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How to Create Content Marketing Personas



How to Create Content Marketing Personas

Updated October 12, 2022

Good marketers know how to sell a brand. But to be a great marketer, you must know the people you’re trying to sell it to.

Creating (and documenting) clear, robust marketing personas is an effective and time-tested approach to reaching that goal.

Ardath Albee defines a persona as a composite sketch of a target market based on validated commonalities – not assumptions – that informs content strategy to drive productive buyer engagement (i.e., revenue).

But remember: The digital landscape evolves. Ongoing changes affect your audience’s needs and priorities, as well as their content consumption habits and engagement preferences.


That makes it important for content marketers to base their content decisions on clear, accurate, and regularly updated personas.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Personas are filled with critical audience insights. They are developed through detailed customer research, direct conversations, and thoughtful analysis of relevant trends and opportunities. They reflect your customers’ genuine interests and intentions, which fuel resonant, relatable brand stories.
  • They help creative teams convey the voice of the customer. Without personas, you can only assume what content your audience wants. That can lead to content on topics your brand knows best (your products and company) but little focus on what the audience wants to know.
  • They help unify strategic approaches, priorities, and creative processes. By sharing with other teams that use content (like sales, PR, and product management), your personas function as a single source of audience truth. That makes it easier for each team leader to set topic priorities and align messaging across multiple customer touchpoints.
  • They are essential for audience segmentation and content personalization. By aggregating your persona insights with data gathered from your content analytics, you get a fuller picture of your audience. That enables you to precisely target them and customize your content for deeper resonance.

A persona helps unify a brand’s strategic approaches, priorities, and creative processes, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

With these benefits (and others) in mind, I’ve collected expert advice to help you prepare, build, and apply personas efficiently while making them as effective as possible.

Collect accurate customer data

Before creating a persona, you need to access and collect data on your audience’s needs, interests, and preferences. You also need to identify where they are in the buyer’s journey and their role in the buying decision.

You’ll find some of that information by analyzing your performance data. You can try other approaches, too. Some of these can surface deeper contextual and emotional information unavailable from any database.

Consult with your sales team

When gathering audience insights, Ardath says the first steps involve your salespeople and CRM data.


“These team members are on the front lines of customer interactions, so chances are they have plenty of information they can share,” she says. Consulting with sales also helps you align the personas with the people with whom they most want to connect.

Interview your support staff

As Kane Jamison points out, your customer support team also knows a great deal about why buyers (and prospects) contact your company.

A quick conversation with this team can give you a different view of the real-life struggles encountered by prospects and customers and spark new ideas for content to address them.

Ask questions of your customer support team to better understand your audience, says @KaneJamison via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Interview customers

Nothing beats the ability to get information directly from customers. Through one-on-one interviews, consumers can provide more detail on their content needs and preferences than anonymized data or standardized forms can’t provide.

One-on-one customer interviews provide detail on their #content needs and preferences that anonymized data never could, says @joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet


Do external research

While it’s important to consult your internal resources and directly engage with customers, the data gathered through these methods can often be subjective, situational, or colored by interview bias.

To enhance and validate your initial findings, it helps to do external research into publicly available information sources. LinkedIn profiles, industry blogs, and social media profiles of industry influencers aren’t likely to be influenced by your business agenda.

Leverage progressive profiling

This technique uses automation tools, smart lead forms, and directed questioning to gather audience insights that grow more detailed over time.

That information can be used to confirm the accuracy of your initial characterization and deepen your understanding of your persona’s content needs.

Go deeper than demographics

Generating demographic and behavioral insights through these methods provides a baseline understanding of your target customer and how they make decisions. Yet, these data points fall short of revealing emotions that also factor into those decisions.

To dig deeper into those critical purchase drivers, Paul Longhenry suggests augmenting your acquired insights with psychological personality profiling.


Use psychological personality profiling to reveal the emotions involved in the buying process says @PaulLonghenry via @joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Paul describes a profiling method used in academia called the OCEAN model (originally developed by psychologists Robert McCrae and Paul Costa). By polling a focus group and scoring their responses, you can paint a more nuanced picture of where your audience fits within the five key personality traits outlined by the psychologists:

  • Openness– how open one is to new experiences versus a preference for familiarity
  • Conscientiousness – how controlled or measured someone is in contrast to their spontaneity
  • Extraversion – how much one enjoys the company of others as opposed to alone time
  • Agreeableness – how much one values cooperation and harmony versus independence
  • Neuroticism – how anxious or emotional one is as opposed to being stable

You can use the resulting scores to analyze, understand, and even predict how your personas will respond to the content you create to target them.

