Some of the best perspectives on HubSpot's product come from those who use it every day. In this interview series, we profile HubSpot partners, providers, and customers, and ask their thoughts on what our product team should keep in mind while solving for them, and where the future of the industry lies.
How did you first come to work with HubSpot’s products?
I get really excited about marketing’s ability to grow companies and to help companies reach their goal. When I started working with HubSpot’s products, I was serving one of our education clients and trying to find them a new email marketing solution. We were using Vertical Response, but the cost of Vertical Response was going up tremendously because of the size of their contact list. We were looking into other options when we discovered HubSpot. We found that HubSpot could give us email marketing, social media management, and a CRM all in one place and at a lower cost. It was such an affordable, efficient, and scalable solution. The rest is history.
You are the founder and CMO of MuvaShip Marketing. Your firm provides “communications and marketing support to schools, nonprofit, and government organizations across the country.” How have you seen the marketing/communications needs of these public sector organizations evolve over the duration of your career?
I have been very fortunate over the past 15 years to not only watch the evolution of communications and marketing in the public sector, but I have continued to evolve with it. When I began my career I was a news anchor on the radio, and then in public relations representing cities and school districts. Now, fast forward to 2021, digital has merged those sectors. When I started, there was no social media. These folks were just coming around to having a website. Now, being active online with a website and a strong digital presence is the new storefront, it’s the new town hall, it’s the new coffee shop, it’s the new front stoop. It’s fascinating. The public sector has slowly come around into the digital age because when you are serving the people, you have to meet them where they are — and everyone is engaging online.
Going back to the previous question, as the marketing needs of public sector organizations continue to change in the future, what will be top of mind for your team at MuvaShip Marketing?
Staying sharp and staying ahead on digital trends. One thing about being active in digital marketing is that it’s always evolving. The tools, the platforms, the restrictions. How we reach people is changing more and more each day. From third-party cookies, privacy concerns, ad targeting — how we are able to market and be most efficient is always taking on a new shape or form. So we have to stay on top of that if we want to continue to reach our audiences and be effective in our messaging. I constantly preach HubSpot’s concept of taking customer engagement from funnel to flywheel. That’s exactly what we have to continue to do — especially in the public sector.
Over the course of your career, you’ve had a variety of experiences spanning several different industries. What drew you to work in the public sector, and what is the most interesting part of your work?
I have been so fortunate to work for the media, to work and consult for Fortune 100 companies, and to serve in the armed forces. When I worked for those larger corporations, there was so much of my work that felt like I was just a tiny ant moving a small crumb. But, when I bring the knowledge that I got from those big heavy hitters who spent millions a month in marketing to the public and non-profit sector, I can help organizations that don’t have those millions move mountains. This work is awesome because it isn’t just making a corporation more money — it’s strengthening communities. It’s improving community ties. It’s making life better for children and families. I feel extremely blessed to be able to do that. I primarily serve communities of color. That’s my home. That’s where I come from. It’s my give-back, and it’s how I am able to have the greatest impact.
In addition to being Founder and CMO of MuvaShip Marketing, Michelle is also the National Director of Communications and Marketing at Phalen Leadership Academies. The images above are from a Phalen Leadership Academies community event. They had over 1,000 attendees and two dozen community partners!
What is something you wish you knew when you first started using HubSpot’s products?
HubSpot is so multi-faceted that I am still learning more every day. I can’t say there is anything that I wanted to know more about because I have HubSpot’s help desk on speed dial! There is always someone available to help if we get stuck anywhere — so we don’t get stuck anywhere! We also fully utilize the trainings and certifications to keep digging deeper and leveraging the system to reach our goals.
As a member of HubSpot's Customer Advisory Board, what do you think is the most important thing for HubSpot's product team to keep in mind when solving for customers today?
Integrations. Integrations. Integrations. My favorite thing about HubSpot is its ability to help companies grow and to scale and it’s focus on engaging customers. I think we have found a way to leverage every hub in the system. Integration is important because as companies scale and move into HubSpot (as we did), it is important to make that transition seamless for business owners. You would be surprised at the number of startups whose entire existence is in Google Sheets. Having stronger integrations with some of those basic products can help customers be more efficient and ready for growth. I also think it’s important to make web and landing page building easier, reducing the need for customers to adjust code entirely. “What you see is what you get” is the way.
If you could add one feature to HubSpot's product right now, what would it be?
TikTok publishing and publishing to reels as video content continues to dominate. Also, publishing social content to Google My Business because Google will continue to be a juggernaut game changer for nonprofits, schools and small businesses.
You are a proud United States Air Force Veteran — Thank you for your service! What are some skills that you gained in this role that you have continued to apply throughout the duration of your career?
Oh wow! It was a pleasure to serve! I joined the Air Force at 17 years old. I often say the Air Force helped to raise me. The Air Force Core Values are: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. I am so thankful to have had exposure to those kinds of values so young. I left the Air Force in 2006, but the Air Force core values are my core values. I learned extreme discipline and determination. I have a heart for service, and I think that has helped me in my personal life as much as my career. Although, I still can’t do a push up!