Reporting is one of the biggest issues marketers face - getting everything in one place, creating in a timely manner and having meaningful insights - we hear this time and time again.
Hands up, we've had the same issue here. In our mission to solve the issue we found Databox, which we now use for all our client reporting. As Databox has helped us we thought it could help other marketers so we invited Pete Caputa, CEO of Databox, on the show to talk more about reporting and the ways to make your reports even better.
Thanks so much for joining us this week.
Have some feedback you’d like to share. Do it in the comments below!
- Hi guys, welcome to Inbound After Hours, today we have a special guest from over in the US, we have Peter Caputa, he's a CEO of Databox thanks for joining us Pete
- Pleasure, pleasure.
- Appreciate that, where are you today, are you at home today?
- I am working from home, my home office here, it's 12 noon, but I wouldn't let you guys drink alone, I've got my beer here.
- Good man, fantastic.
- That's always the first thing we do before a podcast, send Ricky down to the bar. Well listen Pete, for the viewers who don't know who you are, and who Databox is, can you give us a summary and overview?
- Sure, I've been doing online marketing since the late 90s
- Building websites and doing e-commerce back in the day, I had my own little marketing agency for a while, very specialised in helping event planners market their events online, in the early 2000's, and I was a very early employee at Hubspot, I was employee number 15 at Hubspot, I joined there in 2007, and then in 2009 I started the Hubspot agency partner programme , which means Hubspot signs up marketing agencies, trains them on how to deliver marketing services, of which Visual 22 is of course one of them, so I started out and I led the growth of that, through the IPL, the last time I reported it was about 40% of Hubspot revenue, I approximate that is a few billion dollars worth of marketing services that our agencies collectively deliver, so very proud of that, being able to help a lot of agencies and a lot of clients, I got a little bored of doing the same thing, after nine years I left there in January , to join as CEO of Databox, Databox is an early stage company, been around for a little while, raised a few million dollars, they have a very robust visualisation and reporting, and business intelligence solution, but didn't have a lot of customers to show for it yet, so I joined to help build that up, we're up to a few hundred paying customers now and 2003 users, about a hundred agencies, many of which are Hubspot partners, and they are using it, with about a total of 1200 of their clients, and so were trucking along, our goal is really to help marketers be more data driven, really deliver ROI in a very measurable way, and help marketers and marketing agencies be more agile, I think most marketers set their strategy in the beginning of the year, and kind of just run with it, make a few tweaks along the way, every month but with the nature of online marketing today, there is opportunity to optimise results, pretty much in real time if you're paying attention to the numbers, so were helping agencies and marketers pull all their marketing data into one spot, and then making it available on every device, TV, mobile, desktop, computer et cetera.
- Fantastic, I mean you're the perfect candidate as you understand our pain as agencies and as marketeers, so you have been there, in all aspects, hence you're the perfect candidate for the role I guess. - Yes been a long time since I delivered marketing services myself, that was in the mid 2000's, back then it was pretty simple, I don't know if you guys remember back then, you could pretty much send a few numbers from Google analytics and a little SEO data over to the client, but more often than not, it was just a matter of sitting down with clients and saying how it's going, are your leads turning into sales? But over time that's not sufficient, if you want to optimise results, and agencies that we talk to now, marketers that we talk to now, their pulling data from four, five, sometimes 10, 20 different data sources, and there's really no way to, to pay attention to your numbers if it's not many places, and so these four, five, 10, 20 logins, and so most marketers just kind of throw their hands in the air and say screw it, and don't really pay attention very well, but with Databox they can start to pull up into one spot, and put it into a sequence of numbers so they can literally just page through it in a few minutes, and see how everything is going.
- Yeah we became a Databox partner recently, and the reason we invited you on the show is as Mark said, the challenge of pretty much every marketer is reporting, is data, doing it in a good way, so we thought it would be great to get you on, Get you on the show and, listen and learn from what you've learned from joining Databox, so from speaking to marketers every day, what are the big things you have learned about how people are reporting today, what have been your big learnings over the past few months?
