What Campaign Monitor’s latest acquisitions mean for small business emails

Earlier this month, Campaign Monitor announced the acquisition of two additional email marketing platforms to add to its suite. Chief product officer Cody Bender and CEO Wellford Dillard tell Marketing why small businesses should be very excited.

The acquisitions of Sailthru and Liveclicker add to CM Group’s existing suite of email marketing platforms including Campaign Monitor, Delivra and Emma. The new offerings not only gives CM Group a firmer foothold in the enterprise market, but allows it to acquire their technology along with the businesses, which CM Group plans to share across the family technology companies.

CEO of CM Group Wellford Dillard and his chief product officer Cody Bender sit down with Marketing to discuss how the acquisitions impact the rest of the business, how the new platforms will integrate with the existing ones and what the company is doing to maintain privacy across the board.

 

Marketing: What are Sailthru and Liveclicker?

 

Cody Bender 150 BWCody Bender: Sailthru is very similar to Campaign Monitor. It is an ESP (email service provider) that specialises in using data profiles to personalise and predict what people are going to want to get as part of an email marketing campaign, what they see on web pages, what they get from a mobile perspective etc. I wouldn’t pigeon hole it as an ESP but it certainly is an email service provider plus.

Liveclicker is a tool that integrates directly with email, and it’s really used to do what’s called real-time personalisation. At the time of open it will personalise based off a number of factors specific to that exact moment – what the weather is, where you are, what your device is – all with the intent to give you the most up-to-date, real-time, personalised content possible.

There are some really good examples of using Liveclicker to do things like sending an email with potential first-class flights: when I open it at 10 am there might be six seats left and I might buy a seat at that point, Wellford might open it two hours later and see there’s only one seat left – from there he can see that immediately and know whether or not to act.

Both of these products are really next-generation email products.

Wellford Dillard 150 BWWellford Dillard: As a retailer, I can send an email out for a sale – you open it, you’re in a warm sunny climate, and when you open that we know, based on the geo, where you are and what the weather is there – so we could recommend flip flops to you, along with sunny images for clothing. If I’m sitting here in New York where it’s snowing today, I get the exact same email and because of the geo and knowing the weather, on open it instantly serves hats and gloves to me.

CB: And you could do that with a regular email marketing platform, you just need to know generally where someone is and what season it would be – but to do that at scale for millions of potential customers and to have it be entirely accurate, you really need that type of data and machine learning to go through and derive those recommendations and those personalisations. It really allows marketers to scale out that type of really manually intensive work that would have previously done.

 

How does the personalisation computation being applied at the moment of opening affect the graphics load time?

CB: It’s almost immediate. In the same way that with any other email you would get loads of that stuff in time anyway. If I open an email and it’s the middle of winter and my airline sent me a picture of palm trees to entice me to go on a trip, it’s making that call and loading that picture. The only difference is there’s a very quick computation to say: it’s going to load a picture, which picture do I want it to load?

 

How is Campaign Monitor planning to integrate these new offerings into its existing suite?

CB: In a couple of ways. What we’re not doing is trying to move an entire set of customers onto another platform. We’re not trying to drive a tonne of cost-saving synergy. What we are looking to do is take those unique elements from each of those platforms and share them to our other platforms.

So Campaign Monitor has a large base of customers who are small business and medium-sized businesses. Even though Sailthru and Liveclicker are traditionally enterprise products, they have elements that are really interesting for a small to medium business; the trick with it is that they need to be reducing complexity so that they can be accessed and used. [Campaign Monitor] users aren’t going to have as much time, they’re not going have as many resources – so we’re looking for ways to integrate individual elements in a really simplified, well-designed, streamlined way.

 

So in a way, these acquisitions are building out CM Group’s suite as tiered offerings?

CB: In a way, yes. If you think about all of our brands being different tiers, then certainly Sailthru comes in at a top tier and gives access to the enterprise market along with some high-end technology. I would say Liveclicker is not as much around tiering but has enabled us to improve the tiers that we have and really enhance them with the right type of features and functionality.

WD: It’s a tool that’s never been accessible to SMBs because of pricing. Then from a sophistication standpoint also they lack the technical resources to handle it. But we could take one of Liveclicker’s elements – maybe a countdown timer – that people are super excited about because they haven’t been able to do it. It’s interactive when they open the email, always refreshes and we could actually embed that in a builder in the Campaign Monitor self-service platform. So a marketer can easily start to have access to these tools for the first time without needing to pay the price of this technology today.

We’ll do it in a way that isn’t about making more money, it’s a retention phase – the nature of what we did is: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Our group retention and aggregate – which already is fantastic – is so much more powerful now. We’re able to view how we pass technology around so differently than if you were just dealing with one single brand.

 

How are you making sure that these new parts of the business – particularly given their relationship with data management and personalisation – are compliant with privacy laws such as GDPR?

CB: The way that we are doing it now is everything is privacy by design. We are thinking about privacy in every new feature that we build and every integration that we evaluate. All of our brands went through a massive overhaul, so the product road maps were filled with GDPR related items for a good four to five months earlier last year. We really went through and made sure that we were compliant for all of the brands for all of the requirements – date of deletion, right to be forgotten, do not track – all of those things, our brands can now do.

That’s really important to us, it’s critical to us, we feel like in the market today you have to show responsibility with the data that you’re entrusted with – and because we’re entrusted with data that really improves the business for our customers and also their customers’ experience. We want to make sure that we’re doing everything right and we don’t endanger any of the data that we have access to.

 

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Josh Loh
BY Josh Loh ON 1 February 2019
Josh Loh is a newswriter and editorial assistant at MarketingMag.com.au