How SmarterHQ has become the leader in behavioral marketing

SmarterHQ team members celebrate their recent headquarters expansion. Employees can choose to work at headquarters or at local coworking spaces based on their schedules or daily preferences.

SmarterHQ lives in a market that is growing faster than anything we’ve seen recently in economic terms. We’re talking smartphone adoption fast (but faster1), with triple-digit spending growth over the next three years in marketing analytics — quantitative data about customer behavior and marketplace activities.

Beyond just capturing the data, SmarterHQ’s intelligent behavioral marketing platform helps brands leverage insights to change the way they interact with their customers. Their platform powers triggered email and website campaigns with minimal effort to deliver the kind of personalized experience that a top-notch retail sales associate would.

Michael Osborne

Michael OsborneCEO

“When SmarterHQ was started five years ago, the technology, the product and what we delivered to the market was far ahead of where most retailers were ready to go,” said Michael Osborne, CEO, SmarterHQ. “But our customers were bold and willing to put their trust in us, and now the personalization and real-time interactions we provide B2C marketers is on the lips of everyone and the top story in every trade publication.”

The customers Osborne referred to include some of the world’s largest and most revered retail brands like Bloomingdales, Kate Spade, Carrentals.com, and fellow Indianapolis native Finish Line. Along with more than 100 other enterprise brands and the six-figure deals most make to revolutionize their businesses with access to the behavioral marketing platform, SmarterHQ has seen revenue growth of 367 percent over three years.

This triple digit growth, coincidentally, is identical to the aforementioned future growth expected in marketing analytics, but SmarterHQ achieved it while they were inventing the behavioral marketing software market, educating the retail industry, and competing against companies 10x their size.

It didn’t go unnoticed. SmarterHQ ranked seventh on Indianapolis Business Journal’s Fast 25, they made it on the Inc. 5000 “Fastest Growing Companies in America” list for two consecutive years, and Adweek recognized SmarterHQ’s Chief Data Scientist Dean Abbott and CEO Michael “Oz” Osborne among the trailblazers revolutionizing the field of marketing technology.  SmarterHQ has also been listed in several Forrester reports such as “Vendor Landscape: Real Time Interaction Management”,  Vendor Landscape: Digital Intelligence Technology Providers You Should Care About”, and “When to Choose a Niche Email Vendor.”

“Momentum begets momentum. You get one client live and they get great results. They tell two or three other retailer friends and they get live and get great results, and all of a sudden there’s this momentum that prospects get very excited about with our very referenceable customers and their success stories,” said Michael Osborne, CEO, SmarterHQ. “It’s a trend that we’ve built upon with our retail clients — that’s where we started — and now we’re doing the same thing in financial services and travel and working with some really great brands and delivering the same kinds of revenue increases for them that we did for our customers in retail.”

SmarterHQ Team members enjoying an Indianapolis Indians game at Victory Field; the eclipse, and the 18th annual TechPoint Mira Awards.

SmarterHQ delivers an average sales increase between 15 and 25 percent, with some customers achieving returns on their investments of up to 40-60 percent in increased sales. The more traffic a customer has, the more SmarterHQ can do for them. The behavioral marketing platform works for high-end and discount products and services and everything in between.

“We honestly have examples of customers across the board,” Osborne said. “It really comes down to the desire of the brand to personalize their messaging and to drive these kinds of results, significant returns on their investments, and deliver a better experience via real-time interactions that make the most sense for each individual customer.”

As SmarterHQ moves into new vertical markets outside of retail, like they have with financial services and hospitality, they spend time getting to know the business in partnership with a key prospect or client and develop what they call “The Playbook” — a specific guide to using SmarterHQ’s behavioral marketing platform for success in that specific vertical.

Kristen Hamerstadt

Kristen HamerstadtDirector of Marketing

“We don’t take going into a new industry lightly. We understand that while there are similarities like overcoming the obstacles of distracted, on-the-go, hyper-connected consumers, each industry has its unique nuances that require greater understanding to personalize real-time interactions,” said Kristen Hamerstadt, Director of Marketing, SmarterHQ.

Interestingly, SmarterHQ hasn’t had nearly as much resistance to overcome as they expected moving into new market verticals. The accolades, word-of-mouth coming from their retail momentum, and increased public relations and marketing investment has created a demand for the behavioral marketing platform and for SmarterHQ by name.

“There’s a lot of noise in the space around ‘what is personalization’ and SmarterHQ is leading the market in defining behavioral marketing both in terms of the technology and software, as well as the thought leadership around the field,” Osborne said. “As a Midwestern-based company, I think we can sometimes be too humble and miss the opportunity to accept credit for our innovations, and to not capitalize upon the momentum we worked so hard to create.

“It’s against our nature as Midwesterners to brag about ourselves, but it’s time we get over that. Our clients see us as the best, the researchers label us as innovators, and the media and influencers say we’re revolutionizing the field of marketing tech … I think it’s okay now if we believe them.”

1 Smartphones grew from a few percent to 10% market penetration over three years. Marketing analytics is expected to grow from less than 5% to more than 22% of marketing budgets in three years.

SmarterHQ

CATEGORY: Big Data/Analytics, Marketing/Sales Technology CITY: Indianapolis

SmarterHQ is a multi-channel behavioral marketing platform that empowers B2C marketers to personalize customer interactions in real-time.

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Joshua Hall is editor of techpoint.org. He writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people & events. @joshua2349