Three companies that I'm closely aligned with have been nominated as finalists for Indiana's Mira Awards:
- ExactTarget – no doubt with it's growth and fantastic leadership that this company will be a a worthy recipient of the award. There are pieces of ExactTarget's system that simply defy the laws of physics on how quickly they can produce and send emails. I loved the 2 and a half years I worked for ExactTarget!
On Monday, I had the pleasure of stopping by and chatting with Scott Dorsey, President of ExactTarget, and it was as if I had never left. He was energized, optimistic, and always smiling. That he took the time out to see me is such a testament to how good a friend and mentor he's become.
With my new position at Patronpath, I still get to work with ExactTarget quite a bit. Once we're fully up with one of our clients, we'll have ExactTarget's largest Enterprise account up and running. For that account, ExactTarget developed a custom report for us so we could send emails on behalf of territory representatives and provide the representatives with a report of what their client's interests were based on their click-throughs.
It's great having old team mates at ExactTarget as well, since they're receptive to my feedback. Having been a product manager there and then moving back to the role of customer is a pretty valuable commodity. (I wish I was able to purchase my options before I lost them!)
We also have an Agency account with ExactTarget and have a powerful, automated integration for restaurants. On a nightly basis, with no interaction from the restaurant we send out any one of ten or so campaigns – birthday, anniversary, no interaction for X days, purchases in excess of X dollars, etc. It's a fantastic retention mechanism for restaurants.
And, working with the 2012 Super Bowl Committee, I'm developing a WordPress plugin for automated subscriptions from a WordPress blog through ExactTarget. It's about 80% complete right now – I'm just working on trying to automate the cron work.
- Compendium Blogware – When Chris Baggott was still at ExactTarget, we started to see an opportunity for blogging applications to really harness content and provide a much better targeting for Search Engine Optimization.
With my son starting at IUPUI, I couldn't risk jumping on board Compendium when Chris asked. It may have been one of my biggest blunders. With much angst and even a little jealousy, I had to sit and watch Chris and Ali Sales take Compendium to market! Note: Ali Sales was also instrumental in ExactTarget and ChaCha's startup histories… ChaCha is also nominated!
I'm really proud to have been in those very first Saturday Starbucks meetings where we developed the business case, though!
Here's an early interview of Chris speaking about Compendium:
Compendium is doing a second round of funding now and is growing very rapidly. The combination of Search Engines and the efficiency of developing a process for corporations to implement blogging is hot right now and Compendium is at the forefront. I stopped by with Chris a few weeks ago and threw him a couple more ideas for his product.
Chris has been a great mentor to me and Ali has been an inspirational President… they have implemented my own Agency version that I'll be launching soon. If you're interested in Compendium, please connect with me directly and I can let you know, “Why not just use [Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, etc.]. Or you can sign up for Compendium's Newsletter (but be sure to put me in the reference!) and win a free iPod Touch.
- Patronpath – Marketing and Ecommerce for the Restaurant Industry – last but not least is my current employer. Patronpath is experiencing triple-digit growth right now. As restaurants need to squeeze their wallets due to increased prices and reduced dine-out numbers, the only way to grow their business is to get a robust take-out or delivery business.
Online Ordering has grown some of our customers directly out of the red and into the black. Though our core, we pay a lot of attention to ensuring our clients utilize good search engine optimization and great site development. It's not enough to have online ordering, you have to find the online ordering – a point that most of our competition has missed.
In the last 8 months we've integrated 4 different POS systems, a robust callcenter integration, redesigned our interface to reduce abandonment rates and implemented a turnkey national email newsletter for one of our partners (mentioned above in our ExactTarget Enterprise implementation). In one show of our muscle, a major chain requested a feature of our system that we implemented over a single weekend. That same feature had taken the competition months to develop. We've got a lot more in development right now and we're moving into 2008 with barrels blazing!
Patronpath is aggressively growing and I'm aggressively pushing automation and (will soon be) leveraging a state of the art virtualized environment in Bluelock to keep up. We've got an ace development partner who has implemented some of the largest ecommerce companies on the globe (internationally) and I'm confident that by 2009, we'll be a major force in the industry. The fact is that we know how marketing works, how ecommerce works, and how restaurants work – and the competition doesn't.
We've also recently added Marty Bird to the mix. I think Marty pulled 60% of my workload off of me the day he walked in the door and it's been an incredible pleasure to work with him. His continuous drive for improvement and strategy is exactly what we need at this point in Patronpath!
Note: Ignore the Patronpath site – we've got a new one coming this month!
I have to add that I'm not the only connection between these three companies. You'll notice that each company has exceptional branding – thanks to Kristian Andersen and team. Kristian is an amazing guy and runs a fantastic company that is able to execute like no other agency or consultancy I've ever worked with. Kristian helps small companies get big, and he's assembled an incredible team here locally to do it. He's a good friend as well.