- One of the funnier things, I shouldn't say funny, one of the surprising things is that a lot of the agencies don't really do reporting, they might get a call once a month from clients and look at data, but they're not really sitting down and spending time, on the data, and making recommendations, So I was actually surprised to see a lot of marketers who really don't pay much attention to the numbers, I think that's a huge mistake today, one of the massive opportunities within marketing especially, is going back and optimising, the current marketing assets, so whether that's simply taking a blog post and updating it, to get it to rank a little better, or get it to convert better, or taking an old offer like an e-book, and doing the same, promoting it to a new audience, I think marketers miss out on those opportunities, because they don't really pay attention to the numbers well enough, they don't prioritise which assets to optimise, what we are actually seeing is with their own marketing success, optimising things very quickly, so instead of publishing a blog post, 10 landing pages that performed well, instead of publishing that and waiting six months, we often times will update a week later, and make it 15 landing pages that are performing really well, and what we see from that is really impressive search results, organic search results, and of course we can improve the conversion rate along the way as well, as we re-promote it to a new batch of audiences.
- That's a really interesting technique isn't it? I quite like that, I guess you're playing to a few different facets of search really there, it's obviously updated in terms of freshness, and then you're increasing the length and value that you're giving people regularly, I guess that it makes sense that that works, and that you get more traffic for doing it, I like that approach, definitely.
- Yeah if you keep giving us valuable tips like that throughout this podcast, we'll be happy Peter.
- Keep going, yeah, keep going.
- I was going to pick up on something you said there, when you don't look at the data you certainly do miss opportunities, because we have talked about it a few times on the show, particularly with login, you will make a blogging strategy, and all of a sudden one of the blogs that you didn't expect to take off, does take off, we have had one recently where it picked up about 15K visitors a month, to a blog that we really didn't expect to happen
- Yeah, it was just off the chart, and if we weren't looking at the data we would have missed that, and what we managed to do by being on top of the data, was get in there, quickly increase, do a bit of CRO, put a better call to action on their specific just for that blog, and now that blog gets like 650 leads a month or something like that, just from that one blog, which is amazing. Without the data, without taking the time to look at that, we would have completely missed that, and the opportunity would have just gone.
- Now I'm really curious, which one was it are you prepared to share? Or is it a secret? - It's actually a client blog, so it's top of the funnel piece about tips to landing a job as a waitress, and tells you how to nail the interview, but even though we did keyword research, the volumes of that gets is just off the charts, it's absolutely crazy. - Is that on your site or another client side something?
- No, that's on a client site, they sell shows for waitresses, so we are trying to get them at the top of the funnel when they're going in for the job interview, capturing them at the earliest possible point, and it's worked really well, but completely unexpectedly, and it's only the data that helped us identify that.
- Yes, we've also heard similar stories for ourself, and actually one of our junior content writers wrote a piece, and it's just accelerated, so credit to him, one of the junior guys. - He's got our best performing blog.
- Imagine hiring a young promising writer, just 15 years ago, and all their writing goes in print, it would be 10 years before you know if people like them or not, now all that data is instantly available.
- Yeah I didn't think about it like that, but you absolutely right.
- It's that fine art. Let's talk about the--
- The Writer deserves a raise for finding algorithms.
- I know, we sort of put ourselves in it there, we'll edit that bit out. I'd like to talk more about ROI, this is something we find more challenging, especially using Google data sheets, dragging from many sources, bringing it together, how important is ROI for a marketeer? And how can Databox help with that issue?