“The further a score is from the population median, the more distinguishing that factor is – and the more you should pay attention to it when creating (or personalizing) content for that target persona,” Paul says.

In Paul’s discussion, he shared a rose chart adapted from the work of McCrae and Costa that expresses the personality of a focus group. The size of each wedge (or “petal”) visualizes the relative importance of each of the five factors (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) to the group’s personality profile. This group in this chart is more open and extroverted than the average – an insight that can inform the content you create to target that persona.

1665642903 913 How to Create Content Marketing Personas

Gauge sentiment from relevant social conversations

Social listening tools are improving at assessing consumers’ emotional states to contextualize their social chatter. John Hall notes how modern text analysis software can give an overview of the language used in those social conversations and the likely sentiment behind those words.

Building your customer personas

Persona development is a customized process because it’s meant to help your team address its unique marketing challenges and opportunities. However, the following framework can help you get started on the right track:


Step 1: Envision your ideal customer

Pick the person your content efforts are likely to help most. Give a name to that persona and detail their characteristics most critical to your business. Answer these questions to create a strong foundation for the persona:

  • Who is this person? What demographic and psychographic characteristics describe them?
  • What’s their job title and function?
  • What kind of company/industry does she work in?
  • How long have they been serving in this capacity within the organization?
  • What experience/expertise do they bring to this role?
  • How does their job relate to the job of others in their department and other departments in her organization?

Step 2: Consider the objectives, responsibilities, and obstacles this person might regularly encounter in their role

For example:

  • What goals do they need to accomplish in their job?
  • What challenges frustrate them most about their job?
  • What gaps might they look to fill? What problems would they need to solve to alleviate some frustration?
  • What might keep them from addressing those gaps and problems?

Step 3: Characterize their role in relation to your business’ buying cycle

Not all your customer targets will be sole decision-makers – especially if you’re marketing a B2B brand or big-ticket family purchases like homes and cars.

Use these questions to reveal important clues about where your persona fits in the purchase process and whom else they may need to consult before buying:

  • How influential are they in the decision-making process? Where might pushback come from?
  • Who else might influence their decisions (internal and external)?
  • Do they need others to sign off on decisions?
  • How far along are they in the buyer’s journey?
  • What questions are they likely to ask to satisfy their criteria for making a purchase?
  • What obstacles might stand in their way as they look to satisfy those criteria?
  • What words are they likely to use to search for the answers they need to push forward?

Step 4: Detail their personal communication preferences

Your persona should include functional insights related to their job. It should contain details related to their engagement behaviors and content preferences, including topics, content platforms, formats, and social channels. For example:

  • How do they typically access content?
    • Do they gravitate toward certain formats?
    • Do they prefer accessing content online, via a mobile device, or on other channels/platforms?
    • Do they get most of their information during work hours or at home?
  • How much information might they want to receive, and how often?
    • How often are they exposed to relevant content/information as they go about a typical day?
    • How often do they log on to social networks? Which ones?
    • Have they shown a preference for weekly vs. daily newsletters or updates?
  • Who/what influences their content consumption?
    • Whose advice do they trust or seek most when engaging with content (e.g., industry analysts, vendors, thought leaders, friends, colleagues)?
    • Do internal or external events trigger variations in their content consumption pattern?

Answers to questions like these can help you identify potential content ideas most likely to catch the persona’s attention or move them closer to making a purchase.

Take a shortcut

While the process outlined above is thorough, it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of data. Aaron Agius offers a hack to build multiple personas more quickly. It boils the process down to three questions:

  • What is the first thing my customer thinks about in the morning?
  • What is the last thing my customer thinks about at night?
  • Why?

The answers keep you focused on identifying the pain points of a typical customer – a critical insight for content planning. However, Aaron points out that this approach works best when your target consumer considers addressing those pain points a top priority.

An audience-first alternative

Robert Rose shares a content-centric persona development process. It opens a broader set of opportunities for content marketing stories and can cover the entirety of the audience’s journey.

Based on the jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) theory, Robert’s approach prioritizes one goal above all else: Building a scalable, addressable, trusted audience. It has five steps:

1. Define your target


Research, define, and quantify your total addressable audience – the number of people who may be interested in receiving your content, not just those who might ultimately make a purchase.

2. Discover the “so I can”

In your audience research and interviews, listen for statements illuminating your audience’s functional tasks and goals and the social and emotional contexts surrounding them.

