Web3, NFTs, metaverses, and the future of content marketing with Kipp Bodnar of HubSpot

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Welcome to another episode of 3-Minute-Marketing, where we interview some of the world’s foremost growth and performance marketing leaders and distill their best knowledge into binge-worthy three-minute blocks of brilliance.

We’re closing out 2021 with a bang — I’m very excited to have Kipp Bodnar with us today. Kipp is CMO at HubSpot, who we’ve worked with closely as a long-time HubSpot Diamond Partner. It’s an honor to have him on the podcast.

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I wanted to know what Kipp was excited and curious about lately. So I asked Kipp, “What are you reading right now?”

Kipp’s answer got me jazzed up about Web3 and how the world of digital as we know it is about to change dramatically.

Show notes:

  1. In Web2 you learned so you could earn, in Web3 you earn to learn. You have to participate and engage to get a physical return.
  2. In Web2 you had to invest lots of time learning how things worked. Time-to-value is much faster in Web3.
  3. Ethereum name service (ENS) was turned into a token. Instead of the ENS being a publicly held company like Facebook, it’s a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in which the community votes for the direction of the organization.
  4. In order to vote, you have to hold a token. And to hold a token, the organization has to create a token. If you want your customers to vote, you have to give them tokens. So a page was created where you can claim tokens.
  5. Someday you may open up the HubSpot website and be offered a token in exchange for them to have the right to track your email opens, web traffic, etc.
  6. You’ll be able to exchange that token for direct monetary value or use it to vote on things within the HubSpot community.
  7. 10-15 years from now having your own token might be fundamental in the same way that having your own website is fundamental today.


– You’re listening to Three Minute Marketing where we interview the world’s top growth marketing leaders and distill their knowledge into actionable bite-sized insights. Now here’s your host, Chris Mechanic.

– [Chris Mechanic] Hey, what’s going on, everybody? Welcome to another episode of Three Minute Marketing. I’m your man, Chris Mechanic, very excited today to have Kipp Bodnar on the call with us today. Kip is CMO at HubSpot, which is a multi-billion dollar unicorn that we’ve known very closely for a long time. We’re HubSpot Diamond partners, as many of you know, and we’ve been into HubSpot since the very early days. So I’m super excited to have you, Kipp. It’s an honor.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Chris, thank you so much for having me and thank you so much for being a Diamond partner at HubSpot. You all do amazing work. Everybody watching this should definitely chat with you all if they need some help on the marketing side of their business, but let’s get right to it. I’m excited to talk. I love the brevity of this format. Let’s do it.

-[Chris Mechanic]  I love it. What are you reading right now? What books? Magazines. What do you read?

– [Kipp Bodnar] I spend all my time outside of HubSpot reading Web 3.0. So it’s basically Web 3.0, Twitter, white papers, token documentations, participating different communities, everything there, because I just want to learn. I kind of subscribe to… Somebody had a really good quote on Twitter that was like in Web 2.0, you learned so you could earn. And Web 3.0 you earn to learn. Like you have to participate and engage, provide value in communities, and in doing so you get a fiscal return. In Web 2.0 you had to invest so much time learning how things worked before you then could apply that in some type of vocation. And so time to value is just much faster in Web 3.0. And it’s really just hard to explain to people like I bought my different versions of my name on the Ethereum domain service. And when the people who run Ethereum domain service dropped turned it into a DAO, created a token, they dropped tokens to everybody who had domains. And so I probably… In costs I probably had a $1,000 in my different names and they dropped me what is the equivalent today of I think about $17,000 in tokens. And so that’s like crazy Delta of value that it’s really hard to explain to people that this is how the future works.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah, it’s like you get paid to register domains.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yeah, and-

– [Chris Mechanic] How did you make 17,000 bucks?

– [Kipp Bodnar] What? Why would you-

– [Chris Mechanic] I mean explain it to me. How do you make 17,000 bucks registering domains? They’re like, hey, thanks for registering. Here’s a coin, and that coin goes up.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yes, and then the value of that coin appreciated. So basically what happened is they turned the Ethereum name service, ENS, into a token. And instead of that Ethereum name service being Facebook and being a publicly held company, it’s a DAO, which is a decentralized autonomous organization in which everybody votes for the direct… The community votes for the direction of the organization. But to vote, you have to hold a token. And if you want to hold a token, the organization has to create a token. And then obviously if you were looking for your customers to vote, you got to give your customers some tokens, right? And so they created a page where you just claim, and based on how many domains you had, how many years you had them set up, purchased for and everything, there was just an equation and they dropped tokens into your wallet once you verified. And then those tokens were dropped at, I think $8 per and now they’re over 40 or $50. At the peak they were at $72, I think. And so you have a situation where you’re this participant, this organization wants to run this way. To run this way they have to give the community a governing token to make that happen. And if you’re like… Meaning you think the Ethereum blockchain has long-term potential, you just hold your ENS because what might be $15,000 day could be $150,000 a year from now and a million dollars two years from now, right? And you make decisions based on what you think is the right thing in the world.

