at Spitfire, they always occupy such a niche part of the market. So always finding out what works for them is so great.. If you can do that, in the early part of the year, or if you set out a certain part of the year to do that, you almost can roll it out for the rest of the year. Like you see what works for them and you roll it out and say, “We know what, we've set up the right base, we've tested, and we know what works for you. Now it's time to almost reap the rewards of all the hard work that we've been doing.”
Can you provide us with some actionable tips on how to apply these trends to strategies going forward?
So I think that what I love about being a Spitfarian, is that we are curious by nature. We are learners by nature, and I think that we thrive on being able to see what's coming next or, finding out what's coming next and giving them a try. So I think from a Spitfire perspective, we are always working towards being there. I think what it's going to do for us, as a business, is really help us or almost force us as a business to kind of bring it into ourselves. I think that when you are an agency, and I mean, we don't like the word agency because we're technically not an agency, we're more of a consultancy, but when you are in that position, when you are doing something for your clients, that something in your internal business, that tends to be the second thing that you think about.
And I think that as we grow, as we get more people that we can teach and grow into this industry, we can start really pushing that into our own internal processes. And I think that we've done that in the last year. We have really, really worked on our processes, on streamlining it, and the benefits of that for our customers, is that they get an even better, more streamlined customer service. So I think that is it, it's ultimately a cycle, you know. It's that, us at Spitfire, go “Okay, because we've done this for our clients, we now see that our own processes might need a bit of a shift.” We shift those processes and then we're able to give that back to our clients. So it's a cycle. And I think that's what we do as well with our clients, is that every time we take on a new challenge, every time we take on a new client that needs something slightly different, or every time we decide we're going to develop a new product that's specific around Ops Hub, it allows us to learn and give that back to our clients and give them even more services.
You know, start with your existing content. That's definitely going to be the best tool in your arsenal. So how can you repurpose the content, existing content, and leverage it for maximum reach. So you basically think of your social media platforms as an additional touch point and conversion opportunity. So for example, you can turn blog posts, existing blog posts, or even older ones, into social media content. You can break those up, you can turn those into videos, you can turn them into LinkedIn articles. You can also, there's also the opportunity to promote those through paid ads. So definitely start with your content. I think that's going to be the cornerstone of how you can sort of, take that and then turn that into, or jump on trends. Look at stories, think about taking an old blog article and turning it into a podcast, for example. There are so many strategies. Think about taking content and turning it into, for example, journey based advertising, that is a new feature on HubSpot, with your ad sequences.
So there's definitely, there are so many things that you can do with your content, but I think it's also about… just think about your business goals. Just because there are loads of trends doesn't mean you need to touch every one of them. Take one or two, do a test, you know, come up with your hypothesis, run a test, run an A/B test, measure the results, and then iterate from there.
In general, it's always a good place and good practice for people to review their current processes. And then to see what's up and coming and to see if there are any solutions that I've just mentioned that can fit into their current framework and then devise a strategy to deploy those. So for example, I mentioned where live chat and chatbots could fit in. For some companies it would be wise to opt for live chat where agents can assist, you know, in real time and based on certain time zones, whereas other companies would rather utilise a self servicing chatbot that better suits their clients' needs and capabilities. So without giving away too much, I kind of want to say like, go back to the drawing board and have a look at where these trends will fit in, in your business specifically.
Okay. So what HubSpot updates are you excited to use in 2022? So we've spoken about, kind of general trends, but then obviously, we love HubSpot. So what are those updates that you're excited to see?
In the world of HubSpot, the Sales and Service doesn't get the credit that it deserves. And I think that most people see digital transformation as looking to your marketing, but it's not, it's the whole flywheel, it's marketing, sales, service, the whole thing. And I think that in this year, more and more people are going to realise that bringing their sales, marketing, and services together and having that central view of the customer is going to be the difference between having a business succeed and having it fail.
So definitely Facebook ad sequences. We've just touched on that, but this is such a cool feature. I'm so excited about this. Basically, this will allow us to create and tailor a set of ads based on the buyer's journey. So, it's a set of three ads. So you'll attract your prospects, you'll provide them with relevant, interesting content, and then you'll convert them, with separate ads that have a very strong call to action. And all of that is measurable, within HubSpot. So I think that's going to be fun. And I'm really looking forward to playing around with that and just really seeing the results that we can get from that, for our clients.
