I first got to know HubSpot last summer when I was researching for the report: "Interactive Marketing Priorities For SMBs." Born out of MIT’s Sloan School in 2006, HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing suite for small businesses. It provides blog building, content management, SEO, email marketing, lead management and social media tools, templates, and reporting for marketers at small and medium-sized companies. The model? To provide automated solutions for multiple marketing functions together in an easy-to-use system, tailored for the SMB market. Forrester loves the idea of the online marketing suite, so we think HubSpot’s approach is right-on.
Well, HubSpot just announced today that it has two new investors: Google and salesforce.com.
To me this investment signifies two things:
1) Google wants to expand its reach into marketing budgets of small companies, many of whom currently use mostly local search. I've said before that I think Google is moving away from its core search business and into expanded media opportunities like television media. I think this investment is further evidence of Google's expanding priorities, now into the SMB market.
2) Both Google and salesforce.com are placing bets on the HubSpot model. For years, small business marketing has been a nut that no one has quite cracked. National search engines a la Google and Yahoo don't have relationships with local media or SMB advertisers. Yellow pages providers and local newspapers have local relationships, but not national ones, nor do they have the technology chops to scale a solution for smaller advertisers. And existing marketing automation tools like salesforce.com have focused more on enterprise than on SMB. This investment certainly shows that Google and salesforce.com are banking on automation to unlock the SMB opportunity.