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Case Study: Daring To Be Different

Sophie Blaine

Marketing Specialist - 12 Jan, 2021

Alex Birkett shares how he fosters innovation at HubSpot

Alex Birkett has always had a keen interest in entrepreneurship and has an entrepreneurial mindset in his career ventures. Birkett had already begun to showcase his creativity in fifth grade, having started a clothing store selling comedic shirts to his classmates. He even hired interns and started up an online store — it comes as no surprise that his unique talents for business would take him far in his career. Like many of us, his career path was not always clear, and it took some self-reflection to realize what steps to take. Birkett started college as a music major and later found it more of a hobby than what he wanted out of his career. His inspiration transpired after watching Mad Men, and his interest piqued in advertising. Throughout this journey, Alex continued to showcase his talents for pushing the entrepreneurial envelope.

“Still to this day, l have more of an interest in entrepreneurship and have never really looked at myself as a marketer.”

Alex is the Senior Growth and Marketing Manager at Hubspot, a platform for CRM. Despite the job title, Alex still works with an entrepreneurial mindset, and that has taken him to start his marketing agency in 2019, Omniscient. This problem-solving marketer has a lot on his plate and has always tried to stand out from the crowd in everything he does. Alex knows it’s natural to want to reduce the risk of standing out — blend with the sheep because often the herd’s voice is right, but blending can be very boring. Alex notes that the best marketers are those that do not shy away from the risk of being different; they “looked at the way something is done and did something completely noteworthy because that gets attention.” He looks at marketers’ sameness as an opportunity to truly stand out and challenge the status quo.

Alex on panel

Alex Birkett shares how he preserves his energy, balances his workload, and creates meaningful work

“I work in very, very short sprints of highly intense work”

Birkett has the work style of a lion searching for its prey — his short bursts of energy output his best work, and then he can give himself breaks throughout the day. Alex takes a unique approach to everything he does and has never fit into the typical 9 to 5 workday. He points out that working long hours will only lead you to burn out quicker and produce average results. Wholly immersed in deep work is when Alex can get down to the root of complex problems and brainstorm cutting edge solutions.

Alex isn’t much of a power tool user and admits that he doesn’t enjoy managing his inbox, but Shift has allowed him to aggregate his email and streamline his communication. With Shift, following up with multiple email accounts in a day is made much easier, and as Alex says, “anything that can aggregate email for me and put it all in one place is of value just by itself.” Spending less time sifting through emails allows Alex to really immerse himself in work that he finds exciting and challenging.

Alex in the mountains

Alex’s advice for innovative marketers looking for their start

There is no better superpower than being able to well-articulate your ideas. Alex encourages young business people to polish their writing skills to put those ideas to fruition.

“I think writing is the superpower that has leveraged effects in that you can work on something, and then you can explain it to your team.”

Alex Burkett recommends you spend some time on your personal brand — starting a blog, writing out tweets or Linkedin posts, and connecting with as many people as possible. The unfortunate reality of not communicating effectively is that “you could be working on really cool things and not be able to explain this to other people or reach other people.” In the business world, that could be detrimental to career development. So approach problems like Alex Birkett — head-on, with a thirst for knowledge and creative solutions.