Category Archives: Marketing / CRM

Marketing, Fitness Data, Missing Links

I spent a day this week in the city (that’s San Francisco for those of you not in the “Bay area”) and besides the fabulous weather I enjoyed meeting with the head of biz dev at one of the industry’s hottest fit-tech/wearables companies, as well as checking out the Marketo Summit.   In case you don’t know who Marketo are, they are one of the leaders in marketing automation.   When you get an email from a company every month and the content is tailored based on the products you’ve ordered before, or when you click a web page and a few days letter magically get an email offer for the product you looked at, that capability is provided by some marketing automation solution.

Marketing automation tools rely on insight into customer behavior.  This can come from lots of sources – social media, data providers (it’s a bit scary how much data about you is for sale), records of buying behavior, as well as more direct interactions with the customer, such as click behavior on your website, engagement with customer support, etc.   One of my guiding viewpoints is that all that data being generated by fitness wearables presents a huge opportunity to gain customer insight, and although the Marketo show was a very horizontally targeted I did not see anyone talking about this opportunity.   One challenge is getting the customer to agree to give you access to the data – but if you are a trusted advisor (say a gym with personal trainers who can use the data to help the customer) that’s a surmountable challenge.  And if your marketing is smart and value-added, it will be well received.  This is an area of ongoing study for me, so I hope to share more on it as I go.

As long as I’m sharing info on what I learned at the show, here’s a handful of other (somewhat random) companies I checked out that I found interesting for one reason or another:

Bedrock Data – SaaS integration and data push/pull, targeted at the SMB.  Sort of a Snaplogic or Dell Boomi but priced and spec’d for the little guy.

Elixiter – Marketo consultants / implementation experts.  Based in Montana, tech center of the US.  Ha ha.  Seriously, I bet they all have a better quality of life than 99% of the people in Silicon Valley.

Spear Marketing – Just some nice guys in the marketing business.

Inside View – data aggregation to drive better customer insights and lead scoring.  B2B focused.  These guys provide a lot of that user data that I mentioned above to help you mage your sales funnel and do lead scoring.

Sprinklr – Hootsuite for the enterprise.

PFL – they merge your online and offline  with mailers and other customer engagement tools.

LeadMD – Scottsdale based Marketo (and Salesforce) implementation consultants.  If you are considering moving business apps to the cloud but think you need help, there’s a whole ecosystem of companies who can help you.  LeadMD is one such company.

Choosing a SaaS Solution

I’ve spent a lot of time researching SaaS apps that can help you manage your business, and it’s certainly a big and often confusing market.  It helps to have some guides and while I haven’t found a single one that covers it all, there are a few I found that are really useful.  Here they are, with a few of my own comments.

Getapp – one of the best, with lots of customer reviews.  Broad set of product categories.

ISV World – Cool service, covers all software vendors not just SaaS apps.  Useful for those in the analyst & investment arena as it aggregates financial data on the vendors.  Thanks to their machine learning capabilities the database is very large.

Merchant Maverick – More focused on the transaction and financial apps, especially merchant accounts and POS.

Capterra – Decent number of customer reviews and 300+ categories to help you search.

Cloud Showplace – Run by SaaS thought leader Jeff Kaplan, this directory splits up providers into the SaaS/PaaS/IaaS stack so it provides a view on the “cloud services” market that some of the others don’t.

IT Centralstation – A bit more of an enterprise focus with more input from “IT pros” as opposed to SMB owner/operators who lack IT staff.  You can create a free account or sign in with your LinkedIn account.

And there you have it.  A few really helpful resources to help you navigate the SaaS world.

 

Inventory data and customer expectations

A few news bits in the last couple of weeks have caught my eye.  Springboard announced a solution which takes inventory management to the cloud and integrates online & brick and mortar sales.  This has always been a pain point and in reality there have been solutions for it for years – I had the two sales channels integrated when I was a store owner 6 years ago using MINDBODY Online.  But the solutions have not been as clean or as advanced as you might like, so it’s good to see this getting addressed by more and more vendors.

Increasingly, inventory management matters not just for the traditional reasons (cash management, keeping hot sellers in stock, etc.) but also because accurate inventory data is a prerequisite for meeting customer expectations in the omni-channel world.   This is brought home in this summary from Mozu which highlights steps retailers can take to meet customer expectations (you need to submit your email to download the free report).  In some way they all depend on accurate, real-time inventory data.

Same day delivery is one area that I am really focused on, and you can’t do it successfully without accurate inventory data.  It’s where customer engagement meets operational business data.  I’m really interested in rideshare/crowd-sourced delivery  options and I’m working with one client on this now.  I’ll write more on this later, as there’s a lot going on the space as Uber/Lyft/Sidecar et al try to differentiate themselves and carve out their niches.

 

Calling all fitmob instructors / gym managers

Fitmob has gotten a lot of buzz lately and rightly so – they are seeking to really disrupt and change the model of gym membership and fitness class participation.  If you haven’t heard of them, you can think of them as an “Uber of fitness classes”.  You can find a lot of consumer reviews of the service on Yelp but I’m really interested in fitmob from the trainer or gym manager’s perspective. If you’ve used fitmob in your business and are willing to spend 5-10 minutes sharing your thoughts on it, please shoot me an email – karl@fitbusinesstech.com.   Thanks!