- I think there's different reasons why an in-house marketer and an agency marketer has to prove their ROI, for an in-house marketer hopefully they're committed to the mission of the company, and feel ownership over it, so I think the important thing is to monitor the data, and to set goals around where they want to be, in order to support the mission and the goals of the company, with in-house marketers it's more about being able to monitor their data, marketers might have Hubspot, they might have Google analytics, cos they hold historical data that allows deeper dives, by dimensioning metrics, than Hubspot does, they might be using an SCO tool like SEM Rush, or maybe just Google search console, they might be running some Facebook ads, ad words campaigns, they certainly should be doing the organic social stuff on Facebook and Twitter, and hopefully getting their employees involved with that stuff, so by the time you add all that up it becomes very difficult for them to keep all those balls in the air, and what I see is marketers usually track one or two of those things, and it's not always the right thing, with in-house marketers it's as much about monitoring how things are performing, as it is about reporting to bosses, and a smaller business with scene it's a lot less important to put in-house marketing together, like a PowerPoint, and do a formal review, some companies are a little more diligent that way than others, but I think is important to make sure for MVP marketer or a marketing manager, to know that, for their bosses and their peers, whether to sales service, or just a finance executive, to know that it actually set goals that they're working towards, and they're tracking against that, so for most of them they have a pretty complicated, or comprehensive set up for themselves, where they monitor everything, but then when they're reporting to their bosses or peers, it's usually a very simple thing, it's just a handful of metrics, what the goal is and what their performance is, so our system allows a marketer to pull all that into one spot, so that they then can have different views for different people inside the company, but not have to go and cut paste or customise it, on an ongoing basis, they can customise it for each individual in the organisation once, and then it's always set up that way for them with live data, so that the marketer side, on the agency side I think reporting is actually much more critical, companies are usually not making a huge commitment to agencies, a lot of times they might sign up for a 12 month retainer, if everybody's doing things in the right way, and a lot of times it takes months before an agency actually starts to impact the top level goals around revenues, sales leads or whatever it is, and I think it's really important that an agency starts out from day one, having a plan around what metrics are going to improve, by what point, by how much, and therefore for agencies it's very important to do reporting, unfortunately what happens with most agencies is that they spend a lot of time cutting and pasting data into spreadsheets, and spend a lot of time creating graphs, and cut pasting them into PowerPoint, and finally after they spent hours doing that, get to sit down and look at the data, and find some insights, and make some recommendations, and so Databox are eliminating all that cutting and pasting for them, so they can focus on actually doing the analysis, and identifying insights, sometimes just making changes instead of always recommending everything, but then of course keeping track of changes that they would have made, and the recommendations that they have for the client as well.
- That resonates a lot, obviously speaking as the, I've had both hats, so as an agency owner, and prior to this being an in-house marketing manager, I always felt if I could report what I had spent, exactly back to what's coming in pounds or dollars, I was in a really strong, secure place, there's nothing worse than a client, or your boss saying, how we doing? And you say well I got you some visitors, or I got you some likes or whatever it is, because most of the time they don't care, they want to know, we have spent X amount with you, how much did we get back, and whenever I've been able to close the loop and truly give them that figure, I've always been in a strong position when asking as in-house marketer, for more budget to do some things that I wanted to try, or going for promotion or just general job security, I always thought if I could close that loop that was my number one priority really, and improve my own worth, so it's been absolutely vital to my career in terms of proving ROI how many people truly managed to achieve that, I know that Dataabox allows you to do it, if people are on the CRM's, or you get buy in from the sales team to give you that data, how many people do you find actually end up being able to say, you spent X pounds with us, you get X pounds back, is that still something a lot of people are striving and pushing for?
- We have a few agencies that are reporting both of those things, how much they're spending and how much they're getting back, most Hubspot partners that we talk to, specially the gold and above partners, are pretty good about showing the amount of revenue, or at least the amount of sales qualified leads that are being generated, so I think Hubspot makes it extremely simple to do that, I don't see a lot of other agencies doing ROI calculations about every six months or 12 months, it's not an area where we focus, I think most clients especially with inbound marketing, they're spending a set amount per month, and therefore it's pretty easy to have in your head, how many new deals do I need, to justify that, so usually it's more about trying to capture the ROI, and just showing the result in terms of revenue, but I see a lot of Hubspot partners getting there, I don't see a lot of other agencies getting there, we have a little over a hundred agencies, probably 80 or 90% of them are Hubspot partners, the ones that aren't Hubspot partners rarely get to that revenue mark.
- I mean something we've been thinking about while we've been going through the on boarding process with Databox, is what metrics do we need to report, what's useless data, so good example of something that we have dropped over the years is keyword rankings, and getting really granular with clients on your ranking number three, four, that vanity keyword that you're really bothered about, is that just us who is dropping that, or is that a marketing wide thing, is there anything else people are starting to look at and think that's a pretty vain or useless metric, let's stop reporting that.