Here’s an example: When I’m working, I don’t need more marketing software; I need tools so I can have peace of mind and spend more time on my business.

3. Decide on a niche focus

Pull the levers for the size of those “jobs” rather than the size of the audience to determine a relevant focus for your content.


Joe Pulizzi refers to this as the sweet spot – an area where your brand’s skills and expertise intersect with a passion point of your audience. For example, can you derive more marketing value from solving small, niche jobs for a huge audience or huge jobs for a smaller, niche audience?

4. Differentiate your content approach

Next, prioritize the jobs to be done by those you can approach in a uniquely valuable way. If you don’t have a new perspective or distinct expertise on solving a particular job, the content won’t stand out enough to attract your target audience.

5. Document your insights as a map of success

Create success statements. These summaries identify how your brand can provide value. Map the summary of each step the audience takes to solve that job.

Following Robert’s recommended process will give you all the information you need for a documented audience persona profile. It characterizes the job to be done, why the persona wants it to be done, and what success looks like when it’s accomplished.


For example, a persona for a small business law practice might have this success statement: “Minimize the time I spend working in Excel instead of reading up on new legal trends.”

Broken into informative elements, the structure for the success statement looks like this: Minimize (value action) the time I spend (metric) working in Excel (job action) instead of reading up on new legal trends (contextual/social clarification).

Value Action | Metric | Job Action | Contextual/Social Clarification

1665642903 525 How to Create Content Marketing Personas

Robert suggests rolling up the success statements into a broader success statement representing that persona’s overall success. Separate the profile attributes into three categories. Here’s how it reads for Ellen – the ambitious entrepe-lawyer:

  • When I … work all day in the practice and have to work at night to attend networking events to get new business …
  • I want to … find ways to hack or shortcut the tasks. Automate things. Discover ways to get around things like marketing, accounting, and sales.
  • So I can … create the most forward-leading firm, practice law instead of managing Excel, and enjoy my real job instead of marketing.

Then create the larger success statement: “This is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve got to get out of the business of chasing clients for money, marketing, and sales, so I can create the law firm of the future. I’ve got to start doing my real job more than 20% per day.”

1665642903 53 How to Create Content Marketing Personas

Activate your personas across the enterprise

You may take these additional steps to ensure your brand benefits from the same deep understanding of your personas.

Share them with other departments

While developing personas is primarily a marketing exercise, make sure to document and share this information with other teams that create or use content.


Remember, in the age of social media, anyone in your organization could be engaging with potential prospects and customers, so it’s useful for everyone in your organization to work from the same information.

It’s also helpful to share your personas with your sales team and any new hires in your company. This can help them acquaint themselves with your customers and prospects more deeply.

TIP: Create two versions of the same persona – a detailed version for content creators and marketers and a shorter version for the rest of the organization.

Update them regularly

Once you build the core personas, you’ll likely refer to them often for years to come. Problems arise, though, when you rely on the information long after it’s lost relevance.

Revisit your personas regularly to update them. Then, they will stay aligned with your current content marketing strategy and reflect on any new opportunities or emerging challenges.

Your content can’t help an audience you don’t understand

Content marketing works best when you understand – and write specifically for – your audience.


Meticulously crafted buyer personas can help you identify their interests and motivations, communicate with them on their terms, and keep them top of mind throughout every step of your content marketing process.

Do you have additional tips for developing and working with buyer personas? We would love for you to share them in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C



Ecommerce evolution: Blurring the lines between B2B and B2C

Understanding convergence 

B2B and B2C ecommerce are two distinct models of online selling. B2B ecommerce is between businesses, such as wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers. B2C ecommerce refers to transactions between businesses like retailers and consumer brands, directly to individual shoppers. 

However, in recent years, the boundaries between these two models have started to fade. This is known as the convergence between B2B and B2C ecommerce and how they are becoming more similar and integrated. 

Source: White Paper: The evolution of the B2B Consumer Buyer (ClientPoint, Jan 2024)


What’s driving this change? 

Ever increasing customer expectations  

Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels.

Forrester, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own, online . Customers today expect the same level of convenience, speed, and personalization in their B2B transactions as they do in their B2C interactions. B2B buyers are increasingly influenced by their B2C experiences. They want research, compare, and purchase products online, seamlessly transitioning between devices and channels.  They also prefer to research and purchase online, using multiple devices and channels

Technology and omnichannel strategies

Technology enables B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms to offer more features and functionalities, such as mobile optimization, chatbots, AI, and augmented reality. Omnichannel strategies allow B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to provide a seamless and consistent customer experience across different touchpoints, such as websites, social media, email, and physical stores. 

