Campaign Monitor wants to help small businesses grow by harnessing data

- February 20, 2017 3 MIN READ
Alex Bard - Campaign Monitor

Email marketing software company Campaign Monitor has, for the most part, been quietly plugging away since its founding in the Sutherland Shire, in south-eastern Sydney, in 2004.

Ten years later, the company finally began making headlines with the announcement it had raised US$250 million in funding from American VC Insight Venture Partners, moved its headquarters to Elizabeth St, and hired former Salesforce executive Alex Bard as its new CEO.

Taking over from founders Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner, Bard said he was attracted to the company because it had, from its Shire base, become a global company.

With around 250 employees now spread across its Sydney, San Francisco, and London offices, roughly 40 percent of the company’s customers are based in North America, 40 percent in Europe, and the rest around Asia-Pacific.

Among these customers are the likes of Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, however Bard is particularly passionate about the small to medium businesses (SMBs) that make up the bulk of the 200,000 clients using Campaign Monitor.

“I was incredibly excited about our greater purpose, and our greater purpose is to help businesses grow…for me, these businesses all over the world are the global economic growth engine, so if we can be on the growth side, and have a meaningful impact, I feel we’re creating positivity in the world,” he said.

Since Bard came on board around two and a half years ago, the company acquired survey tool GetFeedback, whose San Francisco office became Campaign Monitor’s North American headquarters, and doubled down on helping its customers understand and make the most of all the data they’re collecting from subscribers.

It has also worked on automation, launching a tool to help customers send automated emails for whatever occasion, whether it be a deal for a new subscriber or a special offer for someone on their birthday.

The company’s growth, according to Bard, has been fuelled by the buy-in of its employees, who are driven by Campaign Monitor’s five core values.

“I’ve got this fundamental belief that the most important thing inside of company is having a greater purpose that everyone is excited about and genuinely believes in, as well as its values. You need clear core values that are in your tone that are unique to you; we really reinforce them on a daily basis and they drive who we are and what we stand for, and we do that regardless of location,” Bard said.

The process of determining of these values – make mum proud; if our customers kick ass, we will too; care about why; be the change you want; and do less but do it best – was led by Bard soon after he joined the company, taking a one on one with each employee to ask them what they loved about the company and what could be improved.

“The answer to the question of what do you love was something related to culture, but everyone had a slightly different definition of what that meant. What I thought and believed, and still do today, is that culture is a changing and evolving thing, especially when you’re hiring people of different backgrounds with diverse thoughts,” he said.

“Then when you take those values and make sure they’re democratised in the water supply, that you’re living and celebrating and reinforcing them, then you can create an environment where, even if you’re globally distributed, you’ve got people thinking in the same way, even though we hire people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.”

Much of the company’s thinking now revolves around data, which Bard calls “the fuel of the future”.

While some may have declared email dead a few years ago, Campaign Monitor believes that helping businesses capture data and create behavioural profiles of users based on activity will allow for much more targeted campaigns, in turn helping them drive greater returns.

Through all this, Bard said the company is focused on “smart, responsible growth”. The funding Greiner and Richardson took on in 2014 was Campaign Monitor’s first VC investment and the plan for the foreseeable future is to have it remain the only.

“The company’s been profitable since day one and we continue to be profitable. I think that’s a such a powerful asset because when you’re profitable you can control your own fate as to what you do; you’re not at the mercy of the markets or the investment community, you’re truly in control of your own destiny.”

Image: Alex Bard. Source: Forbes.