Stop Marketing, Start Evangelizing: An Interview with Kyle Jepson of HubSpot

Tammy Borden
Posted by Tammy Borden on April 24, 2024
Kyle Jepson of HubSpot Academy to keynote Experience Inbound conference

Whether building a website, blogging, or running ads in trade publications, your job as a marketer is to attract new customers. 

Or is it? 

Only a 5% increase in customer retention can increase company revenue by 25-95%1. 

Read that again. While attracting new customers is a given, engaging and delighting your existing clientele is just as important, and might be the best marketing move you ever make. 

The good news is that you probably have the people and resources you need, according to Kyle Jepson, Chief Evangelist for HubSpot, the world’s #1 sales and marketing platform. Kyle will be a featured keynote speaker at the tenth annual Experience Inbound Marketing & Sales Conference held May 7 at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and May 8 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

In this interview, Kyle shares how his role at HubSpot evolved to become more customer-centric and how your frontline and back-office employees might just be the most powerful voices you have to increase your brand’s visibility.

Learn more and register for the event to see Kyle speak in person:

You’re HubSpot’s first evangelist. How did you get that gig, and what does it mean?

Before my current role, I taught people how to use the HubSpot platform through online courses on HubSpot Academy. I loved it… and then Covid hit. I was forced to create compelling, quality educational content from my living room with my kids running around and tons of distractions. 

While scrolling through LinkedIn during that time, a colleague of mine asked, “What’s the most underrated HubSpot feature?” I commented that I thought it was the deduplication tool and several responded they had no idea the feature was even a thing and that they wanted to know how to use it. Instead of typing my answer, I recorded a short video to show them.

People kept saying how helpful it was and that I should record more videos like it. So I started releasing a HubSpot “tips and tricks” video every day. Pretty soon, I realized how effective those short interactions were at delighting our customers. I talked to my manager about transitioning into a newly created role as an evangelist, spreading the HubSpot love organically rather than through big, planned-out campaigns. 

Now, my role as an evangelist is to help existing customers learn how to better use and enjoy HubSpot. What makes it different from my previous role is that I have a lot of autonomy. It’s not a big production with lighting and sound engineers; it’s just me and a quick video from my computer. But it’s become a highly effective way to connect with HubSpot customers.

Who is the target audience for evangelism?

The target audience for evangelism is your existing customers. There’s a lot of power in this approach for companies with long-term, repeat customers or those who are subscription-based. When you can get your existing customers engaging and interacting with you online, it gets noticed by people who aren’t your customers. Yet

In today’s market, which is increasingly driven by AI content, relationships matter more than ever

“When prospects see that your employees are there for your customers and are helpful and accessible, it builds trust in your brand and a sense that you’ll be there for them, too. It also reinforces that it’s not just the marketing or sales team’s job to engage with your audience.”

What’s the most important thing when trying to get employees to be your online advocates?

It needs to start with your company culture. If there are issues with your culture, you may not want your employees talking about you online. It requires trusting your employees to represent you beyond their job description. 

HubSpot’s culture is friendly, light-hearted, and helpful. Because of that, I have a clear sense of what it means to be their “poster child,” so to speak. Influencer marketing is huge, and your employees can be that for you in a smaller way.

Are there potential pitfalls to avoid for your company’s evangelists?

You want someone who’s good on video and knows how to get to the point. Sometimes scripting out a video with bullet points is helpful if an evangelist has a hard time staying on message and saying something in two minutes instead of fifteen. There are also simple things like adequate lighting and audio quality to keep in mind, but it doesn’t have to be a big production. 

That said, I think it’s better to have employees try things and give them freedom rather than controlling their message.

If you have good employees you trust and they believe in your product and company and are willing to go out on a limb, that’s already a vetted group of people who will likely do it well and sincerely. 

That last point is critical. Being sincerely helpful is the key to success. These interactions shouldn’t come across as a sales pitch.

You’re speaking at Experience Inbound this year about how we need to stop marketing and start evangelizing. What do you want people to walk away with after hearing you speak?

There are two things. First, I want people to be inspired, uplifted, and empowered to do something similar in their own way, whether they’re an executive or entry-level employees. For example, if someone who works behind the scenes in finance wishes customers knew the benefits of paying an invoice early (which also benefits the company’s order-to-cash cycle), they should feel empowered to post on LinkedIn or elsewhere to share their knowledge. I want every employee to ask themselves, “What would I say if I recorded something?”

Second, if there are executives or managers in the audience, I want them to ask, “How can I empower my employees to do this?” Recognizing people’s gifts and inviting them to participate — or simply try — is crucial. Maybe Danielle has a wonderful presence on the phone, or Kurt loves showing his teammates how something works. Invite them. Let them know you value their talents and perspectives, and encourage them to share their wisdom with the world. 

What do you personally want to walk away with? (And don’t say Packers tickets)

Ha! There is a little hole in my heart from when we used to do in-person meet-ups. There’s just something that can’t be replicated online. The best parts about speaking to a group in person are always what happens before and after. That’s when I get to hear what they’re working on and the challenges they face. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being part of an in-person event.

Ready to Learn More?

Kyle will be among more than a dozen presenters at Wisconsin’s Premier Marketing & Sales Conference in less than two weeks! Attend Experience Inbound: Two opportunities. One incredible value.

  • May 7 — Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee, WI
  • May 8 — Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Visit to see the full agenda and register today (tickets are limited)!

New call-to-action

1 Source: HubSpot

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Weidert Group Events

New call-to-action