However, with every great leap forward comes its own set of challenges. The convergence of B2B and B2C markets means increased competition.  Businesses now not only have to compete with their traditional rivals, but also with new entrants and disruptors from different sectors. For example, Amazon Business, a B2B ecommerce platform, has become a major threat to many B2B ecommerce businesses, as it offers a wide range of products, low prices, and fast delivery

“Amazon Business has proven that B2B ecommerce can leverage popular B2C-like functionality” argues Joe Albrecht, CEO / Managing Partner, Xngage. . With features like Subscribe-and-Save (auto-replenishment), one-click buying, and curated assortments by job role or work location, they make it easy for B2B buyers to go to their website and never leave. Plus, with exceptional customer service and promotional incentives like Amazon Business Prime Days, they have created a reinforcing loyalty loop.

And yet, according to Barron’s, Amazon Business is only expected to capture 1.5% of the $5.7 Trillion addressable business market by 2025. If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can compete and win in this fragmented space, too.” 


If other B2B companies can truly become digital-first organizations, they can also compete and win in this fragmented space

Joe Albrecht
CEO/Managing Partner, XNGAGE

Increasing complexity 

Another challenge is the increased complexity and cost of managing a converging ecommerce business. Businesses have to deal with different customer segments, requirements, and expectations, which may require different strategies, processes, and systems. For instance, B2B ecommerce businesses may have to handle more complex transactions, such as bulk orders, contract negotiations, and invoicing, while B2C ecommerce businesses may have to handle more customer service, returns, and loyalty programs. Moreover, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses must invest in technology and infrastructure to support their convergence efforts, which may increase their operational and maintenance costs. 

How to win

Here are a few ways companies can get ahead of the game:

Adopt B2C-like features in B2B platforms

User-friendly design, easy navigation, product reviews, personalization, recommendations, and ratings can help B2B ecommerce businesses to attract and retain more customers, as well as to increase their conversion and retention rates.  

According to McKinsey, ecommerce businesses that offer B2C-like features like personalization can increase their revenues by 15% and reduce their costs by 20%. You can do this through personalization of your website with tools like Product Recommendations that help suggest related products to increase sales. 


Focus on personalization and customer experience

B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to understand their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, and tailor their offerings and interactions accordingly. Personalization and customer experience can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, as well as to improve their brand reputation and competitive advantage. According to a Salesforce report, 88% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.

Related: Redefining personalization for B2B commerce

Market based on customer insights

Data and analytics can help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to gain insights into their customers, markets, competitors, and performance, and to optimize their strategies and operations accordingly. Data and analytics can also help B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to identify new opportunities, trends, and innovations, and to anticipate and respond to customer needs and expectations. According to McKinsey, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain customers, and 19 times more likely to be profitable. 

What’s next? 

The convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce is not a temporary phenomenon, but a long-term trend that will continue to shape the future of ecommerce. According to Statista, the global B2B ecommerce market is expected to reach $20.9 trillion by 2027, surpassing the B2C ecommerce market, which is expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2027. Moreover, the report predicts that the convergence of B2B and B2C ecommerce will create new business models, such as B2B2C, B2A (business to anyone), and C2B (consumer to business). 

Therefore, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses need to prepare for the converging ecommerce landscape and take advantage of the opportunities and challenges it presents. Here are some recommendations for B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses to navigate the converging landscape: 

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of your customers, competitors, and market, and identify the gaps and opportunities for convergence. 
  • Develop a clear vision and strategy for convergence, and align your goals, objectives, and metrics with it. 
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure that can support your convergence efforts, such as cloud, mobile, AI, and omnichannel platforms. 
  • Implement B2C-like features in your B2B platforms, and vice versa, to enhance your customer experience and satisfaction.
  • Personalize your offerings and interactions with your customers, and provide them with relevant and valuable content and solutions.
  • Leverage data and analytics to optimize your performance and decision making, and to innovate and differentiate your business.
  • Collaborate and partner with other B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses, as well as with other stakeholders, such as suppliers, distributors, and customers, to create value and synergy.
  • Monitor and evaluate your convergence efforts, and adapt and improve them as needed. 

By following these recommendations, B2B and B2C ecommerce businesses can bridge the gap between their models and create a more integrated and seamless ecommerce experience for their customers and themselves. 


