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Interviews 2013 - 2016

How Marketers Stay Productive: Matthew Stibbe Of Turbine

December 3, 2015

This week we feature Matthew Stibbe, CEO of Turbine. Turbine lets companies deploy online self-service HR admin in minutes, freeing them from the tyranny of paper forms and ad-hoc spreadsheets.

In this interview, you can read more about his work at Turbine, favorite marketing tools, productivity tips as well as his advice for budding marketers.

Your location: London, England.

Your favorite gadget: iPhone (but I’m totally geeking out about my 5k iMac as well).

You start your day with:​ Coffee.

Your favorite time-saving trick: Saying no to meetings, and if I must have them, doing them online instead of travelling there in person.

Your top 3 blogs you read daily: xkcd.com, CoDesign, New Yorker (actually I have about 200 blogs in Feedly so these are just the ones I’m thinking of most right now).

"Stay true to your vision of the product and focus on communicating that."

Describe an average day at Turbine?

For me, despite my best efforts to avoid it, I’m spending more time in meetings and calls than I used to. If I can, I like to write stuff for our blog and I still take my turn doing front line technical support because I believe it’s good to stay in touch with customers and users. It’s where I get many of my best ideas and the most honest feedback.

As a Marketer, what is your favorite productivity hack?

Right now, I’m loving calendly.com. It lets me send a link to people that they can use to book up an appointment or call without any of that annoying to-and-fro on email. Also, pulling tasks from different apps, including Zendesk and Todoist, using Tacoapp.com really helps me prioritise. I’m just starting to experiment with ‘maker days’ — i.e. Blocking out every Thursday so that there are no calls, meetings or interruptions so I can get a good run up at a big project.

As a person who is well-versed with online marketing, I’m sure you rely on a few marketing tools to automate your efforts. What are the top 3–5 tools you use?

We love HubSpot. Turbine is a subsidiary of a marketing agency, Articulate Marketing (www.articulatemarketing.com) and so we’re sort of in love with it. We’re in the process of building out our HubSpot activity on Turbine but we’ve used it with great success at Articulate and with our clients there. Zapier is proving increasingly useful for integrating different apps, for example we have a zap running that lets me curate interesting blog posts from Feedly and share them with colleagues.

Your company has a growing community of users. How do you use this treasure trove of customer insight to power your marketing efforts?

For me the most valuable insights come from Zendesk — questions from prospective customers and support queries for actual customers and trial users. I said earlier that the feedback there is ‘honest’ because it comes from people’s actual, real pain points. But the hardest thing is saying ’no’ to people (and to myself when I want to add new features). For example, they love Turbine’s ease of use, simplicity and price point but they just want us to add one little feature or customisation to make it ‘perfect’ for them. But the accumulation of little tweaks is actually dangerous. So the insight has to be tempered with experience: like going to bar and not drinking too much!

What is your strategy for getting people to your site and then converting them to a customer?

We’re strong believers in inbound marketing. We spent too much on ineffective PPC to have much faith in that any more. So we look to our blog and social media to attract people to our site. We have a trial and our goal is to get people to sign up for that but with HubSpot, we’re planning to deploy more ‘top of funnel’ content such as white papers and guides.

Is there any advice you’d like to give to budding marketers to help them work smart and stay productive?

Don’t waste money on PPC. Don’t waste money building non-core features that users ask for but don’t actually use. Stay true to your vision of the product and focus on communicating that. For marketers generally, the best way to get productive is to learn to write quickly and fluently. It’s a skill not an art and it’s well worth practicing.

A big thanks to Matthew for taking the time out to answer these questions! If you haven’t already, we highly recommend that you check out Turbine.

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