Sara Strope: Serial Entrepreneur, IBM Marketing Executive, and Seasoned Triathlete: Her Journey to Head a Fortune 100 Company


While most people are familiar with the IBM brand, few really grasp the extent to which their inventions impact our daily lives. The ubiquitous magnetic stripe on the back of our credit cards, automated test scoring, and the UPC barcodes on the bottom of virtually every consumer product are just some of the innovations that trace their roots back to IBM. Today, with their Watson Data Platform and Artificial Intelligence (AI) efforts, IBM is once again on the forefront of technological revolution. It wasn’t until BU Marketing Club hosted Sara Strope, a Marketing Executive at IBM, that I was able to truly grasp the influence IBM has within the business world and beyond.



Sara’s Road to IBM: It All Starts With Advocacy


While Sara’s current position at IBM is focused on global marketing for the Watson Data Platform and other cloud services, she was quick to inform us that her career didn’t initially start within the business or technology field. She completed her undergraduate career at Washington University in St. Louis majoring in both English and French, where she moved on to obtain her Masters in Social and Economic Development. While her areas of study initially seem disparate from her professional work today, the positions she held prior to IBM actually helped sharpen and diversify her marketing skills.


She began her career in Washington D.C. working in the nonprofit sector. She set up various advocacy programs and participated in lobbying for various social issues. This is where her marketing skills really began to take form. In order to be successful in this field, Sara had to understand the representatives that she’d be speaking with, and come up with a compelling message to effectively persuade these representatives to take action in her favor. That meant bringing in the right constituents from various parts of the country to talk firsthand about these issues and convince the appropriate representatives that it was worthwhile to step in. Even though she never had a “formal” business education, Sara became aware how powerful and applicable marketing skills can be in developing a successful career.


Following this experience, Sara moved into the for-profit arena, entering as just the 34th employee at a company called GetActive as a Senior Account Manager. She translated her experience working in advocacy previously to thrive and grow immensely in her position. Before she knew it, the firm grew from a just few dozen employees to a few hundred and eventually went public after an acquisition from Convio, Inc. From here, she moved to various other Marketing-related positions, like event-planning and managing digital strategy for Ogilvy & Mather, which is a massive advertising, marketing, and public relations agency.


After her successes working in the for-profit space, Sara got bit by an entrepreneurial bug. As many aspiring entrepreneurs do, she packed up and moved from D.C. to the Bay Area, a thriving hub for startups. She took over as Vice President of Events & Client Services at Cleantech Group, while also doing consulting work on the side for a few years. Eventually ready to head her own company, she became Founder & CEO of Share ICE, a mobile-based platform that managed “In Case of Emergency” information in one convenient space while also continuing to do one-off consulting jobs. While her professional experience is extensive, this is just the tip of the iceberg in delving into all the efforts she headed over a span of almost 15 years.


IBM had already begun to take notice of her technological and business expertise, and had asked for her to come onboard as a Marketing Director through Cloudant, a data services organization. While Cloudant was initially outside of IBM, it was eventually acquired underneath the IBM umbrella of products. This was a key strategic move as the IBM became more focused within the cloud/data services arena. Due to Cloudant’s initial separation from the larger IBM corporate entity, Sara described her work within this position as managing “another startup within a large enterprise.”  While Sara voiced that it was difficult decision to move from the close knit startup world into the colossal, corporate world of IBM, she made it clear that this career maneuver was definitely the right move in the long run. Her intuition proved to be entirely accurate, as she quickly rose from Marketing Director to her current executive level position as IBM’s Executive Director of Cloud Data Services.


Sara traces her quick transition up to IBM upper management from her willingness to be an “instigator,” meaning that she has never afraid to jump into projects or initiatives that she’s initially unfamiliar or uncertain with. She noted this while referencing an entertaining story about entering in an intensive triathlon on a whim, and somehow still leaving enough energy to cross the finish line “with a smile on her face.”



Sara’s 5 Tips for Undergraduate Students Looking to Start Their Career Within Tech and Beyond


Here’s a few tips Sara highlighted in our Q&A session after her talk.


