Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Massachusetts Innovators in Sales & Marketing Technologies

Massachusetts Innovators in Sales & Marketing Technologies
By Patrick Rafter, Chief ValueCaster at Valuecasters and Principal of Rafter Communications is a frequent contributor to the MassTLC blog. Twitter: @prafter

Having been active in the MassTLC since its inception, I’ve been fortunate to attend more than a dozen of the annual MassTLC Leadership Awards galas. The 18th annual Awards ceremony (on September 16, 2015) topped them all: great turnout and a very upbeat mood among attendees, and the best crop of awards finalists and winners to date!

While the presentations of the coveted MassTLC 2015 Commonwealth Award and two Distinguished Leadership Awards at last week’s event were inspiring, as someone who’s worked in tech marketing and communications for three decades, I was especially interested in checking out who was in the running for the Award for the category of Innovative Technology of the Year – Sales & Marketing.

Sales and marketing leaders featured prominently during last year’s (2014), Awards with HubSpot tapped as Private Company of Year, Acquia’s Dries Buytaert: Top CTO, as well as Content Raven and Jebbit taking home trophies.

Five Massachusetts Sales & Marketing Innovators
(@acquia, @curata, @MavrckCo, @qstream, @visiblemeasures):
Five noteworthy and successful companies were finalists for the 2015 Sales & Marketing Innovation Award, including the winner: Mavrck.

Here’s my take on the five companies selected as 2015 Awards finalists (in alphabetical order), with observations on how these sales & marketing companies market themselves, their respective offerings, and resources each offer through their websites for prospects and other interested parties:

Acquia for ContextDB
www.acquia.com Twitter: @acquia
Burlington, MA-based Acquia is a software-as-a-service company co-founded by Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson to provide enterprise products, services, and technical support for its widely used open-source web content management platform Drupal.

Since its founding in 2007, Acquia has grown to become a global leader in content management with 4,000+ enterprise customers, an expansive product line and “thumbs up” reviews from industry analysts like Gartner who rated Acquia a “Leader” in its 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (for the second consecutive year). Describing itself as “the digital experience company,” Acquia’s momentum in delivering products and platforms to manage content, community, commerce and content” is formidable, fueled by 7 rounds of funding from 10 investors including Mass-based North Bridge Venture Partners.

Acquia’s website offers LOTS of Resources including data sheets, white papers, analyst briefs, and archived webinars.

Curata for Curata CMP Content Marketing Platform
http://www.curata.com Twitter: @curata
With offices in Boston and Cambridge, Curata provides solutions to create, organize and share content, and measure the impact of content marketing strategies. Curata’s value proposition (enabling marketers,” for the first time, to harness the power of content creation, curation, and analytics to yield a predictable and more successful stream of content,) is delivered through 2 complimentary offerings: Curata CMP (content marketing platform) and Curata CCS (content curation software).

Named by Gartner as a 2015 “Cool Vendor for Content Marketing,” Curata has built an impressive customer base, with both B2B and B2C clients, and small/medium to large enterprises across a broad spectrum of market sectors.

Among the collection of resources, visit its website to register to download Curata’s eBook on THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO CONTENT MARKETING ANALYTICS & METRICS
Mavrck for Mavrck          
http://www.mavrck.co Twitter: @MavrckCo (not to be confused with Bill Condo of Columbus, OH nabbed the @mavrck Twitter handle back in 2008).

Founded in 2012 by a group of Northeastern alumni (including Chris Wolfel, Lyle Stevens, and Sean Naegeli,) Mavrck is not only the winner of this year’s Award, its also the youngest of the five contenders.

Given the skyrocketing reach and use of social networks by consumers and businesses alike, Mavrck’s capability to effectively monitor followers, identify micro-influencers, and then engage customers on a human-to-human level, has savvy brand managers and advertisers salivating.

From its digs in Boston’s North End, the growing Mavrck team is developing what it calls  “the most effective influence marketing platform for driving sales on social networks.”

In under 3 ½ years, this fast-growing company has won the acceptance of major ad agencies, as well as blue chip brands such as Hershey’s, P&G, Sears and Tom’s of Maine.  Through its free Facebook Fan Grader, Mavrck taps into millennials’ preference for word-of-mouth endorsements, Mavrck is helping marketers to engage individuals through people they trust who are fans of those brands.

Mavrck’s solutions for “influence marketing” address a major shift in how people decide to buy products and services with Nielsen estimating that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than advertisements.

To learn more, register to download Mavrck’s

Qstream for Qstream
www.qstream.com  Twitter: @qstream
Burlington, MA-based Qstream, whom Gartner, Forrester et. al. consider a radically new and powerful sales performance platform is used by leading brands in technology (Xerox, LinkedIn), financial services (MasterCard), retail and consumer, medical devices and life sciences-- including 13 of the top 15 pharmaceutical companies, to improve the effectiveness of their sales teams and manage risk.

Based on clinically-proven brain science originally developed for students at Harvard Medical School, Qstream helps sales teams to improve knowledge acquisition, long-term knowledge retention, change behavior, and boost learners’ abilities to self-assess their knowledge.

Named a Gartner 2015 “Cool Vendor in CRM Sales,” Qstream enables sales management to track and act upon crucial sales metrics, while transparently accelerating the performance of individual sales people as well as teams.

Companies who run salesforce.com for CRM/sales/marketing operations, will be interested in Qstream’s recent announcement of the “industry's first predictive sales capabilities engine for Salesforce.”

The Resources section of the www.qstream.com website is extensive: White papers and eBooks, videos & infographics, webcasts and Slideshare decks, as well as PDF datasheets on Qstream use in all of its target markets including Qstream for High Tech Sales Teams and Channels.”

Visible Measures for True Reach
www.visiblemeasures.com Twitter: @Visiblemeasures.

Previously chosen by MassTLC as a finalist for the 2012 Private Company of the Year Award, Boston-based Visible Measures describes itself as “the leading content advertising company.”

Founded in 2005, by serial entrepreneur Brian Shin, Visible Measures has received $70.8M in eight funding rounds, backed by leading VC partners including General Catalyst Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Northgate Capital, DAG Ventures, Advance Media / Conde Nast, and Commonfund. 

While other AdTech vendors also share its view that “it all comes down to data,” Visible Meaures stands apart as a provider of solutions that help internet video publishers and advertisers to measure users’ video-content consumption. The sheer scale of Visible Measures’ reach is awesome: as each day it monitors over 500 million videos and it has studied consumer behavior of 3 trillion video views by 380 million consumers and counting!

Visible Measures works with top advertisers and partners including hundreds of global brands, agencies, trading desks, and publisher clients, which include Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Nestle, VivaKi and Conde Nast.

Resources from the “Insights” section of the Visible Measures website include informative charts such as “Top 10 Brands in Video”  as well as a steady stream of research, including periodic reports on “all that’s new” in branded video viewership, that the company calls “The Vizzies.”

Massachusetts Leadership in Sales & Marketing Technology:
Each of these five Massachusetts-based companies have demonstrated true innovation in sales and marketing technology. 

Just as Massachusetts was the crucible of the American Revolution in the 18th century, birthplace to the transformative Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, and home to high technology pioneers of the 20th century—future historians may judge 21st Century Boston as the epicenter for new Web-based platforms that will significantly improve how companies connect and engage with those that matter—individuals who’ll find their products and services of value. 

I look forward to seeing what’s in their product pipeline!

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