By Christopher Marriott
The calendar says it’s still spring here in the United States, but in the world of email marketing this time of year can feel like spring as the pressure of the holiday season fades in the rear-view mirror and budgets and plans are renewed for the upcoming marketing year. It’s the time of year when email marketers assess what they want to test before the next holiday season lock-down. So it’s the perfect time of year to take a look at some of the new and interesting email companies who have come to market doing old things in new and better ways, or creating completely new opportunities to enhance an email marketing program. This is the third year I’ve looked at some of these hottest email and email-related companies and all of the previous companies on the list have shown exciting grown since making one of these lists. Who made it this year? Read on to find out!
The first company on my list is AudiencePoint. What’s the best time to send an email? Send-time optimization (STO) isn’t a new idea, but AudiencePoint found a way to do it better. In case you don’t know what STO is, it the practice of sending out emails or email campaigns at the time where it is most likely to be opened by the recipient(s).
That determination is made by prior engagement metrics of the campaigns or individual subscribers. Initially STO was done at the campaign level, meaning the entire campaign went out at the best time. Later it evolved to send the individual emails out at the time that subscriber was most likely to engage. In both cases the timing decision was based upon the individual brand’s subscriber behavior with its emails.
The whole point behind STO is to increase subscriber engagement which has all kinds of benefits for the marketer. And AudiencePoint takes this send-time decision to the next level by pinpointing the best time to connect with each individual in a marketer’s list leveraging historical information combined with proprietary algorithms. By enabling marketers to target each subscriber when they are online, clients are getting improved inbox placement, higher open and click through rates, and more conversions.
But wait, there’s more! AudiencePoint’s robust database of email subscriber engagement has another very valuable use. Just about every email marketer’s subscriber database contains inactive email addresses, meaning subscribers who haven’t opened an email within a certain period of time (the inactive definition varies by marketer starting at 3 months). Inactives can represent up to 70 percent of the emails in the database at any one time. And there are two types of inactives; those email subscribers who have stopped engaging with a brand for one reason or another, and those addresses where there is no longer anyone at home. Because sending to inactives repeatedly tends to draw the wrath of the ISPs, it’s a good idea to know which is which so you can drop the dead email addresses and target the others in a re-activation campaign. AudiencePoint’s database tells brand which category its inactives fall into!
In the words of Andy Perez, CEO of AudiencePoint: “AudiencePoint's goal is to make data, actionable and easy to implement with clear ROI. Most customers that use AudiencePoint’s Send Time Optimization tool can see immediate benefits in opens, clicks and revenue. Additionally, the ability to leverage our massive Data Pool gives them the ability to optimize their lists and more effectively target while potentially reducing costs.”
Founded in 2012, BounceX, ranks as the #1 fastest growing software company by Inc. It’s Behavioral Marketing platform is powered by the world’s most sophisticated device graph technology, activating a new source of incremental revenue for enterprise businesses. So what exactly does that mean? It means that BounceX is leveraging consumers digital body language to create relevant digital experiences, associating devices and channels with individual ConsumerID’s, and creating true omnichannel marketing. Specifically as it pertains to email, BounceX’s Behavioral Email product captures email addresses at the precise moment a visitor is most likely provide it, behaviorally triggers email communications based on an individual’s intent and incorporates the more relevant communications associated with a consumers behavioral profile. BounceX, over the years has evolved from delivering behaviorally triggered experiences on a single channel or device. How did they do that? They flipped the traditional marketing approach on its head and placed consumer convenience at the core of its model.
Having mastered “exit-intent” first, they started looking at what other behaviors could be detected from site visitors, how these behaviors indicate levels of intent, how browsing experiences could be enhanced for increased conversion revenue, and how additional channels could be created if and when a visitor did leave the site. Over time 10 billion impressions served, BounceX has become an expert at identifying a brand’s consumers on all owned/connected, devices and providing the most relevant digital experience based on their behaviors and expressed intent.
So what does any of this have to do with email marketing? From launching an overlay to grab a visitor's email address at the precise moment they are ready to provide it, to driving more conversions associated with behaviorally triggered email campaigns, clients of BounceX are able (among other things) to grow their email subscriber lists, reduce their unsubscribe rate, and create new channels of communications and revenue once a visitor leaves a site.
Says Ofir Caspi, BounceX’s Senior Director of Product, Behavioral Email , “Email is one of the strongest tools in a marketer’s tool chest. That’s why we’re able to send more emails and better emails; it’s as simple and complex as that. While it’s already impressive to send to such a large pool, our work doesn’t stop there, we also deliver the BEST possible messages to these visitors. Segmenting visitors based on their level of intent and then speaking to each of the many visitors we encounter as unique individuals is of the utmost importance.”
DemandJump is another one of the very interested digital marketing companies to come out of Indianapolis in the wake of the Salesforce acquisition of ExactTarget. Founded only in 2015, the company’s mission is to understand the world’s competitive digital data and make it actionable for marketers everywhere. DemandJump’s Artificial Intelligence Marketing platform identifies and prioritizes traffic sources across all digital channels for a brand, including traffic sources for each of the brand’s competitors. This way, marketers can see where competitors are getting their traffic and redirect that traffic to their own site to refine budget allocation and drive revenue growth. Simply put, DemandJump ensures marketing spend is truly optimizing revenue generation.
How do they accomplish this? Let’s focus on their approach to improving content marketing performance. To isolate the topics for each brand, DemandJump’s AIM platform uses proprietary natural language processing techniques to extract topical keywords from a brand’s content.
DemandJump can isolate, link, and group pieces of related content based on the brand’s intent – meaning whatever it is actually talking about, not what the brand wants you to think it is talking about. So topics extracted by DemandJump are completely objective. They can see through the ‘noise’ and deduce what the core message is. Then the platform identifies real, user-generated search queries that drive traffic to a brand’s website. This gives them a 100% customer-centric view of how a customer searches for information, reviews, brands, etc.
Finally, the platform cross-references the topical data pulled out of content produced by the brand, with the search data showing how customers are navigating to the brand’s website or to the brand’s competitors. The result? DemandJump can show you exactly what content to write, when to write it, and where to publish and socialize it to drive the greatest propagation and engagement.
So like BounceExchange, DemandJump begs the question, “what does this have to do with email marketing”? Here’s how: the DemandJump solution is forward looking and detects where your competition is winning traffic. Armed with this information, customers can intercept the traffic through more strategic use of search, content, affiliate offers and display targeting. This brings you more qualified site visitors which you can convert to over-performing email subscribers, and ultimately to customers. Prospects can’t subscribe to your email if you can’t get them to your site in the first place!
“Because we can see where your competitors are gaining customers three steps before they reach the competition, DemandJump users can intercept that traffic, ultimately converting that traffic to ultra-engaged, high-converting email subscribers,” says Julie Lyle, Chief Revenue Officer at DemandJump.
So there you have my list for 2017. Like CertainSource (www.certainsource.com) from 2016, two of this year’s three companies are helping marketers with acquisition—though in very different ways. As email subscriber acquisition continues to be an emerging hot topic for email marketers, so will companies that focus on that service. Maybe we’ll look back on 2017 as the Year of Email Subscriber Acquisition. Email marketing is more important to marketers than ever before, so we will continue to see innovation and investment in the space. Who will be the next “hot” company to get on my radar?