    1. Develop and continually refine your communication skills. Make sure when communicating in-person or virtually to always be respectful of others time. This means being concise when explaining different needs and asks to the appropriate team members. It’s always appreciated and valued, especially for higher-level executives like Sara who may be limited on time.
    2. Know what’s important and what’s not. Applicable to most emails and presentations explaining large projects, make sure you highlight your key takeaways/points from your work. Even though it may be an extensive and impressive project, readers will ask for further details if they need it. 
    3. Grow close relationships outside your direct team. Projects where teams must work cross-functionally is continually growing. Establishing and maintaining relationships with employees outside your direct department/team is important when it comes time to collaborate on a project with others.
    4. Know the product. This rings true especially within the technology field, since some of the products/services offered can be rather complex and not initially intuitive. Working within marketing in tech requires an even deeper knowledge and understanding of the services your company provides, so taking the time to fully grasp how they add value is essential.
    5. Always “manage up.” This is a term that’s talked about extensively in BU career classes, but it definitely translates directly into the professional world. Being able to understand and communicate effectively with your supervisor will develop a mutually beneficial relationship. (See this article to learn more about “managing up.



Overall, it was an absolute pleasure and privilege to learn about Sara’s trajectory into her role at IBM. Personable and knowledgeable of all things from technology to triathlons, she is making huge strides to fuel IBM’s next big innovation.


Want to learn more about Sara Strope? Check out her article relating her impressive triathlon experience to leading an effective career.

What exactly is the Watson Data Platform and what can it do? IBM explains it here.


If you enjoyed this article, make sure to come out to BU Marketing Club meetings every Tuesday from 5pm-6pm in KCB 107! We have plenty more exciting events planned this semester. Thanks to all that came out this Tuesday!





Corporate Social Responsibility in a Changing America


Nowadays, it seems that every brand is marketing its corporate environmental efforts, community outreach programs, and ethically sourced products. This trend parallels the growing public opinion that businesses have a responsibility to the world.

According to an NBC News article by Brianna Steinhilber, young professionals are no longer interested in begrudgingly hitting the time clock and scraping by until the day ends, but instead want to commit to a company that makes a positive change. “They want work with a purpose,” she said.


Today, shoppers also tend to buy from companies with ethical programs that line up with their personal values. Popular apparel company, TOMS, for example, has one of the strongest CSR programs in my opinion. The company’s website highlights several social initiatives, from donating shoes to kids in China to countries to providing clean water in Honduras.


This demand for socially responsible companies have forced companies to adapt to their changing role in the world of business. Consumers and employees alike want to know that the companies they are supporting will make positive contributions to society.


However, it seems that ever since Donald Trump began campaigning for the 2016 Presidential election, blurred lines about the limits of a company’s social output has gotten many top executives into trouble, such as PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, for example. She has been at the receiving end of public outrage a few times this year.


According to an article in Fortune by Beth Kowitt, Nooyi sat on President Trump’s business advisory council, even after widespread dissent towards the President’s comments on the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. “If individual CEOs take action, it’s not good for anybody- then each of us becomes a media story,” Nooyi said.


That issue blew over, but nothing compares to the firestorm that followed Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad. Social media users were quick to express the huge offense the Black Lives Matter movement took to the ad’s closing scene, in which Jenner ended the tension between protesters and police officers by handing a Pepsi to one of the cops.


Pepsi’s choice to use a white model to represent an end to the issue of racial injustice sent Twitter into chaos. Since the issue was overtaking the American media at the time, many expressed extreme pushback due to the perception that Pepsi’s ad was invalidating the legitimacy of the Black Lives Matter movement.


Pepsi has clearly struggled to integrate business with social responsibility, but they are not the only company with this issue. It seems that with every social or political controversy that arises, another company makes headlines for a misguided statement.


As Sapna Maheshwari said in an article from the New York Times, “in today’s political climate, even pizza, bourbon, and coffee can be partisan issues.” She recalled the day that Jim Beam’s Facebook page turned into a political forum when actress Mila Kunis, spokeswoman for the company, joked on “Conan” that she had been donating to Planned Parenthood under Mike Pence’s name for months.


Planned Parenthood adversaries posted the hashtag #BoycottJimBeam, refusing their support for a company whose values did not align with their own.


Taking political stances doesn’t seem to be a safe marketing move, especially in the age of social media, but is there much of a choice? Modern consumers and employees need to know about the people in charge of the companies they support. Otherwise, where is that sense of purpose?


Perhaps the next challenge for marketing and PR departments will be to do the impossible: learn to make social contributions without offending anyone. If there is a place for business in politics, I’d say it is a very fine line to tread.


