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Gabriel Marguglio July 7, 2020 17 min read

MarTech Masters: How HubSpot Academy Adapted to Remote Video Recording

Kevin Dunn Hubspot Academy Adapting to Remote Video


This week on MarTech Masters, Gabriel sits down with the HubSpot Academy’s Manager of Education, Kevin Dunn. Join us as we discuss all things remote video and how the HubSpot Academy team has managed to continue to produce new content while working from home. Along with that, some tips on remote video solutions and agency trends you won’t want to miss.


Listen to the Podcast version of this episode:

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  1. Introducing Kevin Dunn and HubSpot Academy (1:07)
  2. How Has HubSpot Academy Adapted for Remote Video? (2:23)
  3. How Has a Crisis Forced Everyone to Rethink Their Processes? (5:20)
  4. What Learning Opportunities Did You Find During the Process with HubSpot? (5:53)
  5. Adapting Video to Remote Services (7:45)
  6. Organizing Your Team and New Content Remotely (9:54)
  7. The Future of Content Production and Working Remotely (10:25)


Mentioned Resources

The Software Tech Stack of an Episodic Video Series

Agency UnFiltered

HubSpot Academy


Video Marketing Guide


Episode Transcript

Gabriel: Hello everybody and welcome back to MarTech Masters. Today I have my friend Kevin Dunn from HubSpot. Kevin, thank you for coming and thank you for being here today.

Kevin: Yeah, happy to be here. Happy to always collaborate with the Nextiny team on some content. So, you know, I think I'd prefer to be in Florida taping in person with you guys but obviously the next best thing is to jump on a video. So, this is great. Thanks for having me.

Gabriel: It's good to have nice nice people from HubSpot and and and again Kevin has been a great partner for us but he's also a good friend. He's been in Sarasota for our workshops so every time we can collaborate, we do it and this is an awesome opportunity to collaborate and share some good stuff.

Kevin is the Manager of Education of the HubSpot Academy and he also hosts the Agency Unfiltered video series. So, he has a lot of things that he can share about not just video but how they manage that during the pandemic.

So, first of all, tell us a little bit about you Kevin for anybody that doesn't know you and a little bit about the different projects that you have.


Introducing Kevin Dunn and HubSpot Academy (1:07)

Kevin: Yeah, for sure. So, I've been at HubSpot for about four and a half years. I actually came in as a channel consultant so the success point of contact for you know, forty or fifty of our solutions partners at the time agency partner has been our solutions partners. And then maybe like two and a half years ago I moved over to the academy team and so now I'm the manager of education for our partner and developer content.

So, I help shape the curriculum and prioritize the right education and manage the professors who build our education specific for solutions partners and for our developer community as well.

You may see me on the solutions partner certification and some of the other content in the academy app but as you use kind of teed up for me, Gabe, also run Agency Unfiltered. So it's our podcast and web series for our solutions partners. We interview partners from around the globe about a handful of operational tips and tactics and tricks and really unique things that our partners are doing for running their businesses operationally. Help them grow and scale and you know let's get those learnings out to the wider the wider audience of partners.

How Has HubSpot Academy Adapted for Remote Video? (2:23)

Gabriel: That's awesome. So, during these very trying times that we're going through, you being again, you have the HubSpot Academy which is video in person with a team and pretty much HubSpot became a remote company as many other companies.

So, how has it been the transition of taking the HubSpot Academy and recording from home and having these you know these people do all the the production and managing cameras and all of that stuff I know you have an amazing video team but tell us more about the process of taking the whole operation and moving it into remote.

Kevin: Yeah, and so, obviously, I feel like every business on the planet right? We were forced to adapt and to rethink the way that we create our product which was, you know, video based education for the academy app.

As you pointed out we have a studio in our Cambridge office we have a full video team that helps us with filming in the production making sure you know we look good and sound good throughout the whole taping and so we had to rethink that model. So major hat tip to the video team too because now their role in the whole process changes, right? They have to be more video consultants than the folks actually operating our cameras. So what we ended up doing was building some lightweight video like we'll call them care packages such as iPads, ring lights, lapel mics, cord extensions, and everything you would need and we ship those out to our you know twelve fourteen professors globally.

And so the video team had to again take that consultant role of okay let's walk around your house let's find a good place that that has good audio, seems like it's good lighting, will help you with the assembly and the de-assembly of the disassembling of all this equipment, will run through some cuts.

And so you know the video team has always been our security blanket like I don't know how to operate a camera right, I don't know where to start and stop, how to work the teleprompter app on the iPad and some of those other things, and so putting that into the hands of the professors I mean again hat tip to them as well to just embrace this change. But, Gabriel, I'll tell you this too.

