Oh my! Who knew Constant Contact would stir up such emotions? Yesterday I wrote a post about Constant Contact, using it as somewhat of a case study of a Web 1.0 company that just hasn't made the leap to Web 2.0.
Sorry Constant Contact (and all your fans that left comments); I'm sticking to my guns on this one.
Constant Contact started some 15 years ago. It was a pioneer in translating direct mail to direct e-mail via easy to build e-newsletters. Those products are still available, easy to use and modestly priced for small businesses. And, that's a good thing as Martha Stewart would say.
However, I also see 15 years of opportunities squandered. While Constant Contact has developed an iPhone app to monitor your account, for example, and has its new "Event Marketing" tool (a handy way to set-up online registeration for conferences, by the way); it still hasn't made the jump into developing Web 2.0 tools for online marketing.
It just hasn't.
- Yes, you can monitor your e-mail campaigns on your iPhone. But, can you send out a coupon to all your clients via their iPhone?
- Can you optimize newsletters to be read on mobile devices?
- How cool would it be to send out a coupon via Twitter, instead of or in addition to e-mail? Is that possible?
- What if Constant Contact was similar to Twitter allowing me to sign up to follow specific companies and spread the word about them to my friends? Companies work very hard generating leads. This is a way for the leads to come to them. That is what social networking or Web 2.0 is all about.
The posting was really about this: the web is a different beast than it was back in the day (fifteen, ten, even five years ago). It is evolving and web-based businesses must evolve with it or risk stagnation if not extinction.
There's a ton of things Constant Contact could be doing. If they were, I dare say that they would have more than 300 and something thousand accounts after 15 years.
All that being said, a very attentive Chris Nahil, PR Director from Constant Contact, tracked me down last night wanting to respond. I offered him this platform to do so.
Here it is unedited. I will let him have the last word (and tomorrow I'll go back to picking on Apple and Microsoft, because I don't think they really care what I have to say):
"Constant Contact has more than 370,000 small business customers in 140 countries, employs more than 600, and recorded a 48-percent increase in revenue in 2009. Our stock is largely listed as 'buy' and 'outperform' by Wall Street analysts who follow us closely. While a single analyst recently downgraded our stock, that analyst also raised his 12-month price target for our shares.
Since late 2009, we have launched our third product, Event Marketing, added a desktop widget, an iPhone app, a Facebook app, and other features that allow customers to integrate social media into their marketing efforts. To help small businesses navigate the social media waters, we created a Social Media education hub. We are also one of the first companies to offer customer service via Twitter (@CTCTHelp)."