Behind the Success of the Notorious UFC Fighter Conor McGregor

By Ha Nguyen

From fighting in front of 500 spectators to fighting one of the best boxers of all time, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Conor McGregor has transformed himself from a novice fighter into a bonafide superstar in just five short years. So, how does he do it? If we ought to know anything about McGregor, we must all have noticed that he is a trash-talker. In fact, he is probably the best trash-talker there is! From his predictions before fights, his extravagant lifestyle, his I – don’t – give – a – damn attitude, to his persona both outside and inside the ring, and of course, who could forget his Irish accent? Everything just comes together in the mix to create what I consider one of the best marketers in the world: Conor McGregor.

Let’s touch on four very crucial marketing tips from Conor McGregor that has had tremendoul impact to his career until today (We all might learn something from this).


  1. McGregor is the creation of his own voice in the market

Conor McGregor is not at all normal. Many consider him a lunatic. In Vietnam, his name does not come up on papers but they just give him a nickname “mad dog of the UFC”. Hell, how would the people in Vietnam even know him? That’s how he had revolutionalized the whole idea of self-branding: his influence is global, he  isn’t just one person anymore. McGregor has became an idea, an image or a brand one might say. He is not afraid to say anything on his mind, and moreover, he is not afraid to take on anyone at any given time. If we follow this fighter through his press conferences, we could see that there is a method behind his madness. He studies his opponent, he learns all of their movements closely. Ultimately, he visualizes himself in the ring with them while beating them and then he tells everyone how he is going to beat his opponent. It is a phenomenon where you visualizes something for so long, you work your heart out to complete that goal and then it comes true. So when Conor McGregor tells people how he’s going to beat his opponent, he says it like a prophecy. McGregor won 18 KO fights out of 21 in his career ( ). It compels people and it truly make them think, is this guy full of it or is he serious? Love him or hate him, you sure would tune it and watch him because it is always so darn interesting.

McGregor and Aldo verbally bashing each other in a press conference in Las Vegas

  1. Confidence. Talk the talk, walk the walk

According to the Independent UK, Conor McGregor’s net worth is 27 million USD purely from his fights with an addition of 7 million USD of sponsorship and endorsements which is incredibly high for someone who has joined the UFC not very long ago. I remember one of Conor McGregor’s most historic fight with Jose Aldo, the best UFC featherweight champion of all time, someone who has been undefeated for over 10 years. Conor McGregor promised everyone that he would knock Jose Aldo out in the first round. And he did! In 13 seconds! McGregor is extremely confident about his abilities and he will never shy away from a challenge. But he doesn’t just talk. Conor backs up his words with his actions which even appeal to the audience even more. Who doesn’t want to watch a fighter who can say the most ridiculous thing in the world and end up doing it. The audience is interested in this kind of thriller that they can experience. That is why his fanbase grew exponentially in the last couple of years. He says that he would do something and then he goes out and do it. This helps him earn trust, prestige and admiration from millions of fans. Even when he lost, he owned his loss by blaming no one, trained his hardest to come back and avenge his loss. This is what makes McGregor so enticing and attractive to viewers.


Conor McGregor posing with his team after winning the belt

  1. McGregor has the right team behind his success

Although McGregor is, in his own right, an individual brand, he knows that without his team, he would never be where he is right now. There is a deep level of respect from McGregor to the people that has always been there for him. He understands clearly that everyone in his team including his coaches, manager, or even his family plays a crucial part in his brand name and that’s why he has never ceased from paying them his reverence. From time to time, he would posts pictures that generates millions of likes (, just to thank his team, his family and the people who work with him (makerting strategy right here). He has always emphasized on how important they are to him and whatever he is doing, it is for his team and his family. It is such an endearing quality that also gives viewers different aspects of the Conor McGregor; not only the “lunatic McGregor” but also the loyal and family man Conor McGregor as well.


Conor McGregor with his girlfriend and son

As much as one can hate the ruthless and arrogant attitude of McGregor, it is undeniably true that he is becoming more and more successful everyday. In the sport of UFC, the audience is the main income of UFC fighters. How much they earn not only depends on how good they are but also how many people are willing to pay for a ticket to see their match. This man used his own image wisely to advertise himself and expand his fame as well as his net worth rapidly over the last few years and I extremely admire him for this.