- No man, I still love keyword rankings, I don't think it's too useless, I think to aggregate my search traffic is more important, but at the end of the day people are still typing search terms into Google, of course it's longer search terms now, and less of a ranking from one keyword phrase than it is for a group of keyword phrases, but I still think that's important, we rolled out Databox to a lot of Hubspot partners, and the biggest request we got was for more SCO data, so we ended up building an integration for a Google search console, which is obviously free, so everybody should use that I think, and then we built SEM Rush, because the more sophisticated SCO firms wanted to use that, because that is more robust, also more confusing, and then we ended up building mods just because of the popularity of that, it's easier to use tools that a lot of agencies still use, maybe not as robust in terms of the dataset, but still just as popular, so we have those three implementations, they are gradually raising up to be are more popular, connectors as well, so I do think that's important, now there are a lot of agencies out there that only report that crap, and I think that's wrong, but I think once a client gets to a certain level, they have a certain amount of organic search traffic, there is massive opportunity to increase that via content optimization, link building, better on page SCO, better link structure, so I think actually most Hubspot partners undersell that, especially to clients that have good search traffic, I think it's a big opportunity there.
- Yes so, we don't report rankings to clients, because like you say the way content is going, it's a lot of longtail keywords now, and it's actually quite difficult to report that, I think you definitely hit the nail on the head in terms of where keyword rankings are useful, of you have got a high volume keyword, and it's hovering in position 11, 12, 13, and you know a little push, extra content, and extra few items on the list, could push it to page 1, I think that's definitely what the value in rankings is.
- Yeah for sure, I also track closely like the number of keywords that I have, in top three, and top 10, and top hundred positions, cos I know it's a longtail strategy, but the number of those that are in there, it has a big correlation to traffic, as a CEO it's something I can look at, that tells me that things are moving in the right direction for the assets we are putting in there, without digging into every detail to see what keyword is it, I don't care about what keyword it is, I just care that it's growing over time, and I think that's good, looking at the number of keywords in there, from SEM Rush, is a good way to look at it.
- Yeah definitely, that's something we look at, it a good trend indicator of how your SCO is doing, I really like that, the challenge we had with keywords is, at the end of the day when you reporting as an agency, it is literally a 15 page long list of words, I know from experience that no one reads them, over our time no one has read them, we went the way that you just suggested, in terms of condensing them down to number of expositions, three, 10, second page, et cetera, it's much more digestible, particularly for CEOs, and MDs, business owners, we find that works.
- That makes sense, and do you use that data to make a decision on your editorial strategy for the month?
- Yeah exactly, compared to what were limited to before, I guess the main thing we look at is what's, what's hovering in the opportunity bracket, which is I guess eighth position, to kind of 20, 25, it's got decent volume that we can put back into the editorial calendar, we can either push more internal links to it, we can either make the piece better, expand the piece, that's a big part of the strategy, and then as you say, literally just refreshing it, getting the last modified date changed, doing all that stuff can actually have an impact and get it back up the rankings.
- And other question for you Pete, while we're on this topic, since we've been on the on boarding process with Databox, we had a meeting the other day about how many data boards should we use, how many KPI boards, we have 20 clients we're going to roll this out on to start with, plus ourselves, do we have a smart KPI board, or do we have 20, what's your advice?
- What I've seen most Hubspot partners do, is that they have four or five data boards per client, so the first one is usually the full frontal, so you can even use the following analysis of a bunch of templates in the directory that you can use to show this, where you start with traffic leads, follow up all those deals, all the way to revenue, then you might show some of those high-level metrics in a funnel view, so you can see how much is the volume going through and what the conversion rates are, and then maybe have the same data board graph, for just traffic, Just leads, you can see how it's trending over the month, a little more granular day by day situation, and then plot goals against it, I think that first one goes out to everyone at the client side, including the CEO, or maybe he doesn't really know marketing very well, then what most agencies do is they have four more that cover the Inbound methodology, so they'll be one for attract, one for convert, one for a close, they might have two for attracting depending what the mix of services are, or two for convert, or two for close, if doing some sales enablement services, and so that first one on the attract, you might have your blog stuff, it might have SCO staff, and it might be a deeper dive into the traffic sources, the second one is more like where are our leads coming from, so which traffic source is driving the most leads, if you have a traffic source that has a lot of leads, you might look on Hubspot sources graph allows, where you'd say show me the referrals that are driving the most leads, or show me the payperclick campaigns that are driving the most leads, if you're running payperclick, for clients, you might have a board just for that, just for Facebook ads, or adwords, and so it really depends on the mix of services, usually most agencies do is they start out with four or five for every client, most of the data is coming from Hubspot, maybe a few from social or ad campaigns, and then they have auxiliary boards they plug-in, for different services they are offering, imagine you're offering Facebook ads for a certain portion of your clients, they would want and maybe need an adboard, so that's how most ad agencies run it, they have a base level that everybody gets, and then they have a bunch of auxiliary ones they use, depending on the service.
