Act-On

Act-On Software is a software-as-a-service product for marketing automation developed by Act-On, a company headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The company was founded in 2008, retailing its software exclusively through Cisco, which provided $2 million in funding. It is used mostly by medium-sized businesses. It developed an internal sales department to market the software directly to users with $74 million in funding raised.[1][2][3] Act-On has received positive reviews for use by small to medium-sized businesses due to its ease-of-use, simplicity and cost.[4]

Act-On
Developer(s)Act-On
Initial release2008 (2008)
Operating systemSoftware as a service
TypeMarketing automation
LicenseSubscription
Websiteact-on.com

History

Act-On was founded in 2008 by Raghu Raghavan, formerly a founder of Responsys, after he saw "potential for a sophisticated, but affordable SaaS marketing tool mid-market companies could easily use."[5] Act-On initially sold through alternate channels, but later created its own sales team.[6] Entering the market after several competitors had been established, Act-On had a second-mover advantage, learning from the success and failures of earlier market entrants.[5] Raghavan commented in a 2013 interview, "We came in, we saw all of the things that had not been done right in this space, and I think it allowed us to build a company in a whole new way to attack what we saw in the monsters' market."[7]

In 2009 the company's investors tried to convince founder Raghu Raghavan to move Act-On to Silicon Valley, but it remained in Oregon.[8][9] The company raised a second round of funding for $4 million[9] in November 2010 [10] and a third round for $10 million in June 2011.[8][11][12] In March 2011 Act-On re-launched its software with a new user interface.[13] Later that year, Act-On expanded into larger offices in Beaverton, Oregon, Roseville, California and also established a new location in Silicon Valley.[14] An additional $16 million in funding was raised the following year.[15]

By 2013, the company had 140 employees,[16][17] up from 11 in 2010 and 35 in 2011.[8][18] In early 2016, it expanded again into larger offices in Portland.[19]

In April 2014, $42 million in additional funding was raised, which was the largest funding round in the Oregon technology market since the dot com bubble.[20][21] Act-On now employs 425 people, up from 250 in 2014,[16] and has expanded to include multiple offices in the U.S. and two abroad.[22] It serves over 3,000 customers worldwide.[6] In 2015, Act-On expanded its executive team with a new CFO, formerly of the company Jive, a VP of demand generation, previously with ExactTarget, and a VP of cloud operations.[23][24]

Features

Act-On is a subscription-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) product for marketing automation. Its software products are for email marketing, landing pages, social media prospecting, CRM integration, lead management, webinar management, and analytics.[4][1][25]

Act-On has a Twitter Prospector tool introduced in 2010 that automates the publishing and monitoring of content on Twitter, tracking prospective customers and measuring their activity.[26] An Act-On Insight tool, released in June 2012, compares a company's social media marketing performance to competitors.[27][28] Its Hot Prospects tool, introduced at the 2011 Dreamforce conference, creates a dashboard in Salesforce.com that scores the likelihood a prospect is ready to make a purchasing decision.[29] A set of software tools for search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and other inbound tactics was introduced in May 2013 under the name Act-On Inbound. Act-On also introduced a mobile app and mobile optimization features.[30][31][32] In July 2014, Act-On announced a set of product updates intended to improve data visualization and customize the user experience.[33] Enhancements included a responsive email composer and expanded CRM integrations.[34][35][36]

In March 2015, It introduced Act-On Anywhere, a Chrome application allowing users access to marketing automation data and functionalities across any web-based browser.[37] Allowing users to embed calls-to-action in web pages and blogs from any web-based content management system,[38][39][40] this extension along with Act-On's open APIs, supports a larger vision for an open marketing ecosystem, in which third-party applications can plug and play with Act-On – ensuring that end-users can continue to leverage their current systems and augment the use of those systems using engagement data collected within marketing automation.[39][41]

In June 2015, Act-On released Data Studio, an advanced data access and analytics tool allowing users to visualize, select, configure and export Act-On data to any Business Intelligence (BI) platform.[42] Offered as part of Act-On's enterprise package, the feature equips users with built-in wizards, filters and templates to extract and report on engagement data in real-time.[43][44][45]

Act-On is intended for marketing departments of between one and 15 people,[46] as a low-cost alternative to enterprise software suites.[47][48] It is one of few marketing automation vendors with adoption outside the technology industry,[49][50][51][52] and currently has a 7 percent share of the marketing automation market overall.[51]

Users can manage WebEx and GoToWebinar events within the software. It also integrates with data and analytics services, such as Google Analytics.[49][53] More connectors are available for Microsoft Dynamics, WordPress, Salesforce, SugarCRM, Oktopost and others.[54][55][56]

As part of its Open Marketing Ecosystem, the Act-On platform offers native integrations with all major CRM systems, so as to be vendor agnostic without being indifferent.[57][58] A separate version for agencies has an agency dashboard to centrally manage multiple client campaigns and is sold at a lower bulk price.[53] Act-On also promotes its agency partners and third-party applications on the Act-On Partner Exchange (APEX), manages an educational resource called the Act-On Center of Excellence (ACE) and provides professional services.[53][56]

Reception

Act-On continues to draw praise for its growth, product and leadership. The company was named to the Inc. 500 List of Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in 2013, 2014 and 2015,[59] Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 List in 2013[60] and 2014,[61] and Portland Business Journal's List of 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in 2013,[62] 2014,[63] and 2015.[64]

In early 2015, the Portland Business Journal anointed Act-On's CEO Raghu Raghavan the Technology CEO of the Year, for his ability to manage the company's growth across multiple offices and continents.[65]

In February, Act-On published the results of a three-month survey, detailing differences between top and average performing B2B companies.[66][67] The report found that few marketers owned the customer lifecycle "end to end," and top-performers were likelier to focus on customer retention and expansion, rather than their mid-size, average-performing peers.[68][69][70][71] For its efforts promoting this report, Act-On was shortlisted for MarketingProfs' 2015 B2B Bright Bulb Awards.[72]

In the 2014 Forrester Wave Report on Lead-to-Revenue Management Vendors, Act-On was ranked a leader in both categories: Small Marketing Teams and Large Enterprises. Forrester noted that Act-On did an admirable job delivering functionality for "nearly every criterion" evaluated: Simplicity, feature-set, software and support.[73] In Gleanster's Gleansight 2014 benchmark, Act-On received a "Best" ranking in three out of four categories: Ease of deployment, ease of use and overall value.[74] In the 2014 VEST report from analyst firm Raab Associates, Act-On was awarded "good scores" on the "product and vendor dimensions," numbering among "strong leaders" in the "crowded small-to-midsize company segment."[75] The 2015 VEST report named Act-On as "the only privately held company to rank as a leader across all major categories of business."[76]

References

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