Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Two marketing technology vendors of different ilk but similar ambition have landed in Australia in recent months, claiming solutions that can meet the needs of the nation’s neglected mid-market sector.
Emma is a US-based email marketing software player that has been around for more than a decade. The company has 45,000 clients worldwide and 350 customers across Asia-Pacific, the majority of which are in Australia and New Zealand.
This year, Emma has grown its headcount by more than 50 per cent, acquired marketing software provider, Boomerang, and opened its first international office in Melbourne with six staff, appointing former Eservices co-founder and email marketing veteran, Simon O’Day, as its global VP. Eservices was acquired by Responsys in 2011, which in turn was bought by Oracle in 2013.
O’Day told CMO he initially became a board advisor to Emma, and said the “bootstrapped company from Tennessee” had initially been focused on the SMB marketer.
Thanks to the rapid consolidation of email and campaign marketing technologies into enterprise-grade marketing clouds maintained by the likes of Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe and IBM, he claimed a greenfield opportunity has emerged to address Australia’s mid-market. To help, the business has secured $5 million in investment capital to expand internationally.
“You think about all the advancement in that area, what Emma and what I are working on globally is to bring those features, marketing sophistication and success into the mid-market because it’s wide open,” he said.
“Midmarket is this area where marketers are yearning for a better way of using that feature mix that enterprise has adopted for millions of dollars, but at a strong solutions level.”
While enterprise players such as Oracle and Salesforce are endeavouring to work their way down from enterprise, O’Day claimed none are particularly successful at addressing mid-market marketers. In contrast, he identified Emma’s sweet spot as organisations with a dedicated marketing team and where marketing has a distinct role and focus on driving business goals, with a base of 20,000-100,000 customers and potentially up to 1000 seats.
“You’re just not doing email, you’re doing cross-channel lifecycle and things that affect your business,” O’Day said. “We want to democratise this technology.”
O’Day also claimed there are too many features being offered for the price. “These products are over sophisticated for what marketers need on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “They need sophistication but not that much, and not at that price.
“If you think about feature sets that really make a difference for marketers, there’s a top three that really revolve around data. These are: How you’re getting data integration in and out of your core systems like CRM and ecommerce; how are you advancing from a campaign methodology and manual process into more thoughtful orchestration using automation; and finally, how are you advancing your targeting and using data in a more sophisticated way to get to one-to-one. Dynamic content is something very few people are good at it still.”
According to O’Day, Emma’s value proposition is about bringing these features to the mid-market in an intuitive way. He claimed this is reflected in the vendor’s focus on the user interface and dashboards, as well as features such as building out content and creative, creating EDMs, setting up segments and groups, dynamic content targeting, automation based on behaviour, and integrating with core systems including CRM.
For example, Emma is integrated with Salesforce, and recently united its platform with Eventbrite to enable better email activities around events.
Part of this easy-to-use approach also comes down to offering local support. Emma has brought on six local staff for Australia to date, all of which are support and engineering focused, and is now looking to bring on additional local sales staff.
O’Day said Emma is not setting out to compete against the like of the major marketing cloud stacks. He noted the platform’s ability to handle customer data at an interface level is in the millions, rather than tens of millions of records and associated data sitting in an enterprise organisation.
However, he expected to be competing with Campaign Monitor at the top end of its customer targeting list, as well as MailChimp’s.
“I’m bullish about our ability to win based on the success we’ve had to date as we are building relationships during the sales, account management and support process,” O’Day added.
Marketing based on outcomes
The second marketing technology vendor setting its sights on Australian marketers is Emarsys, which recent secured a US$33 million equity investment in the US to build out its North and Central American presence. The 15-year old company has 16 global offices and 1300 clients worldwide including Ebay, ToysRUs, Canon, Zurich, Volvo and Superdrug.
Unlike many of the marketing clouds out there today, Emarsys’ technology has been built from the ground up. While it’s not a well-known brand locally, Asia-Pacific managing director, Stuart Barker, told CMO the platform is in the top two or three marketing cloud offerings across several countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Again, Emarsys’ focus is not on the top end of town, but Australia’s mid-market enterprises. It’s also specifically focused on B2C and organisations operating a retail tier.
Having said that, Barker was bullish about winning customers against the marketing cloud giants because of its focus on helping marketers adopt a new way of working based on customer lifecycle engagement.
Target industry sectors for Emarsys include retail and ecommerce, those with an omni-channel operating model, travel, tourism, gaming and subscriptions-based offerings. Barker said a typical customer would have upwards of $5-10 million in revenue, although the platform can scale to massive volumes of customer records.
According to Barker, the whole premise for Emarsys is a better way of doing marketing through more personalised customer interactions. The challenge currently is that marketing teams are managing campaigns or activity, not customer outcomes, he said – a vital shift if they’re to gain sustainable customer engagement.
Core capabilities of the Emarsys platform stretch from business intelligence and personalisation using data insights, to predictive analytics, marketing automation, and scalable omni-channel messaging capabilities.
“Our platform is about sitting down and saying ‘what does marketing look like based on excellence and best practice around retention marketing’?” Barker said. “We’re all about outcomes and this notion that there is a better way of working by solidifying the alignment between technology and a way of working as a marketer.”
Emarsys is also big on support, and has heavily invested in teams to help organisations with the operational shift modern marketing requires, Barker said.
He claimed the vendor has already signed nine customers in the four months since arriving in Australia.
“The feedback has been fantastic, and we’re winning the majority of pitches,” he added.