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Democratizing Marketing Automation: Act-On CEO Raghu Raghavan (Part 5)

Posted on Monday, Nov 14th 2011

Sramana: How important is WebEx to your company today?

Raghu Raghavan: WebEx was a source of a lot of our earlier deals, but today it accounts for less than 10% of our business. Coming into the business we had the notion that behavior mattered, so we had good behavioral databases. We also captured a lot of consumer processes that we were able to capture. We had also built a system where the user experience was not enterprise based. I believe that the days of the enterprise application are up and that everything should be consumerized. People expect work on things like Facebook or YouTube, even within the enterprise.

Users want apps that they are familiar with. Enterprise apps are dull and ugly. We want the user experience to be process focused. We don’t want the user building databases, we just want them to bring in their list. Our user experience is very different. When we started selling people noticed that we had a much better user interface and then they started guiding us in the direction of capabilities that they wanted to have.

Sramana: How did you ultimately position the company? What was the first major product you were able to sell?

Raghu Raghavan: Marketing automation, from my viewpoint, represents 5% of our available market. Marketing automation is something where you are selling to the converted. If you look at the multi-billion dollar market as a whole, you will see that the customers are evolving. We love ExactTarget because we know when we find a customer using them that they are the exact target for us. We tell them that we will give them all the same capability plus additional capabilities. The markets are moving away from just email to Twitter and webinars, and all of them must flow together.

Customers want to have an event or VIP promotion. They want to target everybody in their database who has marketing or VP in their title, that has viewed a pricing page in the past 30 days, and resides in a particular region of the country. That is what marketing automaters want to do. They have too many databases and can’t put it together in a way that makes sense for them.

We have many customers who started with email and website visitors. We track how website visitors arrive at their site. They may have came through email, or they may have followed a Tweet. We figure out what company they are from by looking at their IP address. Once we have a company name we leverage our partnership with Jigsaw, which makes our solution very powerful for clients who also have Jigsaw accounts.

Sramana: When you get a customer from ExactTarget, are you converting them to your system or complementing their solution?

Raghu Raghavan: We convert them, we do not complement anyone. We move people off ExactTarget. It is an easy thing to do because we are talking about moving a list.

Sramana: Many times those are opt-in lists, and it can take a long time to create an opt-in list. How do you handle that?

Raghu Raghavan: We assume the customer has a list that was created to be an opt-in list. We have our customers sign an agreement that identifies which of their lists are opt-in lists. We let them bring everything in, including their opt-outs. We acquired Marketbright a few months ago. They were a dying company, but one of the assets we got from them was a very clean marketing list. It came along with all of the opt-outs. It was very clean and easy to mail to.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Democratizing Marketing Automation: Act-On CEO Raghu Raghavan
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