The NFL’s Black Eye: Is this the end?

By Kirsty Kerr

CTE is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a progressive degenerative brain disease that leads to dementia, memory loss, mood swings, even suicide. This disease has affected millions of youth as well as retired NFL football players. CTE is caused by repetitive hits to the head that damages brain tissue.

The earliest traces of it dates back to boxers in the 1920’s but it has never been as prominent as it is today in the NFL. The late former NFL players Junior Seau, Frank Gifford and Ken Stabler have donated their brains to doctors and the findings were astonishing. Doctors diagnosed all three players with CTE and even suggested that it led to Junior Seau’s suicide. As a result of these findings many people are questioning if it is worth playing in the NFL.
Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 11.47.48

There are now studies that show doctors can detect signs of CTE early in the player’s career. This is not good for the NFL because if young players are told they will develop CTE, they will drop out. Parents could end future hall of famers careers early if they are told their son is in danger of developing CTE. In fact, former great NFL players like Mike Ditka and Drew Brees are not letting their sons play football because of the dangers. Harry Carson refuses to let his grandson play: “I cannot in good conscience allow my grandson to play knowing what I know… I want him to be intelligent; I want him to be brilliant; I want him to be able to use his brain and not his brawn.” Former players advising against their own children playing sends a powerful message to the real danger football poses. I think that these parents are completely entitled to prohibit their sons from playing football because it is not worth the lethal damage it does to your body. More parents should be aware of the reality of CTE to make informed decisions on what their sons should and should not play.


The current worry within the media is that in 10-15 years, the NFL won’t exist or only consist of players who have no other choice. Athletes whose futures don’t depend on a successful football career will quit, but those who do rely on it will have no choice but to play and suffer the consequences. This issue is not fair on those athletes that have no other options and they should be more protected than that. The NFL is at risk of losing future stars, and therefore, deteriorating the league’s overall quality of play.


The NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell has recognized how threatening the public’s knowledge of CTE is for the NFL. He has come out with ways Pop Warner, the youth football league, will be changing their policies and safety precautions to limit concussions in young players. They are teaming up with Heads Up Football to “provide a better, safer way to teach and play the sport”. Together, they have developed new rules such as eliminating kickoffs and banning head-to-head contact in order to ensure a safer game. They also have football experts and health professionals to thoroughly train thousands of coaches on how to properly teach the fundamentals of blocking and tackling without causing severe damage to the opposing player. Hopefully these are not fake efforts to protect their image and rather they are truly taking this problem seriously. Additionally, Goodell has reported that the NFL is making important progress to ensure good health and safety for its players within his commitment letter. These procedures however, may still not be convincing enough to prospective players and parents.
Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 11.47.42

Although the NFL is doing work right now to encourage safe play, football is inevitably a brutal sport so as more people opt out of pursuing a career- the NFL is at risk. The NFL can put 2 pounds of padding in the helmet but as long as there is a 300 pound man running into you like a bus there is very little a helmet can do. This is the reality of the sport and whether there is a solution or not, the NFL must find it quick. If not, we may very well be seeing the downfall of the most watched sport in America.


So You Keep Up With Kardashian West, Too?

By Ha Nguyen

I have never in my life actually sat down and watch a single episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. But if we ever have a conversation about how Kim is trying to get her shape back, how Khloe and Kim and Kylie are all expecting children or how Blac Chyna was such an elephant in the room for the family or anything along those lines, I’m pretty sure the conversation will get interesting because I always seem to know more than I think. This got me thinking, how is it the Kardashians are always on top of their marketing strategies.


Poster of the newest season on E!

             Of all the sisters, Kim Kardashian West (KKW) is probably the most prominent. According to Forbes Magazine, KKW’s net worth is around $45.5 million. Her income is actually from Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality show, her merchandise, new cosmetics brand, recent clothing line for kids with Kanye West – her husband, and who knows what else! Aside from all the rumors, all the emotions (hate or love) toward this woman. How did she do this?

  1. Kim is a “giant” on social media

Let’s be real. In this internet era, being famous on social media is the way to go. With 104 million followers on Instagram ( and 56.4 million followers on Twitter (…), KKW has one of the largest social media followings today. That’s insane. But then, it’s not even about the quantity. Quality matters more. Kim really knows how to use the benefits of her fame on social medias.