– [Chris Mechanic] So do you envision a world where like a software company might be like, hey, book a demo and get like 10 coins. Or like the average B2B SaaS will have their own coin and their own community, you think?

– [Kipp Bodnar] My take is that you’ll roll to the HubSpot website someday and you will get offered a token for the right to track, email opens, web traffic, things like that, and that token will have value in our community. And you can exchange that for direct monetary value or you can vote for specific aspects of the community. You can use that token to access specific education. There’s a whole host of ways that you can do that in the future, and it’s not a tomorrow thing. It’s a couple of years from now thing. But starting, like we’re doing the base foundation of that stuff today on the community side of things at least.

– [Chris Mechanic] So having your own token might, and we’re not talking one or two years, this is probably more like 10 or 15 maybe, but having your own token might be like basic fundamental the way that having a website is basic fundamental today?

– [Kipp Bodnar] Eventually.

– [Chris Mechanic] So thank you very much, Kipp. Let us know or let everybody know where they can learn more about you or HubSpot.

– [Kipp Bodnar] You can check out HubSpot at hubspot.com. You can find me on Twitter at Kipp Bodnar or on LinkedIn. So find me and reach out to me to place.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yep, and HubSpot is awesome. If you guys are not using HubSpot currently, you probably should be.

– [Kipp Bodnar] You can get started for free. Check it out for free and see if it works for you and your business.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah, and I mean, you can spin up a free version, a free instance, and just use the live chat and start getting more leads like tomorrow, basically.

– [Kipp Bodnar] 100%. That’s a perfect tip, Chris.

– [Chris Mechanic] All right. Very good. So if you’re interested in that, feel free to reach out to me directly. You can get me at [email protected]. Thank you very much, Kipp. We really enjoyed having you.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Chris, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

– [Chris Mechanic] What’s on your mind? What are you studying? What are you testing? What are you currently obsessed with? What are you seeing in the future? Just flow with it.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Oh man, the future is going to be awesome first of all. I’ve never been more optimistic about technology, the internet future than I am today. And everybody out there should be excited. I think there’s a few things. I’ll try to give everybody the quick synopsis. The first is I’m excited about the next-generation of content marketing, going from maybe having a blog or having a podcast that having a real full media organization internally where you are doing remarkable text, video, audio content, maybe building out a different network. We launched our HubSpot podcast network this year. That’s been a huge success. But businesses taking that next level of investment in content is going to be incredible going forward. The next thing I’m excited about is community led growth. We’ve talked a lot about product led growth in the past. As you look at Web 3.0 and emerging technologies, community led growth where you are growing because of your ability to engage, inspire, and incentivize your community is going to be critical to the success of the next-generation of businesses. And I’m excited for that emerging part of the world to take off. And the last thing that I am really excited about is just the iteration of inbound marketing. Like marketing automation, all the workers that you and your team do every day, every week, it still has so much evolution left in it and there’s still so much room that people aren’t taking advantage of it yet. I’m excited for the rest of the world to catch up.

– [Chris Mechanic] On the community led building, inspire, engage, incentivize, what are some techniques that I think community building is huge right now?

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yeah. So community building is really, really important. And the first thing you have to do if you’re a business out there and you’re thinking about, oh, how do I use community to drive growth? I want to first and foremost think about what is the metric of how I’m going to organize community. Sometimes it’s pure of your knowledge sharing. Sometimes it’s courses and education. For us at HubSpot it’s our academy. We have a really robust system of education credentials, and that is the thing that we use to bring our community together. And the incentive is providing those credentials and helping people grow their career, grow their business success through that education, right? And so the first thing you can figure out, what are you going to do to kind of capitalize your community? And then the second thing you need to do is make sure that you’ve got the right community management and rules in place to drive the kind of peer-to-peer incentives and knowledge sharing that you need to, to actually be really successful at scale. And the very last thing that you have to do is understand that it takes a little while. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and years to build a really strong, vibrant community.

– [Chris Mechanic] I love that. We have to build a community ourselves upside it, but one last thing real quick. I know you’re into Web 3.0, you’re into content. You talked about next-gen content. Do you see Web 3.0 and content marketing intersecting? Like at any point in the-

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yes. Yeah. Once costs of transactions go down and everything, we’re going to see a ton of interaction happening, content marketing and through NFTs, through different community buildings, through tokens, is going to be huge data privacy, and Web 3.0 and content are going to intersect hugely. I think we’re still a couple of years away, but there’s a lot coming on that front. I’m super excited.

– [Chris Mechanic] And then very, very quickly. So that will take place in some metaphors, right? Not actually like on a website, or will that be brought to your website?