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Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results



Streamlining Processes for Increased Efficiency and Results

How can businesses succeed nowadays when technology rules?  With competition getting tougher and customers changing their preferences often, it’s a challenge. But using marketing automation can help make things easier and get better results. And in the future, it’s going to be even more important for all kinds of businesses.

So, let’s discuss how businesses can leverage marketing automation to stay ahead and thrive.

Benefits of automation marketing automation to boost your efforts

First, let’s explore the benefits of marketing automation to supercharge your efforts:

 Marketing automation simplifies repetitive tasks, saving time and effort.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. For instance, automation not only streamlines tasks like email campaigns but also optimizes website speed, ensuring a seamless user experience. A faster website not only enhances customer satisfaction but also positively impacts search engine rankings, driving more organic traffic and ultimately boosting conversions.


Automation allows for precise targeting, reaching the right audience with personalized messages.

With automated workflows, processes become more efficient, leading to better productivity. A great example of automated workflow is Pipedrive & WhatsApp Integration in which an automated welcome message pops up on their WhatsApp

within seconds once a potential customer expresses interest in your business.

Increases ROI

By optimizing campaigns and reducing manual labor, automation can significantly improve return on investment.

Leveraging automation enables businesses to scale their marketing efforts effectively, driving growth and success. Additionally, incorporating lead scoring into automated marketing processes can streamline the identification of high-potential prospects, further optimizing resource allocation and maximizing conversion rates.

Harnessing the power of marketing automation can revolutionize your marketing strategy, leading to increased efficiency, higher returns, and sustainable growth in today’s competitive market. So, why wait? Start automating your marketing efforts today and propel your business to new heights, moreover if you have just learned ways on how to create an online business


How marketing automation can simplify operations and increase efficiency

Understanding the Change

Marketing automation has evolved significantly over time, from basic email marketing campaigns to sophisticated platforms that can manage entire marketing strategies. This progress has been fueled by advances in technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, making automation smarter and more adaptable.

One of the main reasons for this shift is the vast amount of data available to marketers today. From understanding customer demographics to analyzing behavior, the sheer volume of data is staggering. Marketing automation platforms use this data to create highly personalized and targeted campaigns, allowing businesses to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

The Emergence of AI-Powered Automation

In the future, AI-powered automation will play an even bigger role in marketing strategies. AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data in real-time, helping marketers identify trends, predict consumer behavior, and optimize campaigns as they go. This agility and responsiveness are crucial in today’s fast-moving digital world, where opportunities come and go in the blink of an eye. For example, we’re witnessing the rise of AI-based tools from AI website builders, to AI logo generators and even more, showing that we’re competing with time and efficiency.

Combining AI-powered automation with WordPress management services streamlines marketing efforts, enabling quick adaptation to changing trends and efficient management of online presence.

Moreover, AI can take care of routine tasks like content creation, scheduling, and testing, giving marketers more time to focus on strategic activities. By automating these repetitive tasks, businesses can work more efficiently, leading to better outcomes. AI can create social media ads tailored to specific demographics and preferences, ensuring that the content resonates with the target audience. With the help of an AI ad maker tool, businesses can efficiently produce high-quality advertisements that drive engagement and conversions across various social media platforms.

Personalization on a Large Scale

Personalization has always been important in marketing, and automation is making it possible on a larger scale. By using AI and machine learning, marketers can create tailored experiences for each customer based on their preferences, behaviors, and past interactions with the brand.  


This level of personalization not only boosts customer satisfaction but also increases engagement and loyalty. When consumers feel understood and valued, they are more likely to become loyal customers and brand advocates. As automation technology continues to evolve, we can expect personalization to become even more advanced, enabling businesses to forge deeper connections with their audience.  As your company has tiny homes for sale California, personalized experiences will ensure each customer finds their perfect fit, fostering lasting connections.

Integration Across Channels

Another trend shaping the future of marketing automation is the integration of multiple channels into a cohesive strategy. Today’s consumers interact with brands across various touchpoints, from social media and email to websites and mobile apps. Marketing automation platforms that can seamlessly integrate these channels and deliver consistent messaging will have a competitive edge. When creating a comparison website it’s important to ensure that the platform effectively aggregates data from diverse sources and presents it in a user-friendly manner, empowering consumers to make informed decisions.

Omni-channel integration not only betters the customer experience but also provides marketers with a comprehensive view of the customer journey. By tracking interactions across channels, businesses can gain valuable insights into how consumers engage with their brand, allowing them to refine their marketing strategies for maximum impact. Lastly, integrating SEO services into omni-channel strategies boosts visibility and helps businesses better understand and engage with their customers across different platforms.