"(The pandemic) didn't so much invent a new process for us as much as expedite a process we know or we knew we needed to lean into."

We're starting to expand our professor group globally so now we have a professor in Colombia and Berlin and Dublin and we're trying to create content in French and German and Spanish and it's not going to make sense for them to fly to Cambridge every single time they have to help us build a course. So building these you know care packages to enable folks to create content globally wherever you are on the planet so something we needed to do anyway so you know just expedited our timeline.


How Has a Crisis Forced Everyone to Rethink Their Processes? (5:20)

Gabriel: I believe that I've been hearing that a lot and we've been feeling the same way ourselves and also with our customers how the this crisis and it happens with every crisis you have to be you know ingenuity you have to you have to use your resources at your disposal and save and and try to avoid issues. And it has been forcing everybody to get into whatever process that they were already thinking or trying or one one thing that we were talking to Mikita the CEO of PandaDoc the other day and he's like we're living in the future.

And it's so so true. Like we were forced to live in the future because there is no other way to do it right now. So very interesting that you were already thinking okay how do we do this and now it's like we have the process so it's awesome.

Now, what are some of the problems that you guys had? How did you fix those and what are some of the learning opportunities? What did you learn through the process of doing this?


What Learning Opportunities Did You Find During the Process with HubSpot? (5:53)

Kevin: Yeah, I mean I think historically our sentiment to like maybe one of the blockers in our own heads is to like why we weren't embracing this remote filming process was listen the the style the tone like the the HubSpot Academy brand is wood paneling or a pastel backdrop right a single color backdrop and so I think just again with with how everything unfolded across the globe like that the general sentiment actually is you know we're open and we all are dealing with the same issues.

So, filming content from our living room—if Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert can do it like obviously HubSpot Academy can too. And so just I think the willingness to lean into that helped.

But rolling out the remote video process like probably with anything new came with its own set of challenges, you know, you don't know what you don't know, right until you just get into it.

So, some of the minute issues like finding the best video recording apps or like teleprompter apps like how can we make sure that everything orients the way I need it to so I'm looking at the camera when reading my script and it doesn't look like I'm over here but the cameras here right?

So, just like little things like that that you have to triage as they come up. What's the intensity so you're not just like washed out in ring light because those things we know are super powerful. And and so yeah just I would say with any video production you guys probably have to deal with it too but putting it on the professors to lead the triage versus having the security blanket of a video team right? So a handful of things that came up but props to the team for taking those on and working through it.


Adapting Video to Remote Services (7:45)

Gabriel: Yeah and we've had to pretty much do the same thing with all of our customers that we're doing video and we're doing video remote and helping them and coaching them. And as you said the video team became more of a consulting team where we're like on zoom helping you figure it out remotely instead of being, you know, there actually trying actually doing it you're doing it now and we're helping you figure it out.

So, it is what it is you gotta do what you gotta do right like that's that's life. And it also brings opportunities to say hold on now we're saving all this money this time we're not moving people around the world for no reason at all we can record 24/7 like there are so many opportunities that come from the crisis and actually thinking through ways to do this differently right?

Kevin: I mean, yeah, you're spot-on.

"I mean, historically you know we could film one active project at a time because you can only have one professor in our studio working with the video team to record that content. But if we're now saying we're comfortable with remote filming or filming our educational content at home you know, why can't three projects film simultaneously?"

So, does it actually improve the efficiency and the professors ability to record education and what does that mean for the rest of our timeline? I'm so excited to see and again now travel isn't a blocker for our professors located in Dublin for example and so they can record you know back home and so again timelines it's gonna be really really fun to see what the ripple effect is on.

Gabriel: That's great and and it gives people more freedom to, you know, also stay more with their family like this these are things that HubSpot was already pushing the the whole message of working from home and and giving people you know more time with their family and not so much driving every day in traffic and things like that. So, it actually goes back to what you guys believed and what you were trying to do anyway so it's awesome awesome awesome.


Organizing Your Team and New Content Remotely (9:54)

Kevin: And I will say this too, is that it's not just the the recording process that's necessarily changed we've actually had to put a magnifying glass on a lot of our back-end systems as well so now that we have professors across the globe where and how and when do we store our educational content assets?

And so we've actually leaned into a new system for single source content management. So everything from every professor for every project every course it's all in one place we can track revision history. We can track the localized branches of our content so when our solutions partner services roll out in Spanish and French and German it's all there too. So, we've made a big investment in that regard and, again, I would say these two things have to go hand in hand.


The Future of Content Production and Working Remotely (10:25)

Gabriel: That's awesome, that's awesome. So, now on the side of the Agency Unfiltered, do you anticipate any changes? Are you gonna make that into a remote series? Like what do you anticipate happening in the future for agency unfiltered?