- We quite like that approach, one of the challenges over the years is we kind of thought people just want this one sheet, or one screen view, but actually getting a really meaningful one sheet in terms of everything, it either reads terribly because it's tiny, or it doesn't give any insights, so we have over the years tried to split our reporting to 2 or three pages, and then when we're talking to are on boarding guys, just putting it as simply as an attract, convert, close board, just seem to make a lot of sense to us, and I think no matter how you inbound, where you're getting your data from, how you're trying to report it, I think if you can report in those three situations, I think you'll do yourself a lot of favours and be able to show value pretty well.
- One of the things I was also surprised to see, when we started selling this to agencies, especially Hubspot partners, a lot of times they were overwhelming their clients with too much data, so I think it really is important to tailor the reporting to the audience, if you're working with a business doing less than a $5 million turnover or something, you're probably talking to the CEO sales lead, and maybe they have one marketer, or two, those marketers are spread out across so many activities, and therefore when you get two in the weeds, everybody in that company is just gonna start to tune it out, and when you overwhelm them they just start to become blind to all, so actually it's really important, to start simple, and then build from there, but not too simple, if you're too simple then you're not showing the impact of your work, if you only give them that high-level dashboard that shows them traffic leads and sales for example, they're not going to know that this blog post performed really well, you know the one on how to land the waitress job, I think it's important to celebrate those victories, so that there is excitement and they're brought in, and inspired to participate with you in that content creation, and editorial planning process, and so I think there's a balance there, one of the things that have agencies have been doing to kind of inspire their clients, is using our Alerts feature, internally we call them Bragg alerts, I probably shouldn't be giving this away, since some of your clients are probably paying attention, but you can set up thresholds when a certain number goes over a certain threshold, a raw number, like over a hundred, over 1000, or goes over a certain percentage from the previous period, like 10%, or 20% more than the week or the month before, you can set these up, and you can send them automatically through the Databox mobile app to your client, or you can send them an email to your client, or if you have Slack, you can send it straight into a Slack channel, I think it's important to celebrate those victories along the way, and so is instead of spending, creating this 30 PowerPoint slide deck, where the victories get buried, are already over, you celebrate them as they're happening in real-time, and that, I think creates more excitement and momentum between the agency and the client, it creates better input into the marketing, because the client is more engaged along the way, not just at that monthly review meeting.
- Yeah that's also a pretty good challenge of a marketer, you've got to show you're doing a good job, and celebrate the wins, because a lot of marketing people are quite introvert, and they're not very keen on bragging, or telling people how good they are, I feel more comfortable the system telling me that I've been good, or telling my client we've done a good job, it's a good way to do it, I really like that, and I think for any marketer, if you can hide behind some alerts, and tell your boss you're doing a good job, it definitely solves two problems.
- Yeah I think it's also good internally in an agency, say you have a handful of managers, a bunch of people doing the work, it's hard to see those wins, so having those alerts go to the director of accounts, are the owners of the firm, allows you to build a nice culture of there, where you can recognise when people are doing a good job, is one of the things I think, we always do well inside Hubspot, celebrate the victories, and it gets everybody excited to do more, so I love that feature. - Thank you Pete, we probably got another five minutes left, any success stories, with your current clients at the minute, any real valuable experience you've had in their marketing due to Databox?