As a reality show star, to enhance the “reality” factor, Kim constantly tweets and asks her fan throughout the day questions for their preference, either about clothing or make-up or food decisions. By doing this, the audience feels like they have an insight of her life and they feels like they actually have an impact on her decisions. Instagram wise, according to the Bazaar, out of the whole family, Kim is paid the most for each of her sponsored Instagram post which can go up to $500K(


  1. She turns negative things into business opportunities

Positive and negative, everything that can turn into attention is an opportunity for KKW. To talk about this, we have to go back when it all started. As soon as her identity was recognized by the public, Kim launched her reality show which is now Keeping Up With the Kardashians. A negative event happened suddenly turned into a huge opportunity that makes Kim the successful woman she is right now.

Other negativities that Kim was able to grab and turned into beneficial things for her include the robbery in Paris, Kim’s newly exposed image of being overweight (which she then lost weight and gained back her fame), etc. No kind of crisis can be a downfall in her career. So far, she still much more comparing to other well known reality star and she also established relationships with people in the music industry and so is people in Hollywood. By this way of dealing with scandals and negativities, Kim is able to sustain her income, yet still be famous and have a huge number of fans supporting behind her back. Over the years, Kim became even more famous and she is involved in many businesses including cosmetic, merchandise, and her own app. 

  1. She diversifies her business

Not satisfied with the success she has from Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim pushed herself to expand her business. In the technology industry, she has Kimoji (which is built with the concept of Emoji). Fashion wise, she is collaborating with her husband, Kanye West, for the kids’ clothing line. In Cosmetics, following the successful footsteps of her half sister’s Kylie Jenner, Kim also has her own cosmetic line.  The family’s reality show Keep Up with the Kardashians, of course, is still going strong. This is actually their tenth year anniversary. By diversifying her business, she is able to attract more audience. More audience becomes more customers.


Picture1KKW Beauty Contour Kit.

            So there you have it. Now you know the secret why all of us know so much about of the Kardashians. Personally, I think the Kardashian empire has been growing insanely fast and a massive part of that is undeniably by Kim Kardashian West and her marketing skills.

Dean’s Speaker Andy Donkin

By Maya Kotwal

This week’s speaker for the Dean’s Speaker Series was Andy Donkin, Questrom MBA alum (class of ’93) and the Chief Marketing Officer of Under Armour. He joined the company in August 2016, and previously worked at Amazon, where he led promotional campaigns for FireTV, Kindle, and Prime. Mr. Donkin was recently named one of the 50 Most Innovative CMOs in the world by Business Insider.



The event followed the same format as all Dean’s Speaker events, with Dean Freeman asking some questions, and then hearing questions from the audience.


When speaking about careers and career paths, Mr. Donkin echoed two sentiments that are often passed along to college students: to seek out mentors, and find a job that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. He mentioned that in his career, some companies have had structured mentor-mentee programs, but other do not, and in those scenarios the responsibility falls on you to make connections in the workplace. As for what motivates Mr. Donkin, he summed it up in one simple word: curiosity. He said that he enjoys going to work and working through problems that haven’t been solved before.


Another common touchstone Mr. Donkin spoke about was the importance of accepting that failure is part of the process of innovation. However, an interesting add-on he mentioned was that it’s also important to know when to pull out — when he was at Amazon, they were trying to launch Amazon’s Fire Phone. The project ultimately didn’t work out, and he spoke about how the company realized that they could continue putting money into this venture with the hopes it would eventually take off, or leave, cut their losses, and use it as a learning experience. For me, that was a refreshing take on what can sometimes come across as a tired cliché.

Picture25For me the most interesting  topic Mr. Donkin talked about at the event was the role of digital marketing, and how that might be affecting the marketing industry today.


Like a lot of people my age, I follow many social media influencers across different platforms, so it’s not unusual for me to come across a #ad or #sponsored post in my feed. So I thought it was really cool to hear about that process from the other side of the table — from someone who is creating the marketing ro branding strategy behind the post, instead of someone who is delivering a creative output.


That is actually how Mr. Donkin described the process: the branding executives create a storyboard or framework and present it to the influencer of what the company wants to communicate to the consumer, and the influencer finds a way to authentically relay that message to their followers. He contrasted it from traditional media advertising by saying there’s a distinct loss of control: in traditional media, the company has complete control over the message from the strategy to the script, but in new digital media they don’t have control over the script, and can only control the framework.


