As the CEO of a marketing agency, I understand data is one of our most powerful tools when it comes to effective marketing. And because this is a fact, there are so many platforms and analytics tools out there, with more and more being introduced all the time. With so many tools, it's hard to know which ones you need.
Enter DemandJump. I had the opportunity to speak to Julie Lyle of DemandJump to discuss how they are using artificial intelligence to cut through the noise and deliver prioritized action plans for locating new customers, driving the most valuable qualified traffic and growing revenue for businesses.
LM: Let's start by giving me a snapshot of you and the company.
JL: DemandJump is an artificial intelligence marketing and prescriptive analytics platform. We use advanced math, neural network science and machine learning (AI) to map a brand's entire digital ecosystem and show them precisely where to reach qualified traffic 2-3 steps before those customers reach any of their competitors' sites. This way, DemandJump clients can step in front of that traffic and redirect it to their own online properties. The DemandJump solution includes powerful analytics, including endless drill down capabilities and prescriptive marketing dashboards and recommended action plans that enable brands to outmaneuver competition, drive traffic and revenue and optimize every marketing dollar spent across all digital channels.
DemandJump is approximately two and a half years old, but we incorporated in March of 2016 and went to market with our minimum viable product (MVP) in July of 2016. In the 14 months since, we have passed the $1 million mark in annual recurring revenue (ARR), acquiring customers from global, multi-billion-dollar retail, CPG, ecommerce, pharma and B2B brands, including some of the fastest growing companies in the US. In addition, DemandJump has received two Mira Awards in 2016 (Best New Startup & Innovation of the Year) and 1 Mira Award in 2017 (Best Tech Product of the Year). We were named one of the State of Indiana's Top Companies to Watch in 2016, were selected as one of three finalists for the National Retail Federation (NRF) Startup of the Year 2017, and were chosen as one of ten companies from Indiana selected to pitch for Rise of the Rest Award.
I began my career as an entrepreneur, having founded a marketing and business development agency, which I sold to GCA and Leo Burnett in 1996. Since then, I have spent 20+ years as a Chief Merchant, Chief Marketing Officer or Chief Revenue Officer for global businesses in the retail, CPG, financial services and defense sectors. I have served as Chief Revenue Officer for Raytheon, Chief Marketing Officer for Walmart, Chief Merchant and Marketing Officer for Shopko/Pamida, Chief Marketing Officer for Prudential PLC and others. I currently sit on the boards of YEXT and TCC Global, and I was formerly the Chair of the Global Retail Marketing Association. My 20 months or so as Advisor/CRO/CMO with DemandJump is my first foray into the SaaS startup world, and I have loved every minute of it.
LM: Tell me about your origin story. Why you? Why this brand? Where did this all begin for you?
JL: I am not one of the founders of DemandJump, and so I did not start the company.
However, I "discovered" DemandJump in October of 2015 after about five months of searching for the best new attribution solution in the marketplace. At the time, I was serving my second year as Chairperson of the Global Retail Marketing Association. I had planned to step down after completing 2 years as Chair of the GRMA, and having served more than 10 years on the GRMA Advisory Board. As such, I knew I would likely take another post as Chief Merchant or Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 500 brand in the fall of 2016. I wanted to use my time wisely between GRMA and my next CMMO role to research the latest technology advances and to determine what innovative companies were making progress toward truly solving attribution and online/offline marketing mix modeling.
I spent a number of weeks with the top venture capital and private equity firms on both coasts (NYC & SFO), meeting with their portfolio company executives and learning about the technologies they were developing and/or investing in. Most importantly, I was benchmarking which startups were making the greatest progress toward understanding the online/offline path to purchase (attribution), as this is the holy grail for merchants, marketers and businesses as a whole.
In the fall of 2016, I read an article online about DemandJump and I reached out to the Co-Founder and CEO, Christopher Day. Christopher and I met for breakfast and he described the solution that he and his partner, Shawn Schwegman were developing and I was hooked. Their bottom-up approach to solving attribution was unique in the market in that it leveraged advanced math and neural network science to identify the most powerful traffic sources across all digital channels. No one else was tackling the attribution challenge in this manner.
LM: How did you come to join the team?
