Who's That Gal: Laura Fitton of Hubspot

HubSpot...admit you have 1 (fine, maybe 2) degree(s) of separation from the company.  After all, it is one of the most popular workplaces in the city.  At the beacon of it all is Laura Fitton, Evangelist of Inbound Marketing.  Laura is one of our panelists tonight at Ladies Lounge, make sure you're there to hear her genius in person!


Name: Laura Fitton

Age: 43

Hometown: Glastonbury, CT

Current ‘hood: Greater Boston


Likely a common question, but why the handle name @Pistachio?

Pistachio Consulting was my “made up” business name from 1997-2001 and my actual business name from then til 2012. So when I signed up for Twitter in April 2007 it made sense to go with a company name vs revealing my name, gender and location. I know that’s totally AOL mentality, and pretty ironic given how public I later became.

The company name came from the weird Friendly’s pistachio ice cream green paint that i used to convert the attic of my boyfriend’s house into a home office. It was grandma’s favorite flavor, so when I filled out an application for a documentary video project I was working on, I filled it ut as “Pistachio Studios.”

Tell us about your professional title, Inbound Marketing Evangelist!

In nearly 4 years at HubSpot the specifics of my role have changed a bunch of times, but my title never has. Whether you ever use our software to manage it, or whether you do all the work of threading together a bunch of different tools, our message to the world is that businesses should absolutely be shifting their marketing efforts to inbound. It’s better for customers and prospects, it’s better for business, and it’s not the old icky invasive marketing that people hate. We want companies to create useful, valuable, inbound marketing that people love.

My specific role these days is threefold: influencer relations, public speaking, and speaker scouting for our events. As influencer relations, it’s my job to make sure we have an ear on the work of top marketing and sales authors and experts, and that when we do reach out to them to get involved with our projects, we do so in a productive and mutually-beneficial way. On top of that I get to speak at and attend a bunch of awesome events, both to spread the word about inbound marketing and to bring in the best possible talent for our annual event INBOUND. (Sept 8-11 right here in Boston! http://inbound.com)

In one of your Hubspot presentations, you strongly stated that social networking is not a fad.  Could you elaborate on why you think so?

Well, we’re at least 8 years in depending on how you count, so that would be one hell of a fad. The way we share media online has almost completely reshaped how media are made in the first place, across all platforms. Not all of the changes have been good, of course, but the integration between what we once called “mainstream media” and what we still call “social media” is pretty complete. I would not be surprised if soon we just call it all “media.”

What else do you consider a “marketing fantasy?”

That no matter how much they love your company, people want to be on your generic, one size fits all email list. Like, ever. Part of the “truth and light” aspect of inbound marketing is to keep any emails super relevant and targeted. I download Yale Appliance’s Professional Stove Buyer’s guide and in the next two weeks I get just two emails with extremely relevant info on the exact questions I had as a buyer.

You were very early (2007) in realizing the power of Twitter, mainly for business.  How do you think you were able to forecast this? Any potentially big tools on the horizon now?

I saw it because I was experiencing it firsthand. I was meeting potential customers, collaborators and vendors left and right. I was this homebound mom of two kids under two and was building this insane professional network in the tech community.

What was it like to lecture at the some of the world’s top business schools, MIT Sloan and HBS?

Scary as shit. I was so nervous the day I spoke at HBS in April 2009 thinking all these brainiacs were going to throw the intellectual equivalent of rotten tomatoes at my assertions that Twitter was becoming a serious business tool. MIT was only slightly less daunting. By then I was CEO of a tech startup, so I had that going for me, but I wasn’t sure how to teach business students about sales, as the professor had originally asked. So I just told them what was working for me and oneforty.com

How do you structure your talks with students vs. established professionals?

I really miss speaking for students - always enjoyed that but scheduling doesn’t really allow it anymore. For any audience I try to think about the topic from their point of view, to make it relevant and to make it come to life.

In what ways are women so crucial to the tech world?

We’re not crucial so much as we’re an advantage. There’s great data showing women led businesses perform better. It’s pretty dumb that we’re still calling it a “women in business” issue when truly it’s a business issue. Arguably, an economic issue. Do we want companies to perform better? Yes? Well then lets get going on the stuff that makes that happen.

How can gals get more involved in tech?

Find the stuff you’re most passionate about, and then see what tech does or does not do in that field from a business perspective. Tech isn’t some monolith of programming-only opportunities. I went from speaker coach to tech CEO in a matter of just a couple years. I didn’t ask anyone’s permission to get into tech.

We love to support philanthropic women!  Tell us about your fantastic charity work, @wellwishes.

By now the charity:water story has spread far and wide, but when I first got involved it was still a pretty obscure thing. That first Christmas/Birthday after my marriage ended were super painful. I was sad and scared and lonely. I had also been horrified to learn how many young kids die everyday because of a simple lack of clean water. So @Wellwishes gave me something to pour my heart into that holiday season. I figured we could raise money and awareness on Twitter, and there was a tool that let people Tweet in $2 pledges. So we ran with it and raised $25k, including donations from the founders of Twitter, Zappos, and others. It helped put charity:water on the map, and was immediately followed by the global Twestival support that raised $250k.


Fun questions:

Tea or coffee?  Coffee

Favorite Boston restaurant?  Steel & Rye

Favorite Boston watering hole?  I love the cocktails at Art Bar and you can’t beat sitting by the Charles after work in the summer.

Favorite breed of dog?  Komondor. They get these crazy white dreadlocks and look like a mop. We have a 12 month old puppy and he’s a handful but we love him.