As for how the companies try to mitigate the risk of having a sponsor who might reflect negatively on the Under Armour brand, he said that it’s part art and part science. The company looks at how big this person’s reach is, and if their behaviors, values, and interest match up with those of Under Armour to determine if they would be a good match for the brand.


He also pointed out that that loss of company control might sometimes appeal to consumers — when people feel like they are being given a unbiased look at a product by someone whose opinion they value, they might then think more favorably of the brand. This made me think about how many specific products I’ve gone out and looked at, or even purchased based on the recommendation of an influencer I follow.



5 Reasons You Should Consider HubSpot, From A Former Intern


By Tom Adams

For those who have heard of HubSpot, you may know them best for their Culture Code. Emphasizing a transparent, personable, and empathetic company culture, this vision remains synonymous with the inbound ideology that powers the company’s robust marketing automation software. HubSpot’s a marketing automation SaaS company based in Cambridge that sells its software from small businesses to large corporations.


On Tuesday, October 10th, the BU Marketing Club hosted Senior Field Marketing Manager Juliana Nicholson to speak about HubSpot. She walked members through the step-by-step process of the Inbound Marketing Methodology, summarized the company’s view on the future of marketing, and explained why all this matters to us as aspiring marketing professionals. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s the link to her slides.

Also, let’s get this straight – Juliana is seriously the BOMB. I had the privilege of working as her intern within the Field Marketing team over the summer, so I thought I’d add to her presentation by outlining some of my key takeaways my internship experience.

  1. HubSpot employees’ (or “HubSpotters”, for short) are always eager to help, whether it’s a technical or directions to the closest beer tap.

 On my first day on the job, if you asked me what exactly HubSpot did, I’m not too sure I could’ve told you other than throwing out the word “inbound” and hoping it stuck. My position within sales enablement/marketing realm meant that I needed to know HubSpot’s product like the back of my hand if I wanted to create impactful marketing material.

However, my lack of product-specific knowledge made me realize why makes working at HubSpot so great – it’s the people. HubSpotters’ calendars are entirely open – grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat with another employee is truly a tenant of the company’s culture and expected of new employees. For example, if I had a technical question about the software, or wanted to know how a specific salesperson sells the product, I could reach out and schedule a time to sit down and talk about it. Not only was this a casual, laid-back way of gaining technical knowledge, but also an amazing outlet to network.


While the full-time employees I worked with were truly remarkable, I’d be leaving out a huge chunk of my experience if I didn’t mention the other interns I had the pleasure of working with. They’re awesome.



2. There’s little handholding and HubSpot moves fast – but that’s a good thing.

Even though HubSpotters are always more than happy to help, there’s little handholding when it comes to getting your work done as an intern. You hit the ground running, so keeping prioritized is absolutely key to performing in your position.

I’m not going to lie – I initially really struggled with this. The pace of the work is blisteringly fast, and it contrasted my experience in previous internships. In the past, I’d normally receive tasks one-by-one, and given more responsibility as I completed what was asked of me. Big projects wouldn’t come up much.

HubSpot was the polar opposite. On my first day, I received my “100 Day Document” from Juliana, outlining all the projects and tasks that I would be doing the entire summer. Through some long, stressful days feeling like I was being pulled in a million different directions, I learned the hard way to effectively strategize my day. The pace of work at HubSpot is blisteringly fast, so with same-day deadlines and impromptu projects popping up, this skill proved to be absolutely key.

3. I loved being responsible for “start-to-end” projects that had real business impact.

While at HubSpot, I was able to execute a ton of projects that I saw through from conception to completion. For example, one of my projects was to build separate webpages from the ground up about how HubSpot software can help companies in different industries.

The purpose of these webpages was to direct prospective customers to book a sales call with a rep. To make sure this collateral was the most informative it could be, I ran a focus group with tenured sales reps to figure out the questions and concerns that prospects usually ask them. I used their feedback as I drafted the copy, tested different webpage layouts, and did (super basic) graphic design.

Now published on the HubSpot website, these webpages are now a really powerful tool for the sales team. Prospective customers can learn more about how HubSpot specifically helps them, and come to a sales call better informed.