The Human Element

While automation offers many benefits, it’s crucial not to overlook the human aspect of marketing. Despite advances in AI and machine learning, there are still elements of marketing that require human creativity, empathy, and strategic thinking.

Successful marketing automation strikes a balance between technology and human expertise. By using automation to handle routine tasks and data analysis, marketers can focus on what they do best – storytelling, building relationships, and driving innovation.


The future of marketing automation looks promising, offering improved efficiency and results for businesses of all sizes.


As AI continues to advance and consumer expectations change, automation will play an increasingly vital role in keeping businesses competitive.

By embracing automation technologies, marketers can simplify processes, deliver more personalized experiences, and ultimately, achieve their business goals more effectively than ever before.

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Will Google Buy HubSpot? | Content Marketing Institute



Why Marketers Should Care About Google’s Potential HubSpot Acquisition

Google + HubSpot. Is it a thing?

This week, a flurry of news came down about Google’s consideration of purchasing HubSpot.

The prospect dismayed some. It delighted others.

But is it likely? Is it even possible? What would it mean for marketers? What does the consideration even mean for marketers?

Well, we asked CMI’s chief strategy advisor, Robert Rose, for his take. Watch this video or read on:


Why Alphabet may want HubSpot

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, apparently is contemplating the acquisition of inbound marketing giant HubSpot.

The potential price could be in the range of $30 billion to $40 billion. That would make Alphabet’s largest acquisition by far. The current deal holding that title happened in 2011 when it acquired Motorola Mobility for more than $12 billion. It later sold it to Lenovo for less than $3 billion.

If the HubSpot deal happens, it would not be in character with what the classic evil villain has been doing for the past 20 years.

At first glance, you might think the deal would make no sense. Why would Google want to spend three times as much as it’s ever spent to get into the inbound marketing — the CRM and marketing automation business?


At a second glance, it makes a ton of sense.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I and others at CMI spend a lot of time discussing privacy, owned media, and the deprecation of the third-party cookie. I just talked about it two weeks ago. It’s really happening.

All that oxygen being sucked out of the ad tech space presents a compelling case that Alphabet should diversify from third-party data and classic surveillance-based marketing.

Yes, this potential acquisition is about data. HubSpot would give Alphabet the keys to the kingdom of 205,000 business customers — and their customers’ data that almost certainly numbers in the tens of millions. Alphabet would also gain access to the content, marketing, and sales information those customers consumed.

Conversely, the deal would provide an immediate tip of the spear for HubSpot clients to create more targeted programs in the Alphabet ecosystem and upload their data to drive even more personalized experiences on their own properties and connect them to the Google Workspace infrastructure.

When you add in the idea of Gemini, you can start to see how Google might monetize its generative AI tool beyond figuring out how to use it on ads on search results pages.


What acquisition could mean for HubSpot customers

I may be stretching here but imagine this world. As a Hubspoogle customer, you can access an interface that prioritizes your owned media data (e.g., your website, your e-commerce catalog, blog) when Google’s Gemini answers a question).

Recent reports also say Google may put up a paywall around the new premium features of its artificial intelligence-powered Search Generative Experience. Imagine this as the new gating for marketing. In other words, users can subscribe to Google’s AI for free, but Hubspoogle customers can access that data and use it to create targeted offers.

The acquisition of HubSpot would immediately make Google Workspace a more robust competitor to Microsoft 365 Office for small- and medium-sized businesses as they would receive the ADDED capability of inbound marketing.

But in the world of rented land where Google is the landlord, the government will take notice of the acquisition. But — and it’s a big but, I cannot lie (yes, I just did that). The big but is whether this acquisition dance can happen without going afoul of regulatory issues.

Some analysts say it should be no problem. Others say, “Yeah, it wouldn’t go.” Either way, would anybody touch it in an election year? That’s a whole other story.

What marketers should realize

So, what’s my takeaway?


It’s a remote chance that Google will jump on this hard, but stranger things have happened. It would be an exciting disruption in the market.

The sure bet is this. The acquisition conversation — as if you needed more data points — says getting good at owned media to attract and build audiences and using that first-party data to provide better communication and collaboration with your customers are a must.

It’s just a matter of time until Google makes a move. They might just be testing the waters now, but they will move here. But no matter what they do, if you have your customer data house in order, you’ll be primed for success.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute


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