- We have a case study coming out with Hubspot, Hubspot actually authored the case study, that will be coming out soon, it's all about using real-time data alerts allows marketers to be more agile, I would rather take the time to share a tactic that we've been using, with our partners, that I think can be applied by any marketer, I love the Inbound marketing methodology, but what I've discovered with Inbound and talking to a lot of people, if you just do the standard marketing methodology, it doesn't have an immediate impact usually, for companies getting going, and it's slow, there's a lot of people out there blogging, that a lot of people creating e-books, and doing webinars, and so I find that marketers need to be a little bit more creative, so one of the things that we have been doing a lot of, is co marketing with surveys, and it's going really well, and I'm encouraging other people to do this, I think it's a great way to go after a target market, and also engage them in a dialogue, and get them involved in your marketing all at the same time, so what we do is we put together the short form surveys, using Surveymonkey, we integrated with Hubspot, so all the answers go right into the Hubspot contact record, and we'll come up with short form survey questions, usually one open-ended question, where the respondent has to answer with a paragraph, maybe one or two closed ended multiple-choice questions, then we'll take the answers the people that filled it out know we're going to use their answers publicly, then we take their answers and we actually create articles out of it, so we just did one, on the favourite tool that agencies use, I think we have 17 tools that we highlighted in there, we have one that were working on right now, Hubspot customers favourite products integrated with Hubspot, things like Surveymonkey and Seventh Sense, and at Databox of course, so these articles kind of write themselves, it helps us engage in our community, and since were highlighting answers from the respondents and linking to them they have a motivation to show them on social, and we're really trying to create a collaborative content marketing strategy, so I think that's just one example of something were doing that I think is creative, that is getting good results for us, we have three extra traffic in seven months, with five extra revenue we get from that traffic in that same time period, and it's because were taking a very collaborative approach to marketing, and so I would highly encourage, especially if you're using Hubspot, to experiment with Surveymonkey, to source content, or source quotes for content, and kind of build that into your content strategy, hopefully that's applicable to everybody you're talking to, we're talking to know during the podcast, I think it's important that marketers get a little more creative, not just the content, but the strategies for creating and promoting it as well.
- Definitely, it's such a simple but effective tool, I don't know how we ended up here, but maybe three months or so ago I did fill in one of those surveys, and ended up in one of your blog posts, I think it was something about a Hubspot feature I love, or something like that, I can't remember the exact subject, but it's kind of proof that I filled one of those in three months ago, and now I'm sat here as a customer.
- The article is now 22 Hubspot features, most loved Hubspot features or something like that, if you Google Hubspot features we're on the first page, thank you for the answer, I think it's a clever prospecting tool, it's not like our main purposes is in prospecting, but it does allow us to reach out to very targeted group of people, who we want to talk to, and kind of get them engaged in creating something together, as opposed to if we approached you and said we have the coolest new reporting tool for Hubspot partners, Hubspot customers, you'd be like, you're the fifth person who said that to me this week, so I think in general sales people need to get more collaborative, get more involved in content creation, before I left Hubspot I spent a year actually writing for a sales blog, I have a post I wrote up there called, I think it's 18 email prospecting templates guaranteed to initiate a relationship, I actually listed the survey approach as one of them, that article continues to get shared on Twitter like three times a day, I think there is definitely some room for innovation between marketing and sales, especially in the demand generation and the content creation side.
- I love that, I think that's gone down on our to-do list Pete, so we are going to give that a go, yeah definitely, and will let everyone know how it goes, and shares some results from it.
- Yeah thank you so much Pete, we're really looking forward to working with you and your team going forward, we're excited to take this one off our list, KPI reporting has been a bit of a challenge for us over the years, so again thanks for your time, and where can people reach out to you, where can they find you and your company?
- First of all thank you Mark, appreciate the opportunity to talk to you guys, it's been fun, thanks for letting me wax poetic on marketing and data, and reporting, I'm a pretty reachable guy, I love Twitter, my handle on their is PC and the number four, media, PC4media, all one word, I've got Twitter, my Gmail address is the same if you want to email me there, PC4media@Gmail, or Pete@Databox.com, I'm on LinkedIn, but I spend more of my time on Twitter, so that's the best way to reach us, if somebody is interested in trying Databox, we have a very generous free plan, a lot of Hubspot customers use our free plan, and it actually helps them manage their internal reporting, so I would encourage people to check that out.
- Awesome, yeah it's been fantastic speaking to you, I really enjoyed it, and looking forward to getting stuck in.
- Thanks again Pete, and we'll put all the links in the show notes for our viewers and watchers as well, so have a great day, enjoy the rest of your beer.
- Yeah, enjoy that.
- And will speak to you again soon.
- Thank you Richard I appreciated it.
- Thanks Pete.
- Thanks Pete. Take care.
- Bye. You too, bye.