On top of that, I created a case study for Epec technologies, showcasing how they leveraged HubSpot’s software to grow their business. I did background research, interviewed senior leadership, and wrote a case on the whole thing. This is also used as sales collateral, reinforcing HubSpot’s credibility within the market.

It’s so rewarding to have a key role in impactful projects that are still used long after the completion of my internship. Just to be clear, I definitely couldn’t have done it without Juliana’s guidance!

(If you’re interested, you can check the page I made for the manufacturing industry here, and the case study here.)

4. HubSpot’s global presence allowed me to work hand-in-hand with colleagues around the world.

HubSpot has seven offices globally, and is continuing to grow like crazy. During the course of my internship, I had the opportunity to work with colleagues from all over the world. I collaborated on email marketing with another intern in Dublin, and conducted meetings with marketing managers in Australia and Latin America.

Having this ability to take advantage of HubSpot’s international presence was one of the most memorable aspects of my internship, since allowing interns to take advantage of global relationships is something I definitely wasn’t expecting.


5. Last but not least, who could forget the perks?

HubSpot has a ridiculous amount of perks. A coffee and beer garden, unlimited vacation, an in-office meditation room, free Hubway membership, company outings, free dinners, dog friendly office space, free snacks… the list seriously goes on and on.

All in all, interning at HubSpot this summer was a truly amazing, rewarding experience. I fell in love with the tech/SaaS industry and definitely want to continue my marketing career down that path.

This post is really only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I did too, so feel free to reach out with any other questions! If you’re interested in an internship opportunity, you can check out HubSpot’s careers page.


Oops! We Did It Again Millennials Have Killed Another Industry

By Maya Kotwal

If you are like me and spend an inordinate amount of time on the Internet, you may have noticed some articles floating around recently proclaiming that millennials are “killing” various industries — napkins, beer, cereal, and golf, to name a few.

In case you haven’t heard of this phenomenon allow me to clue you in: recently, several industries have been seemingly dying out due to changes in consumer buying habits.

picture 14.pngExcept, it’s not exactly a change in consumer spending pattern causing this, it’s a shift in consumer buying power. Millennials are a demographic of people in the US, usually defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 — people in their twenties and thirties today — who make up a significant portion of the US consumer market. In fact, Accenture predicts that by 2020 Millennials will have nearly $1.4 trillion in spending power in the US, and will represent 30% of retail sales.


As millennials grow to have more buying power, their buying habits have the power to shape which business sectors thrive and which do not. Unfortunately for some industries, millennials’ tastes vary from the generations before them, thus bringing forth the end of some industries.



The most recent victim of this pattern of behavior is department stores. According to NBC news, traditional department stores, like Macy’s, are closing stores, while off-price retailers, like TJ Maxx, are opening more. Personally, I can attest to this — there’s a Nordstrom Rack near my house that I love going to, and I tend to buy much less from bigger department stores in the mall, which ironically enough includes the real Nordstrom.

This change in store openings and closings reflects the buying trends of millennials, as we seem to be more inclined to shopping in discount stores instead of full-price retailers. This goes against what is often believed about millennial shopping habits: that we only shop online. While this may be true to a certain extent, it seems we still like going to stores to see products in real life — just not the same types of stores the generations before us frequented.


By Ha Nguyen

Colourpop, the cruelty-free claim, low budget, trendy cosmetic brand has been captivating the heart of many millennials in America and all around the world over the past few years. This company has been able to keep the price of their products low and provide high quality goods and also customer services. As intelligent consumers, many make up lovers have chosen Colourpop over other high-end cosmetic brands. So what makes this brand so successful?


  1. The brand takes over social media

In the age when internet has all the information, Colourpop’s strongest marketing campaign is how well they use social medias. With 5.1 million followers on Instagram (, the brand is able to reach to its targeted audience – younger people. Aside from Instagram, it is never difficult to find Colourpop on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat with very concise, “trendy” captions that are able to impress the readers without tiring them from reading. 



2. Colourpop takes visuals and packaging very seriously

Colourpop’s most effective way of reaching out to their customers is through social media. Moreover, they sell their products effectively through the online website. There is no way for customers to actually touch and feel the products before they want to purchase. Due to these factors, Colourpop focuses on the graphic designs of their website. There is always a coherent theme throughout: vibrant, young and colorful. The company always has swatches of their products on three skin tones: pale, medium and deep (which also expands their range of target customers).

picture 25.pngThe brand’s packaging is always kept at the lowest cost by using white plastic while a lot of cosmetic brands these days lean toward using metallic material. ( However, they evidently invest heavily in designing their packaging. The design is fun and very eye catching and, yes, extremely appealing to customers.  In addition to low production costs, the appearance of the packaging and visual factors really boost Coloupop’s sale over the past few years.


