Sarah Hodges

About Sarah Hodges

Sarah Hodges is the co-founder of Intelligent.ly. She is also the Vice President of People and Places at Pluralsight, the world’s leading online training company for technical and creative professionals, and is an advisor to Flybridge Capital in Boston. Hodges previously led Strategy and Operations at Smarterer (acquired by Pluralsight), led Marketing at RunKeeper (acquired by Asics), and led Marketing Analytics at Carbonite (CARB).

10 Magical Marketing Resources

unicorn1. Seth Godin

Godin is the Godfather of Marketing. There’s no denying it. Forget Wheaties, start your day with his blog.

2. Avinash Kaushik

If you don’t think data can be sexy, think again. Avinash Kaushik’s blog pulls of the covers, showing you the naked truth on how to drive marketing results.

3. April Dunford

No frills, straight to the point, April Dunford’s blog, Rocket Watcher, gives you a cold hard injection of marketing truth.

4. Mike Troiano

Mike Troiano and his Italian roots are cringing at the fact that I gave Seth Godin the Godfather crown… When Trap speaks, you listen. Any questions?

5. Andrew Chen

You’re all growns up, and it’s time to market by the numbers. Let Andrew Chen show you the way.

6. Erika Napoletano

In case you forgot how fun marketing can be, The RedHead Writing Blog is no bullshit, and hilariously, belly-aching good.

7. Scott Brinker 

Marketing and tech got married. They had a baby. Scott Brinker is the nanny.

8. Ramit Sethi 

Ramit is brash, over the top, and one of the best email marketers you will ever witness in action. Get. On. The. List.

10. seomoz

SEO. No one’s good at it. Stop pretending and start reading.

10. HubSpot

The HubSpot blog is a marketing bible. ‘Nuff said.

Hit me up in the comments with your favorite blogs!

Startup Lessons from Seth Godin [Video]

Master storyteller and blogger extraordinaire, Seth Godin, recently stopped by Intelligent.ly to share his marketing genius. From a group of over one hundred applicants, we selected a handful of Boston startups to serve up their greatest marketing challenges to Godin for advice. Boy, did he deliver.

Video Credit: Skyscope Creative designs and produces video marketing campaigns for technology companies in the northeast US.

Here’s a quick summary of a few of the startup challenges Godin tackled:

Bundio (Julian Weisser, CEO): Convince an industry to shift its model to a new approach. 

First, understand that different customers are different. Don’t try to get mass-market laggards to like your product; target the early adopters. Tell a story that resonates with this group and makes them want to give your product a try. Then make sure something about your product makes it likely that their peers will emulate them. Build a layer on top of your product that leads everyone who uses it to decide it would work better if others use it too.

Rhoost (Vianka Perez-Belyea, CEO): Sell a product to a niche market. 

Figure out how to be present in the exact moment at which your users experience the problem that your product solves. Align the conversation so the problem and the solution show up at exactly the same time.

Directr (Max Goldman, Co-Founder): Break out in a world with millions of competing apps, and decided where to invest precious resources

Figure out if you are a wandering generality or a meaningful specific. If you’re a wandering generality, the product itself has to be viral and have all of the elements that make it viral. Otherwise, it has to solve specific pain in a remarkable way.

Promoboxx (Sonciary Honnoll, Co-Founder): Use the right resources to get the attention of the right audience, using time efficiently and improving the buying cycle.

Build a turnkey, low customization solution that a low-level person inside your target organization can access and socialize within the company. Or find out how to get on more podiums and create buzz, so your product becomes the thing you have to explain to your boss if you don’t have it. Invent the category. Your job is to create pain, and then make the pain go away.

WordStream (Tara DiMaggio, UX): Bridge the gap between marketing and product design teams. 

Product and marketing are the same thing, and any organization that is splitting them apart is making a huge mistake. Move their desks—put the people in the marketing department physically in proximity to the product department, and have them switch roles one day per week.

Smarterer (Dan Pratt, Marketing): How do we identify a target market that values our core technology? 

Pick just one thing to stand for. It’s fearful, because you might be wrong, but it’s also what makes good companies become great. Pick one thing to stand for and say, this is what we do. And don’t forget—a product isn’t real until you have to pay for it, either with time or money.

In a recent post on his blog, Godin, made the following statement:

“Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…

It turns out that choices lead to habits.

Habits become talents.

Talents are labeled gifts.

You’re not born this way, you get this way.”

