The Head of Marketing of a Leading Tech Marketing Company Discusses the Challenges and Opportunities in Pulling off a Successful Acquisition in 2018
Martech companies have understood the importance of continuous innovation, and dedicated customer success to stay on top of their competition. One of the key trends in martech is the rise of mergers and acquisitions, especially among the unicorns and start-ups that provide platforms for marketing automation, email capabilities, social media analytics and data management and analytics. Lifecycle Marketing company, Optimove is sprinting on this track of tech acquisitions; it acquired Powerinbox DynamicMail business. To better understand how the acquisition would benefit tech marketing company Optimove’s B2B customers, we spoke to their spokesperson Amit Bivas, Head of Marketing.
How did you prepare your company for the acquisition?
First and foremost, we focused on the people. We interviewed all of the employees that were planning to join Optimove to ensure they shared our values, believed in our mission and fit our culture. We were committed to transparency throughout the process and briefed all department managers that would have new employees join their teams to make sure all team members were aware of the incoming additions.
When it came to the new and exciting technology we would be integrating into our platform, we focused on allocating the required development resources to ensure as seamless an integration as we could, so both our employees and users could start leveraging this powerful technology as soon as possible.
How do you plan to extend the benefits of this acquisition to your existing customers and prospects?
This acquisition increases the overall emotional intelligence of our platform, expands our customers’ email capabilities and underscores Optimove’s commitment to bring our clients best-in-class technologies.
Our customers can now automatically render personalized, interactive content within emails in real-time; for example, excluding products that are no longer in stock, or adjusting content to reflect the weather at a customer’s specific location. This will put our customers well ahead of the curve, as only a quarter of email marketers are currently using automation for personalization through dynamic content.
Emotional intelligence is a key element in all that we do, and dynamic email will empower the 300+ brands we work with to communicate more effectively with their customers and provide outstanding customer experiences in email campaigns.
Optimove believes that all communication between a brand and customer should be as relevant and personalized as possible, both in terms of content and timing, and this acquisition will help marketers make sure this principle is followed in all email communications. As 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with brands offering personalized experiences, we expect this to result in not only more loyal customers, but more engaged customers.
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What is the state of Relationship Marketing in 2018? How does this acquisition refine your platform?
As people are increasingly inundated with marketing messages (experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day) relationship marketing is more important than ever.
Brands need to stand out from the pack, and how can they do that?
By focusing on relationships. 63% of Gen Z and Millennials agree they have many choices of where to shop, so a brand must show them loyalty to earn their business.
Rather than trying to be all things to all people, brands should be focusing on segmenting customers into highly-specific groups and offering the right messages for each group. Loyalty is a two-way street, meaning a brand cannot expect a customer to be loyal to them if they are not loyal in return. In practice, this means rewarding loyal customers with things like personalized promotions, emotionally intelligent communications, and loyalty programs; customers will continue purchasing from brands that make them feel valued and wanted.
Our acquisition of the DynamicMail business from PowerInbox arms customers with yet another tactic to form and foster long-lasting relationships with customers. By bringing personalized, interactive content within emails, we are able to expand upon and reinforce our existing email “muscle,” Optimail.
Overall, this acquisition is just another example of our commitment to empowering marketers with the tools they need to take a scientific approach to relationship marketing.
What major challenges did you overcome in your Marketing, Sales and Product Innovation roadmap for the past two years?
Most importantly, we were able to consistently deliver on our data-driven marketing promise. Optimove was born as a left brain solution, empowering brands to model their customers, predict their behaviors and anticipate their preferences. We quickly came to an understanding that insight is not enough.
Marketers need the ability to intuitively execute based on insight. This led us to develop our “right brain” capabilities, empowering marketers to take action based on insight, in the form of campaign execution.
However, this still was not enough, we felt, to fully deliver on the promise of data for our customers, as the vast (and growing) amount of customer data can be overwhelming for marketers. That is what drove us to build a connection between the right and left brain in the form of artificial intelligence and the creation of Optibot. Rather than having marketers manually dig through data, Optibot combs through it for them, and most importantly, surfaces recommendations and insights based upon the data.
Examples include identifying which segments are being neglected or too general, which customers are overexposed to marketing materials and what campaigns work best for each customer.
Most recently, we have extended the definition of relationship marketing by introducing the visitor lifecycle stage, enabling brands to target anonymous users with CRM campaigns.
As a marketing company, what new geographies and markets are you aiming to expand your business?
We have an established brand and presence in North America and EMEA. This year, we have started investing in expanding into APAC and Oceania, particularly Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and Australia.
What are the major areas of improvement you expect to see in the tech startup ecosystem?
Today, you see many marketing initiatives focusing on selling big promises that ultimately lag behind actual product capabilities. I expect to see many startups moving forward to do a better job of closing the gap between promise and delivery — a crucial step to maintaining long-term, sustainable success as a business. There is still plenty of room to grow, but with technology buyers becoming more advanced and technology providers more creative, I believe we will see more and more companies successfully shrinking this gap.
Should new startups or any incubating marketing company jump over the AI bandwagon?
As we’re all aware, the hype around artificial intelligence is only growing and startups are rushing to adopt it into their organizations. And we don’t blame them! AI is a powerful, needle-moving tool. At Optimove, we employ science-driven AI, which allows customers to take advantage of AI-driven segmentation capabilities and predictive data tools.
Recommended Read: Contextual Content and AI: The New Wingmen for Email Marketing Campaigns
For example, by employing our AI technology, Adore Me was able to cater highly targeted campaigns to specific customer groups, increasing relevancy and probability of purchase. Tangible results included 2.3 times growth in active customers, a 22 percent increase in average order amount and a 15% increase in monthly revenue generated specifically by Optimove-driven campaigns.
However, before jumping on the bandwagon blind, first and foremost it’s essential to make sure a startup is employing AI for the right reasons (i.e. to benefit your customers), opposed to just so they can say they “do AI.”
Many startups also significantly underestimate the expertise and time required to fully implement and adapt to a new way of doing things. In order to successfully implement new technologies like AI, marketers need to recruit more sophisticated AI talent to oversee complicated R&D processes, traditionally not managed by CMOs. Many will need to seek out more advanced expertise to select between AI technology vendors and their sometimes vague, fluffy marketing collateral. Finding out if a vendor is actually using science-driven AI can be incredibly difficult if your team is not equipped with the proper expertise.
Effective planning to guide decision-making and implementation of AI technologies is not only beneficial to marketers but to the overall brand and customers, as getting it right means marketers can effectively leverage AI to communicate with customers better than ever before.
Thank you, Amit for chatting with us on your product roadmap and marketing game plan for the future!