JL: After meeting with Christopher Day in October of 2015, I began working with the DemandJump team as an advisor. I was helping them with their GTM positioning and product-market fit. I joined as CRO and CMO full time in late June 2016.
LM: How did you think of the concept?
JL: The strategy behind DemandJump was focused on solving attribution from the beginning. The foundation for DemandJump was born from the 'Art of War' mentality that Co-Founder Shawn Schwegman used to successfully outmaneuver competition and accelerate the growth of Overstock.com when he was CTO/CMO there several years ago. Coincidentally, I was CMO at Walmart and focused on driving our ecommerce business at the same time Shawn was at Overstock. Overstock was a formidable competitor then - and I am glad we are on the same side of the table now at DemandJump.
LM: Talk to us a little bit about why you think DemandJump has been so successful?
JL: I believe one of the drivers of our success has been the fact that DemandJump was built by marketers, for marketers. We understand keenly the challenges that marketers face in today's challenging environment. I know first-hand what it feels like to be a CMO with too many martech tools to sift through, too many competitors popping up every day, too many conflicting data sets and too little time/resources to get to a single version of the truth as relates to a customer's path to purchase. Marketers today are inundated with these distractions. Yet the single, most important thing a marketer needs to accomplish to survive or thrive today, is to locate qualified traffic and direct it to their brand. DemandJump and our Traffic Cloud solution does precisely that. We show brands exactly where qualified prospects are 2-3 steps before they reach your competition. This way marketers can align their investments to step in front of that highly-converting traffic and redirect those prospects to their brands.
LM: Discuss the aesthetic/branding of the company
JL: We created Traffic Cloud because we believe that phrase succinctly sums up what we are all about. In fact, we often say, "Traffic. It's What Matters." We say this because it's what our customers say. There are more than 5,300 marketing technology tools available today, a 3,500% increase since 2011! However, more than 90% of those tools are focused on extracting value (driving conversion, cross sell, upsell) after a customer or prospect has interacted with your brand. There are very few solutions that enable you to find new, qualified prospects - and there are none that I know of that are capable of pinpointing where qualified traffic is, down to the blog post, key word, affiliate etc. on its way to your competition. I wish I had had DemandJump when I was CMO of Walmart, Pamida or Prudential.
LM: How can emerging brands in the space be successful?
JL: I believe strongly that Chief Marketers act as the Chief Profit Officers for their companies. Marketing budgets have a significant, immediate impact on the P&L, as well as a long-term impact on the health and viability of a business. If a marketer is doing their job well, then they are identifying and managing the most efficient means of reaching the most qualified buyers, and driving those buyers to convert time and again. To do this, marketers must understand 1) the Life Time Value of each customer; and 2) how/where to find their most profitable LTV customer. If you know who your most profitable customer is, and precisely where to find with those valuable prospects, then you can efficiently allocate your resources to tailor and deliver the messages that will engage them with your brand.
LM: What is your take on the future of this software?
JL: DemandJump continues to grow and evolve, but we will stay squarely focused on delivering qualified traffic for our customers. Just a few months back, we launched incredible analytics and reporting enhancements that enable brands to track up to 170 different data points on every customer or prospect interaction. This granularity of insight, along with simple, endless drill-down capabilities, enables DemandJump customers to pinpoint the precise characteristics and behaviors of their most profitable customers so they can tailor their targeting and offers to attract them. We will continue to build onto the Traffic Cloud platform with new features that help brands attract and convert valuable new buyers.
LM: What's next for the brand?
JL: In the office, we rally the team and talk about Digital Domination. It may sound like a dream to people who don't know DemandJump, but our team - and our customers - believe DemandJump has a "tiger by the tail." In such a short period, we have secured the confidence and contracts of global brand leaders including one of the top five fastest growing global ecommerce companies, numerous Fortune 500 retail and CPG companies, two of the top five global pharma companies and more. We have been honored by some of the leading business and technology associations for the quality and performance of our solution, and we are already replacing some of the industry's well-established and leading analytics platforms in the marketplace today. I became a personal investor in DemandJump in January of this year, and I believe it will be one of the best performing investments in my portfolio. You see, everyone needs to source new, qualified traffic, and DemandJump is the only solution that delivers precisely that. Watch this space!
We definitely will, and we can't wait to see what the future holds for DemandJump.