Seth Godin sure is gifted.

Got Android? Elevate Your App

Are you a java developer eager to learn new techniques to make your app look and feel like a modern, awesome Android app that runs on multiple form factors? If you’re familiar with the Android platform and have some solid app concepts, this two-day workshop can help you take your project to the next level. Come earn from three engineers at Kinvey, who also happen to be Android experts: Morgan Bickle, CTO; Ed Fleming, Software Engineer; and Mike Salinger, Senior Software Engineer. Did we mention that it’s free?!

Intermediate Android App Development Class

  • March 23 – 24
  • 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • 500 Harrison Avenue, Floor 3R
  • Lunch provided
  • Oh, hey, and it’s free!

Apply Now

How HubSpot Won My Heart (Seriously)

Foot-mouthI think I cried a little the day I found out that HubSpot acquired Performable. I definitely drank scotch. For months, I’d eagerly watched as my buddy, Christopher O’Donnell, and the Performable engineering team, cranked like crazy to put all the analytics giants out of business. I hopped on screenshares, sent over pages of feedback and even camped out at the office on the weekends, stopping just short of throwing on a cheerleader outfit. And then they sold to the enemy.

Here’s the thing—HubSpot was a killer marketing company. Their team was packed with the best in the biz, churning out content that attracted leads like ants to cotton candy. But the product itself always left something to be desired. And it made me mad. Really mad.

HubSpot literally wrote the book on Inbound Marketing. I’ve been behind those doors, and that marketing team was (and is) legit. From mounds of data to buyer personas, to a test/measure/optimize mantra, they were constantly pushing themselves to new ground. But when it came to the product, HubSpot was treating its users like second-class citizens, dumbing down its feature set to the lowest common denominator. The HubSpot blog was an absolute treasure trove of information, but none of those best practices, the tips and tricks, none of that marketing goodness made it’s way into the product. It just wasn’t right.

I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t sworn several times that I would never use HubSpot. And now here I am, foot in mouth, to tell you that I love me some HubSpot. After much hassling from David Cancel, I took their new email tool for a spin when we launched Intelligent.ly. Man, I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough, so I signed up Smarterer.

HubSpot Email Campaign

HubSpot Email PreHeader Text

Awhile back, I wrote a post called For Better or For Worse: Guide to Choosing an ESP. Well, HubSpot and I are living happily every after. Everywhere you turn in the UI, you find a default setting or a visual cue to help you market the right way. From a reminder to tag your email with a campaign for consistent tracking to a simple field that lets you customize the preheader text, HubSpot does the heavy lifting. It lets me free up my brain power for strategy and creativity. It’s efficient, empowering, and just plain smart.

Seamless is the best way I can describe HubSpot now. You know what it reminds me of? Performable.

Riffing with Rob Go

Forget Dear Abby. If you want killer startup advice, you’ve got to go straight to the source. NextView Ventures Founder, Rob Go, to the rescue! I’m thrilled to announce a new series, Riffing with Rob. He’s armed with advice, ready to answer your most pressing startup questions. 

Here’s how it works: You submit your question. Any question. Make it a good one. Once a month, Rob will select a few gems from the pack, and we’ll post his responses to your questions on our blog. Hit him with your best shot and keep your eyes on the Intelligent.ly blog! Let’s here what Rob has to say about the new series:

Rob Go

It has always been an important component of our Ethos at NextView to not just be investors, but deep participants in the startup ecosystems we are involved with. It’s a lot of fun for me, and I’ve experimented with a bunch of different ways to do this. From open office hours, to being active in social media, to speaking at events, and even just responding to random requests for advice or feedback. However, I’ve also encountered a couple points of difficulty.

First, I’m actually a pretty introverted person, so I find that I’m a bit more successful when I get get my thoughts in writing vs. speaking at a crowd. Second, I’ve occasionally felt like I’m having conversations that are probably relevant to many other founders, and it’s a shame that there isn’t a more efficient way to disseminate information more broadly. This is why I’m really excited to partner with Intelligent.ly to start engaging with the community on a regular basis.

I hope that I can offer whatever help I can in a format that’s a bit more natural for me, and in a way that has a bit more leverage. Of course, I’ll still do the other activities I’ve done, I just see this as another experiment in my evolving quest to help entrepreneurs find success in their endeavors and solve problems that really matter. Thanks for the opportunity. I look forward to our dialogue! – Rob Go, Founder, NextView Ventures