Lots of change for this Sydney founded, and now San Francisco-based, email marketing vendor.

Despite new social media channels being promising ways to market to customers, email generally, and email marketing campaigns specifically, are still a huge part of organizations outreach approaches. And while tools such as Marketo lead the broader enterprise marketing space, down at the pure-play email marketing end of town, Campaign Monitor and its arch-rival MailChimp are where it’s at.

I’ve been following both vendors for a few years, and actually use Campaign Monitor for my own email newsletter (you should really join the 15,000 or so other folk who subscribe to my newsletter) – it’s easy to use, economical and does what it says on the box – helps companies run their email marketing and newsletter initiatives.

In 2014, Campaign Monitor’s co-founders, Dave Greiner and Ben Richardson, sold roughly half of their business to two US technology investment firms – Insight Venture Partners and Accel Partners – in a deal that valued their firm at an estimated $600 million. Around the same time, Campaign Monitor moved to San Francisco, and begun hiring up and appointed some high-profile executives to lead the next stage of the organization’s growth. One of Marc Benioff and Salesforce.com’s top young executives, Alex Bard was recruited as CEO, with Greiner and Richardson stepping back to product and operational roles.

CEO moves on

Everything has been looking rosy since, with the company growing, introducing new products and generally settling into its new US-centric guise. Bard was making monthly trips back to Sydney, where Campaign Monitor still has a significant presence, but the focus was on US growth. And growth was coming, Campaign Monitor’s 200 employees service around two million customers working within 200,00 businesses. High-profile customers include Apple, Adidas, and Vice Media.

So it came as something of a shock last week to hear that Bard has quit Campaign Monitor to go and become a venture capitalist, while the Australian-based co-founders have pulled back from day to day roles (but still remain on the board.) Bard, in an emailed statement, gave the expected platitudes about his time with the company:

After three amazing years working at Campaign Monitor, I’ve decided to step down as CEO to begin a new career chapter in venture capital,” Mr. Bard said in an emailed statement. Campaign Monitor is well positioned for continued growth and I’m confident the company’s best days are ahead.

For their part, the co-founders are downplaying their own move and pointing out their ongoing involvement as board members:

As parents with young kids, they’re taking the time they didn’t have when building Campaign Monitor over the past decade to spend more time with their family

Chairman steps up, at least for now

After the shock news, Adam Berger, who was only last month appointed to be Campaign Monitor’s chairman, has moved into the CEO role, at least on an interim basis. Outside of this role, Berger is chairman of Diligent Corporation, a software company acquired by Insight in 2016; and was previously CEO of Digital Room, an online printing company that also counts Insight as an investor.

Shifting the focus

It would be easy to suspect that the company is spending all of its time focusing on bedding in these huge changes, and would be de-emphasizing other priorities, but apparently not. Campaign Monitor is announcing a new product offering, Insights, an analytics suite designed to deliver deep insights (hence the name) into the efficacy of a customers’ email marketing investment. Insights has a host of interactive dashboards and reports.

All of this analytics offering is about allowing customers to create data-driven email marketing campaigns – instead of “spray and pray”, they can invest in the most effective email tactics. Metrics such as subscriber engagement, reports of top-performing acquisition channels, and a clear view into the overall impact of customers’ email marketing investments all help to prove that email marketing is a logical investment.

Dashboards display a host of email performance KPIs and subscriber engagement trends to help users easily understand the impact of their email marketing and automation investments. The various reports focus on providing insight into how various campaigns, journeys, lists, and segments compare against each other, over time. It allows for the assessment of who are the most loyal and/or profitable subscribers and helps to assess engagement and acquisition trends.

Releasing some engagement statistics

Alongside the product launch, Campaign Monitor is announcing some findings from a survey it ran. Highlights of the survey include the nuggets that:

  • More than half (52.7%) of those surveyed in the U.S. check their personal email account more than 10 times a day, and it is by far their favorite way to receive communication from brands
  • 76% of consumers agree that retails brands are sending the most relevant, accurate emails tailored to their shopping needs
  • The top reasons for consumers to open an email from a brand are personalized subject lines (72%) and discount offerings (62%)
  • Millennials are far more likely to take action on a relevant email than any other age group. Across verticals, the largest gap was in donating to nonprofits. Fifty-eight percent of millennials “always” or “most of the time” donated to a nonprofit based on an email while just 18 percent of respondents 55+ did the same.

MyPOV

Insights, even without the survey justification, makes sense in a world where organizations are trying to get the biggest bang for their marketing buck. It will be a useful addition to the Campaign Monitor product portfolio. That said, it is hard to look past this week’s news – a sudden CEO departure never looks good, and despite the fact that Bard has been on board for a few years, and has bedded in some great initiatives, it leaves the company in something of a state of flux. Let’s see what the next few months bring.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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