3. Colourpop is coming to Sephora in November

Last but not least, all make up lovers know that Colourpop is coming to Sephora in November this year. This would be such a huge leap for the brand as a marketing strategy. Normally, only mid range to high end priced brands are featured in Sephora. Colourpop is going to be the first budget-friendly brand to be featured. The fact that Colourpop is going to be on the shelves of Sephora really elevates the actual value of the products because their products are being placed in the same store with highly priced brands such as Dior, Too Faced, Kat Von D, etc. Moreover, being featured in Sephora would give Colourpop lovers to be able to test the product physically before actually buying them.

Along with an excellent customer service system and high quality products, Colourpop’s marketing strategy really help the company to maintain a great relationship with customers as well as keep them well informed. I do believe that with this very creative path of expanding, Colourpop is going to continue to rule the low budget cosmetic world in the future.








The Complete Guide to Creating an Infographic


By Neha Saboo 

Does anyone else feel muddled or confused seeing too many numbers at once? Or how about too much text on a power point slide? There’s a reason why infographics rose in recent years, why professors continually tell us to have minimal print on our slides and why we like seeing more pictures, less words.

Studies show that the human brain processes images nearly 60,000 times faster than normal text and this is why infographics have become such a powerful tool of effective communication. And as they become

As infographics become increasingly ubiquitous, the BU Marketing Club decided to come together and tell you the ingredients for a perfect infographic.

  1. Know what you want your infographic to say



Keeping a vision in your mind for the image will help you focus your data, keep it relevant and clear. Every infographic is created to convey one big idea with the help of a blend of images, text and data.

In this minimal chart, you can see how simply we are able to understand the message being conveyed with the help of contrasting colors and call-outs. Make sure to use reputable sources for the data being used.

  1. Don’t use weird layouts!

We’re all for exploring with different formats and types of charts but, take a step back and put yourself in the audience’s shoes. It may look fun and different, but will it be easy to read and understand?



Now the chart above may certainly be creative and colorful, but a bar or line chart may get the job done more impactfully. Additionally, limiting the color palette will ensure a cleaner and more polished design.


  1. Your data should tell a story


An infographic at first glance may seem to be just a bunch of numbers and data; however, multiple writers, marketers and creative directors seem to agree that infographics need context, they cannot be dry numbers. When speaking to iMedia, Adam Keats, SVP of Digital at Weber Shandwick says, “The best infographics strike a balance between the rational information that needs to be conveyed and the emotional attachment an audience to visual depiction.”




The pictorial graph above states a simple statistic, but doesn’t raise any probing questions.

When used correctly, data will raise questions, start conversations and will be shared on social media platforms. Marketers need to create not only a relevant and engaging infographic but also tell a story to go along with it.


  1. White space is a must!

 Any web developer, blogger and graphic designer will tell you white space is needed. White space allows us to digest content easily, in bite-sizes. Even in coding courses, they don’t just want you to keep the code clean and organized, they want spaces in between it – so that you understand it just as easily when you or other web developers come back to it. Too much data cramped into an image won’t give off a direct message. Rather, it will only confuse you and sooner than you know, you’ll be distracted.



  1. Your headline is everything

 Whether it’s books, articles, newspapers or TV shows – you always notice the title of these things first. And then if you’re intrigued, you go further down to see what it’s about. And the same goes for infographics. You want to pull them in, but not give away everything.



In this case, the infographic provides a short informative title that the reader, at first glance would want to know more about. A wordier title would not get as many views as this one. 

  1. Promotion is everything!

 As with any form of content marketing, infographics too have to be shared and promoted to gain multiple views. The first thing to do is to add social plug-ins for your infographic, offering multiple options for viewers to be able to share them. Reach out to influencers and users in your network for features and collaborations.

One of the first things you learn in fundamental business classes is that even if your product is available to buy doesn’t mean it will be an immediate success. You have to promote it, make people aware of its existence and give them a reason to buy it. The same goes for your infographic – you have to create a powerful image for it to gain popularity.