– [Kipp Bodnar] I think both. I think there’ll be a lot of things happening in the metaverse in the way that people are talking about it, but the way tangibly for people to understand this is like privacy is getting a lot harder to get around if you’re a marketer. There’s a lot more constraints. And so I think there’ll be wallets and everything that you use. I’ll come to your website and you can offer me an incentive, a token, some type of exchange for tracking information about me, will buy willingness to jump on a phone call with you, things like that. And I think some experiences like that we’ll use Web 3.0 technologies, but in a traditional kind of like Web 2.0 environment.

– [Chris Mechanic] Wow, let’s take a little bit of time to just kind of like dig deeper because you went quite quickly through each of the three things.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yeah.

– [Chris Mechanic] And we touched a little bit extra on the next-gen content side of things, as well as on the community led growth. But what are you seeing in terms of the near term iterations and inbound that are most exciting to you?

– [Kipp Bodnar] I mean the biggest things in inbound that are exciting is I think, education is becoming a first-class citizen. I think you’re going to see the proliferation of the education stack moving away from these third party analyst firms and credentialing organizations to the first-party clients and businesses that are really closer to the expertise of how to execute an industry. So I think you’re going to see education be a critical compartment component of inbound going forward. All the media stuff, I think people are graduating past basic content creation and thinking about, oh, how do I partner with the best creators in my industry? People who are telling remarkable stories and tell co-branded stories, partner with them to create custom stories for me. And I think whether you are in a niche B2B industry, or if you’re in a mass market industry, I think that is a strategy that is here and we’re going to see a lot of over the next few years, still very early, but man, the next-generation of that is going to be amazing, and oops, excuse me, a lot of fun. And then I also think the big shift that we’ve seen in inbound historically has been a lot further removed from product. I think product marketing is going to evolve a lot and I think product marketing used to be this old school like, this is the content we create for salespeople kind of thing. And I think product marketing is going to take a lead step. Websites are going to get a lot better. Buyers are going to have access to data proof, customer references in this non-disintermediated way where they’re not going to have to go through some sales rep to get all of that. And company’s going to be able to tell their product story much clearer and they’re going to be able to tell it through their customers and through the success that they’re driving for the customers.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah. Do you envision a day where a company like HubSpot or even a company like agency… Like an agency like ours could complete a sale almost exclusively online with no human sales rep?

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yeah. I mean, we do a lot more than people think at that like kind of CRO and enterprise version , especially CRO, it’s becoming more and more a part for us. And I think everything that I’ve outlined is kind of the steps to make that happen, right? Where it’s like you build more trust and you use your customers and their word of mouth far more publicly. And so you need less of an individual sales person to build that rapport to connect with customers, to negotiate a price, a part of it’s transparent pricing, transparent discounting, all of those things. I think oftentimes an incentive for somebody to talk to humans try to get a better deal and make it clear over time that, hey, the deal is the deal. Whether you talk to somebody or not, I think is a very important and powerful way in having more people do deals like that.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah, 100%. The thing that you’d mentioned in terms of influencers and how it could be applicable in a niche B2B space, say that you are a B2B technology company, like a hardware provider or something like that, where would you go to find the best creators?

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yeah, so I’m trying to get one step level of granularity so I could actually answer the question, like hardware for what? Like I need to know like baseline industry.

– [Chris Mechanic] Let’s say you sell, or let’s say you’re a data center.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Data center. Cool. So you’re a center and you essentially sell a commodity, right? And so the first step is admit you sell a commodity. And then the second thing is you would probably say, okay, well, where is my commodity in most profitable? And you would probably have some specific audiences gaming, et cetera, where you’re like, oh, this is the most profitable version of that. And then you would basically find the intersection of that kind of backend user you sell to and the popular world, and you would… So let’s for the sake of a illustrative illustration, you would say, oh, okay, well, you’ve got gaming as this audience, but it’s not about like your average gamer. It’s about hardcore gamers building custom gaming setups who then need these data center services. And so then you would figure… You go to YouTube, you’d go to Spotify. You go to all those places and you’re like, oh, now I know what to look for. I can see who’s actually creating content around this that may have some audience, and then you start a conversation. Can I hire this person? Can I acquire what they’re doing? Can I pay them to do some custom version for me that’s complimentary to what they’re doing on their own platform? And you kind of build it from there, but that’s like the thought process to get there. It takes, depending on the market, there’ll be more options and some than others and you might look around and be like, well, I can go do this one thing on YouTube, but I’m going to have to build something else because there’s not a ton of people. But there’s a lot of markets more so than I’ve realized, have a ton of powerful folks if you can just get yourself aligned well with them.

– [Chris Mechanic] Are you participating actively in any metaverses or any communities?