It goes back to… back to basics. I'm not excited about the new things that are coming. I'm more excited about fully using what we do have instead of what's new. I think we haven't used the ads to its full function. Especially when we're experimenting. I mean, when we look on the Google ads side of things, we see a lot of time on what's driving a conversion, somebody who's filling a form, right. And then we, as marketers or as search marketers, we always get excited that, “Oh, wow, last week I had 2 people. This week I have 10 people filling in a form.” But HubSpot allows us to see if those people end up being customers. So I think we are not driving that enough. We're not focusing on getting people, driving those people along the buyer's journey further enough.
Do you think we can anticipate something more in 2022? Maybe it's not around just yet, but you can see it's reviving or coming out of nowhere?
Yeah. That's also a fantastic question. So like I mentioned earlier, the rise of audio first platforms, I mean, we're going to see that explode. Things that are here to stay and that might change, are things like streaming videos, stories, stories are still going to be a key focus. So reels, a short form vertical video, that's also going to be really big. We're going to see slight changes, but it's definitely here to stay. And then just in terms of topics, I think there's going to be a really huge emphasis on diversity, as well as mental health, and how brands are addressing these issues. So for example, like what their position on diversity is, sharing their values through social, etcetera. So those are going to be key points to look out for and to play around with.
I think there's definitely going to be an emphasis on pushing sales as a tool. So CRM, I think that a lot of people are really understanding the benefits of having a robust CRM system. And I mean, HubSpot has introduced the payments tool, which really changes the face of what HubSpot does. So I think my anticipation there, is that it becomes available to more and more countries. Yeah. That's what I'm really looking forward to, but I think that Custom Quote templates have also been something on the horizon that is now coming into play. And I think that it gives people who use HubSpot the ability to really customise their sales efforts a lot more. But yeah, the payments tool's definitely going to change a lot of things.
This one is from personal experience guys. Yes, I've read about it, but I'm seeing it so many times. Okay. From my own personal experience, I've got a five year old daughter, and she can't read and write yet, because she's still in Grade R. She's like such a digital native, right? She's quite comfortable on YouTube and stuff like that. But you know, on YouTube search is so important, but what she really depends on is voice search. She does a lot of voice search. And I'm seeing it more and more, even more grownups are doing more voice search, stuff related to YouTube related voice search. People don't feel like typing as much, especially like you'd see stuff like smart TVs are becoming a bigger thing which allows us to do more voice searches from phones. Google has been going on about the importance of mobile devices for like, what? Eight years now? Yeah. Lockdown has really accelerated that as well. Yeah. So voice search is becoming more and more important, which is more related to the content and the keywords you optimise for.
And then just in general for the year, what are you most excited about?
Actually what I'm excited about is, like at Spitfire, we really get tested. I'm always getting tested to think of so many new solutions. I mean, every now and again, I get asked the question that it's like, you know very well, we really don't work in silos. Questions that I was answering last year are something totally different. The other day I got an email from Jane saying, “Hey, I don't know who this is for, but there's this thing my client wants an answer for.” And I was like, “Hey! I've never thought of that question but that sounds like the kind of question that would most likely come to me. And I'm interested in actually getting a solution to that kind of question.” So, always getting questions that are so new and make me think in totally different ways.
I'm really, really excited to be part of a business that's always growing better. So I'm literally excited to help my clients grow and I'm not getting paid to say that, (laughs), I get my kicks out of that. So I love to grow my client accounts, and helping their business accounts grow. And, you know, while this happens, naturally passing on any learnings to my team members so we can focus on creating more diverse and innovative solutions, you know, always improving what already exists and changing for the better.
I love that. And again, for it to be a trend that it's customer centricity and your work that you've set out for the next year, is exactly that.
I love that. Thank you so much for all of your insight today. I know I've learned a lot and I'm also excited for 2022 and maybe towards the end of the year, we can have another interview and see exactly where we went and how those insights ended up unpacking themselves.
Amazing. I'd love that. Thanks so much for having me on today. It's been awesome.
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