Kevin: Yeah, so, as you know, my primary methods for capturing interviews and recording that content is at our partner events in the spring, at inbound in the fall or in the summer, and then at HubSpot user groups across the country or wherever. And so obviously Covid-19 and some other things put a pause on a lot of in-person events and so similar to the video recording process I'm also going to lean into a remote filming process so probably very much what we have setup right now is what I'll be doing for agency unfiltered, so a lot of the upcoming content that you see late summer early fall into the winter will be recorded remotely as well.

Gabriel: That's perfect, that's perfect. So, you talk to a lot of agencies because of Agency Unfiltered and you're continuously in contact with them, so have you heard from them on anything regarding adapting to these changes? And I know that you know some people are getting out and reopening; things are changing as we speak and it also depends on where you are, the state you know, how many cases and things like that, but have you seen any big changes big shifts in agencies and also opportunities that came out of it?

Kevin: Yeah, I would say yeah. Changes and opportunities for sure.

"I would say the first thing is everyone seems to be taking a good hard look at their physical workspace or their office right and saying wait a minute it's been four months or however long like do we need this? You know and so a handful of agencies I've talked to are thinking about just you know not renewing their leases or renewing their workspaces and just going fully remote with their team. "

Obviously, you know, the concern is that if everyone's remote production goes down or people don't work as hard or whatever those thoughts are and I think everyone is kind of proving the point that that's not the case. And so I'm seeing a ton of agencies and a ton of our partners rethink the way in which they collaborate and work remotely.

And obviously there's some leaders in that space too but also what does that now mean for hiring and sourcing talent and acquiring talent is that you know they're not limited to their commute to your physical office space, right? So people are now rethinking where and how and where and how they find talent and are they open to finding people, you know, not in their city or not even in their state or not even in their country for those critical hires that are tough to find folks for.

So, workspace the way you hire and grow your teams I'm seeing that seeing that as a major change.

Gabriel: Those are gonna be those are gonna be some good episodes of agency unfiltered season three right?

Kevin: Yeah man I'm bad you know I don't know why it doesn't answer (or five!) for me but my seasons are just so subjective you know like every like ten or twelve I'll tack a new season on so.

Gabriel: So, Kevin again thank you for sharing all of this. Anything else you want to share this is your time we always try to give our guests and thank you for being here today we really appreciate you connecting considering everything that's happening and how busy everybody is. But do you have anything to share from the economy or the agency unfiltered side of things?

Kevin: Yeah I mean I think just one last note in regards to opportunities for partners too, I would say the timing is ripe for a quick look at your menu of services. I think businesses need help with crisis communications and in rethinking the tone of their messaging in their marketing assets and how they can lean into video for internal collaboration or how they can get their salespeople on zoom and setting up meetings digitally.

So, I think there's a huge servicing opportunities for partners as other businesses try and navigate this new landscape for doing business.

But, in regards to what might be coming up from HubSpot Academy, a very exciting event I don't think I've really shared this in too many places yet so what we actually have planned it's gonna be on July 10th and the event is called World Certification Day. And so it's actually built on the success that one of our partners SmartBug has seen they run a quarterly certification day across their whole team to prioritize learning and development and achieving the right certifications in the Academy app.

And so big virtual global event for our entire Academy community and say on July 10 all of us let's all find the right certifications to take and commit to achieving as many certifications we can on July 10th.

"And what's really cool about the event is that for every certification that is awarded and HubSpot Academy on July 10th, I will donate $5 like US dollars to UNICEF to help support their mission to bring equitable education across the globe. "

So you can prioritize your team's learning and development while also trying to spread education which we feel is a human right to the folks that need it the most across the planet.

Gabriel: That's great and as you know we're very involved in the HubSpot Academy and we we have in our office that we haven't seen for for some time now a big world with all the certifications and we will definitely be part of the event. I can't wait, the team's gonna be super excited to do that too. And we have some new hires so that's also great for her to be part of it. So thank you again Kevin anything else you want to share?

Kevin: No, I mean you guys have always been big advocates and big champions for HubSpot and HubSpot Academy so we very much appreciate that. We look forward to working with you guys and seeing you guys on the 10th for Certification Day. For folks, CertificationDay.com will take you to the website and give you all the details. So, check that out CertificationDay.com. But yeah always a pleasure chatting with you guys. Thanks, Gabe, for having me on.

Gabriel: Thank you, Kevin and thank you for your partnership. We love HubSpot and we also love how we are developing more and more relationships internally and your partnership and has been amazing over the years, thank you.

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