The PMG team had an amazing time at HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference last week, including Partner Day, which kicked everything off.
Because there are so many great sessions to attend, our team "divides and conquers" with the goal of attending as many as possible... and then sharing insights with clients like you.
First up in this clients-only-nugget is Annette Sparks, who is our fabulous creative services director.
We asked Annette about her experience at Inbound, including something she's super excited to share with clients, and she got a little misty-eyed talking about HubDB.
Before we get too deep: it's important to point out that HubDB isn't a new product—it's been around a while, but we're finding most of our clients probably aren't aware of it. AND the product has evolved quite a bit in recent months. During Partner Day, Annette attended a session on HubDB, which reinvigorated her initial enthusiasm for it.
Getting to Know the Updated HubDB
So what is HubDB? According to Annette and the folks at HubSpot, "HubDB is a relational data store represented as rows, columns, and cells in a table, much like a spreadsheet."
Now, if you've got any design or development chops, you likely understood that description (and probably got a little misty-eyed yourself).
But if you're like the rest of us, read on. We asked Annette to explain it in a way that a 10-year-old could understand.
"OK," she said. "HubDB is a way to organize a lot of information and feed it into templates without having to manually create page after page."
That sounds good, doesn't it?
Annette went on to say this: "I just want to point out that I hate spreadsheets. Most designers probably hate spreadsheets. What I like is that I can design the page and supporting page templates. A developer can link it all together. Someone else can populate the HubDB table with data, and presto! You have pages that are so beautifully tight and consistent."
We asked Annette for an example, and she did not disappoint.
"Let's pretend you have 100 case studies," she said, "and each one is going to have its own individual case study page with a title, image, industry label, and the actual case study itself. In other words, each page has the same content modules. Before HubDB, you'd need to create each page manually. Yes, 100 individual pages."
"That's a lot of work," we said.
"Exactly. HubDB eliminates this manual process. You'd put all the info into HubDB. Think of it like fields on a spreadsheet with title, images, industry labels, and case study content. Then, you'd have one case study page template with those different modules—title, image, industry label, case study content. And each module would automatically draw the info from HubDB and populate the info onto the page. So creating 100 pages is much easier and faster."
Ah! That DOES make sense (and sounds pretty sweet to boot).
Annette also noted another benefit: HubDB can draw data from external sites. So let's say you want to pull five-star Yelp reviews to a page on your website. HubDB can help with that.
"And this is just the surface," Annette added. "The product has become a lot more robust with more capabilities on the horizon."
A few important notes / caveats:
- You need a good HubSpot developer to build this out. The average designer or marketing manager can't do this on their own. But a little development time is well worth the efficiency and consistency you get with HubDB. In other words, once it's built, your marketing team will be able to easily use it.
- Tip: One thing that HubDB still can't do yet is easily reorder the rows of data. You will need your developer to add row numbering to your HubDB table. Hopefully HubSpot will add a drag and drop capability to it soon.
- You need to have the $300 Website Add-on in your HubSpot account to access HubDB.
You can learn more about HubDB here (the link includes four real-life examples). And, of course, feel free to reach out to us with questions—or if you need any help using this awesome product.
By the way, we'll be sharing more insights from Inbound soon (insights that will only be available to clients like you). Plus, be sure to subscribe to our B2B Marketing Tips blog if you haven't already. We'll be posting in-depth articles in the coming weeks that cover all the sessions our team members attended.