Tired of reading about Google Ads and Facebook Ads? Those two giants tend to dominate discussions about online marketing because they have the ability to deliver incredible traffic. However, there are other up and coming companies you need to know about.
To find them, let’s look at startups that investors are funding in 2019. It might sound scary to trust part of your company’s marketing strategy to an untested startup. Here’s a different way to look at it. You are going to seize the advantage of a new ways to increase marketing productivity before your competition finds them.
1. Adjust (Berlin, Germany, Established 2012)
Total Funding: Over $255 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 301 Employees
How do you know if your online advertising budget is being wasted? That’s one of the problems that Adjust solves. According to their LinkedIn page, “Adjust is the industry leader in mobile measurement and fraud prevention.” To add to their capabilities, Adjust has acquired several other companies including Acquired.io (a data aggregation platform) and Unbotify (a cybersecurity startup).
With 25,000 apps already using Adjust’s platform, it looks like the company has found a successful niche. Preventing fraud and enhancing measurement are needs that are going away anytime soon.
2. CleverTap (Sunnyvale, CA, Established 2013)
Total Funding: Over $41 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 128 Employees
With over 8000 brands on its platform, CleverTap is a marketing platform that uses machine learning to support segmentation. On G2 Crowd, the company has attracted over 100 reviews with an average rating of 4.6 Unlike other platforms that simply provide analytics data, CleverTap makes it easy to bring those insights and apply them to campaigns. Some of CleverTap’s key benefits for users focus on re-engagement and evaluating customer acquisition activities.
CleverTap extends its value by working with various partners such as AWS, Branch, Mandrill, SendGrid, Mobincube, and AppsFlyer. I was somewhat surprised to see that Zapier was not on their list, but perhaps that partnership will come in the future.
In terms of content marketing, CleverTap is exceeding expectations with the sheer variety of resources on its websites. For example, the company offers a Customer Lifetime Value Calculator (https://clevertap.com/cltv/) where users need to opt-in to receive the results. Other content resources include case studies, podcasts, webinars, and white papers. Well done, CleverTap!
3. Tray.io (San Francisco, CA, Established 2012)
Total Funding: Over $50 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 106 Employees
Have you heard of the “no code” revolution? It’s a trend to make software and automation techniques easier to implement. As the Tray homepage puts it: “Empower your citizen automators to grow your company faster. No dev resources required.” At first glance, Tray strikes me as an enterprise-level version of Zapier, a popular automation and integration platform. From a marketing perspective, I like that Tray combines content marketing (e.g., “Free Guide: Automate the Lead Lifecycle”) and chat style services. If you already use Clearbit, G Sheets, Intercom, Salesforce, and Asana, it’s worth looking into the Tray’s platform.
On G2 Crowd, Tray.io has 18 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 as of this writing. One reviewer pointed out that Tray.io helps them to automate GDPR processes. Other users have commented on the lack of some more advanced collaboration features. However, it looks like Tray.io is making fast progress in adding new features and working to take care of customers.
4. The Ticket Fairy (San Francisco, CA, Established 2011)
Total Funding: Over $3 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 22 Employees
When you spend all your time in front of a computer, it’s easy to forget how important events are. Have you seen how many corporate events that Las Vegas alone holds every month? The event marketing industry is vast. Yet, I also know from personal experience that it is difficult to optimize. That’s where The Ticket Fairy comes to play. Whether you are looking to increase ticket revenue or improve marketing results, The Ticket Fairy is an interesting choice. Event organizers will also appreciate the fact that fraud prevention is a key feature for the platform.
5. Iterable (San Francisco, CA, Established 2013)
Total Funding: Over $82 million (per Crunchbase)
Employees: 224 Employees
This marketing automation platform is designed to empower marketers without involving engineering. Cross-channel engagement is the focus of Iterable. If you want to market on the web, SMS or in-app, this platform can do it.
From a content perspective, it’s interesting to note that Iterable runs two blogs. There’s an engineering blog focused on topics like Scrum and feature announcements. There is also another more traditional company blog. The blog has dedicated themes covering areas such as growth marketing, cross-channel, company, and product. When I visited the website on June 14, it looks like the blog had not been updated in several weeks.
Tip: Iterable is currently hiring for two marketing roles in San Francisco: Field Marketing Manager and Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager.
What Can We Learn From These Growing Marketing Automation Companies?
There are four themes we can see from these platforms.
First, there is still tremendous opportunity to integrate marketing across multiple channels. The dream of “omnichannel marketing” where a customer or prospect has a consistent experience regardless of location or media is still not quite here.
Second: partnerships and integrations are becoming more important. Several of these companies emphasize partnerships with companies like Zapier. That tells me that marketing automation firms recognize they can’t think of everything. Therefore, there’s a push to empower the user to connect their platform to
Third, we see the continued rise of “code less” marketing automation. In practical terms, that means that marketers will need to develop more technical skills. If your primary discipline is copywriting or design, you will need to develop more skills to enhance your value. I recommend looking into Zapier as an entry point into the world of automation. To give you a sense of what’s possible, I recommend Maria Myre’s post, “Turn Your Google Analytics Data into Actionable Tasks.”
Fourth, all five of these companies received venture investment in 2019. There is still investment pouring into marketing automation. Unlike other niches, marketing automation has clear value: get more customers and retain current customers. Increased regulatory controls on marketing like GDPR mean that companies need to become more sophisticated in their marketing.