Started: March 2005
Located: San Bruno, California
Market: On-Demand Marketing Automation Solution
Key Customers: Varonis, Serena Software, SAP Business Objects and Genesys
I asked Dom Lindars, Marketbright Chief Executive Officer a few questions about his business and his view of the SaaS market in 2009.
Did you start out as a Software-as-a-Service company?
When we started out in 2005 our vision was to create a better way to automate and integrate SaaS functionality using tools and systems to streamline large scale marketing efforts, and improve marketing ROI. I have more than 18 years experience as a veteran of online marketing and website management and Marketbright’s senior team has its roots in large enterprise marketing operations, web content management, business and enterprise software sales.
Why do your customers buy from Marketbright?
Our customers turn to us for sophisticated lead nurturing and management programs, which emphasize listening closely to customer feedback, communicating proactively and building relationships. Lead nurturing is a new business practice for many companies, where the typical mode of operation usually has marketing throwing all leads over the wall to pre-sales or sales –who often cherry-pick leads and leave the others to grow cold. Nurture marketing involves building multistage campaigns that interact with customers across multiple touch points. These nurture programs can create complex customer interactions that are difficult to manage and run the risk of causing customer fatigue if not handled properly or efficiently. Our customers choose the Marketbright approach because it automates the difficult task of managing multi-touch campaigns and the resulting, often complex flows. The platform provides an easy way to deploy and manage multi-touch campaigns across all marketing channels:
Our customers rely on us to deliver marketing automation solutions that check all the boxes, are easy to use for all team members, make complex tasks simple, and are integrated, secure, scalable and reliable.
What do you see as the key trend emerging in the SaaS industry?
The advent of social media has had an enormous impact across industry. In light of the economic instability (and at the risk of discussing the economy ad nauseam), most organizations are making efforts to save money and tighten their belts. Often the first way to do this is to cut spending on marketing for one, but the problem is, this is the time when money spent on marketing is probably more critical than ever. Companies just have to spend their money in the right place, and social media is emerging as a pretty safe bet. Even better, a SaaS solution combined with social media efforts will give you more bang for your buck. SaaS does well in a downturn economy, especially when big organizations are looking to cut back and outsource. It’s also a good alternative when organizations have no or small IT groups, or their IT teams simply don’t have the bandwidth to contribute to social media efforts.
Over the next few years we’ll see social media as a baked-in element of all multi-channel marketing solutions. At Marketbright, we’re already bringing in 17% of our leads through social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and staff blogs. Most importantly, no one objects to spending on marketing when it directly results in delivering qualified leads to sales.
What is your outlook for 2009?
In this year of pocket change, trying to find a way to sell more with less, stretching less of last year’s marketing dollars to meet more of this year’s is a top priority. The challenge for many businesses today is they seek a silver bullet, one solution that will solve everything, which of course is non-existent.
For the remainder of 2009, B2B companies should focus on the lead generation activity delivered in the past that directly produced the greatest return. Spend on those programs that generated the majority of business last year. (Seems obvious? Do any of your budgets show trimming of activities you should really be stopped altogether?) Work with sales to identify those accounts that have the greatest propensity to move through the pipeline. Get proactive. Find out what is the minimum amount of information you need to give to a prospect to make them a customer and give it to them proactively.
There is no point in pretending 2009 hasn’t been a challenging year for business thus far, but we may as well make the best of it. Apply your best judgment in becoming more agile, more creative, and above all pay attention to the data that is sitting in your businesses. Find out what worked, do more of it. Accept what didn’t. Don’t do so much of that.
Thank you to Dom Lindars, Erik Bower and Lilly Hanscom for contributing to this profile.