– [Kipp Bodnar] I am on a ton of discord threads. I hold a ton of NFTs and participate in a bunch of different NFT communities. I am not in full metaverse mode yet because I just don’t think it’s there ready yet. But I am… I basically find any Web 3.0 founders who I think is doing something interesting and I DM them and we talk and I learn, and I’m just doing whatever I can to learn and see how everything fits together.

– [Chris Mechanic] Interesting. So talk to me a little bit about your mental framing. Like what happens in your mind that makes you sort of interested to go after the next big thing? Because a lot of people are intimidated by Web 3.0/meta/don’t get it, and therefore just like, ah, I’ll wait a little while to get into that. What makes you such a kind of a bulldog to go after it like that? You spend all your time reading Web 3.0’s.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Yeah. New is the arbitrage of humanity, right? Because human nature is to be fearful of new, but the magnitude of anything a human can achieve is always greater in you. Just true. And partially that’s because there’s less competition, partially that’s because there’s new and unproven upside, right? And so people are normally just afraid irrationally of new things without like a thought process, and it’s like, cool. You have to have some thesis of conviction. I have a thesis of conviction around that there are certain use cases and problems that de-centralized technology will cause the middleman network created in Web 2.0 to be disintermediated and create a very different way that we will all work and communicate. And once you have that, you say, cool, what’s the downside of learning? I might be wrong and that’s okay. And the worst thing is I’m wrong and I’ve learned. The best case scenario is I’m right and I make hundreds of millions of dollars, right? The Delta between the high and the low it’s people miss that most of the time. And so the model there is when everything’s new, the playing field is level. It’s just who can learn the fastest and apply the learning the fastest. In August, the NFT market sold $2 billion worth of art. The global art market in 2020 was $20 million.

– [Chris Mechanic] So 10%.

– [Kipp Bodnar] For 10% in a month versus a year. So if you’ve analyzed the run rate, the NFT market is already bigger than the global art market because of the accessibility to art that it’s providing, right? And so you’re going to just see massive changes where the global art market’s probably going to grow to $200 billion and the traditional art market might be 50% of 50 billion of that, and that’s cool. Like that’s a really good growth for the traditional art market, but you’ll have this digital art market that now makes it accessible to the masses and creates market and category growth that people can’t predict based on historical modeling.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah, have you meted any NFTs yet?

– [Kipp Bodnar] Lots. I am a big holder and a lot of projects.

– [Chris Mechanic] Nice.

– [Kipp Bodnar] I probably hold… I think I hold like 50, 60 at this point.

– [Chris Mechanic] That you’ve created or that you’ve-

– [Kipp Bodnar] That I purchased, not that I’ve created, that I’ve mentored, that I have purchased. I have not made my own project. We’re doing our own project at HubSpot right now. And so the first project I will be a creator on will be the first NFT project that we grant to our community members at HubSpot.

– [Chris Mechanic] That’s awesome. It’s exciting. And I like your 95 analogy and I can think back on those times I was young, but it was definitely very abstract in my mind how this whole thing worked. You have done very well for yourself and have had a very impressive career just in Web 2.0. Did you get into that very early? Like where you into Web already in ’95?

– [Kipp Bodnar] Web 2.0 it got into up to a 2006. So at the jump, really at the start of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 to me really starting to ’05, ’06. Web 3.0 is a little bit more like Web 1.0 where Web 1.0… You look at the 2001 crash, right? There are some things that just weren’t buyable and died off and everything crashed, but there were some things that were viable and died off. And then there was Amazon that was dirt cheap, and if you had just bought Amazon at the 2001 crash and held it for 20 years, you’d be one of the richest people in the world, right? And part of it is educating yourself before that crash, that market crash, to know, oh, these are the projects that I need to back once the whole world is skeptical, right? When everything falls through and nobody believes in this anymore, but then they’ll believe in a couple of years because there’s no choice, these are the things that I have to participate in and be a part of.

– [Chris Mechanic] Got you.

– [Kipp Bodnar] And I, myself too. And I think that’s the opportunity of learning right now.

– [Chris Mechanic] I dig it. Well, hey, I got to be sensitive to your time here. I know we’ve only got a couple of minutes left, but thank you very much. I hope you’ll come back on sometime. And if you’re still listening here, definitely go check out Kipp’s Twitter. I was on there recently and I was learning. I didn’t even know what a DAO was, frankly, until then. So go check that out. And if you’re not using HubSpot, you should be. Feel free to reach out to me or Kipp at [email protected] and Kipp Bodnar his Twitter.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Cool. Thanks, Chris.

– [Chris Mechanic] All right. Thank you, Kipp. Stay in touch, man. We’ll talk soon.

– [Kipp Bodnar] Sounds good, see you.

Kipp Bodnar

Kipp Bodnar CMO

Chris Mechanic

Chris MechanicCEO & Co-Founder

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