2012 could have been described as the year of marketing automation. We saw the rise and spectacular exit of several prominent SaaS marketing management platforms, including Vitrue, Wildfire, Buddy Media and Eloqua, amongst others. Reflecting on several billion in marketing tech exits that year alone, we derived a few clear themes: (1) Emerging channels like social are not just important, but vital to the future of even the largest brands. (2) These channels were difficult to manage in an intelligent way; winning platforms were focused rather than omni-channel. (3) Tech giants Oracle, Google and Salesforce (i) demonstrated an inability to innovate around new channels internally as they scooped up the newer generation of solutions. In summary: from to lead generation and nurturing to outbound execution, enterprise marketers needed help to master the complexity of a much more personalized and context-dependent medium of communication. Today, even the newest channels—from content marketing to mobile apps—command mindshare of Fortune 500 CMOs, and next-gen platforms to manage them continue to thrive.
We first met TrackMaven’s founder and CEO, Allen Gannett, in the midst of 2012 through our friend Sean Glass. As a former startup CMO and investor in marketing tech, Allen had a lot of relevant insight into what was going on that year. Then he began to describe TrackMaven and how it wasn’t addressing the same challenges addressed in 2012, but rather a new problem that marketing automation was creating. It was a simple concept but several steps ahead of its time. “Channel explosion” was already overwhelming most marketers, and was only going to get worse. The proliferation of channel-specific platforms to engage audiences (e.g. Hootsuite for social, Influitive for advocacy, NewsCred for content marketing, etc.) wasn’t going away. It still isn’t in our view: high-performance execution lends itself to specialization. Without a central platform for comparative decision-making in this environment, however, marketing teams faced an impossibly fragmented decision-making process across scores of measurement and management tools. Increasing amounts of resources had already begun to pour into business & marketing analysts (which is nearly always an indicator of opportunity in my view). In short order, spend would be misallocated as CMOs, pushed to innovate but without appropriate real-time guidance, are forced to seek ROI reactively (ii).
Even with the rightful ascent of full-stack solutions like Hubspot and Marketo that started at the very top of the funnel, no product helped marketers answer the question they had been asking for decades: what are our competitors doing that we aren’t in every channel? How are we doing in comparison and where should I look to fix it? At Bowery, we define opportunities in business software as areas where existing, legacy solutions have failed to address a core pain point within CMO, CTO & CIO organizations. Allen had hit the nail on the head and had the product vision to back it up.
Since that initial meeting, Allen and his team have built TrackMaven into an extremely powerful enterprise platform that speaks to his original vision and more. Going forward, here are four reasons we believe TrackMaven will be a business software giant. 1) It’s fundamentally a “platform” business that works with emerging technology, and is empowered by new marketing execution solutions rather than competitive with them. 2) It’s focused on the human user experience: use TrackMaven to take advantage of cross-channel big data in an accessible and actionable manner. 3) It’s positioned to take advantage of predictive marketing analytics in a way that no solutions in market can, and the value of this data only becomes less replicable over time. 4) The incredible team culture that Allen has built in such a short period: sales, marketing and otherwise. In fact, I hear a new member has joined the team in celebration of the close: a real-life Maven the Corgi (see below)!
Today, the Bowery team is proud to congratulate the TrackMaven team on its $6.5MM round of Series A financing alongside our friends and investors at NEA and Acceleprise. We are true believers in Allen’s vision for the future of marketing technology and are thrilled to get back to work helping him make it happen.
(i) More here on Salesforce’s acquisition streak, with a deeper dive on ExactTarget.
(ii) Mike expands on how we think about marketing vendors in What CMOs Buy.