If you need proof that the marketing technology landscape might be just a bit crowded today, check out this overwhelming chart of MarTech solutions by chiefmartec.com (which is coincidentally run by Boston’s own Scott Brinker, co-founder & CTO of ion interactive).
So, how does an up-and-comer make a dent in the MarTech universe with so many competitors?
Say hello to Mautic, a marketing automation platform that leverages the power of an open source community, combined with a slick, easy-to-use product on a modern architecture.
The story of Mautic starts with its founder and CTO, David Hurley, who was running a web agency for small business owners. His firm specialized in building websites using Joomla, an open source content management system. He was also an active member of the Joomla project, as a Community Manager for this open source initiative.
Unfortunately, Joomla never hit the same level of adoption as other open source CMS projects, Drupal and Wordpress. When it became clear that the Joomla movement was losing steam, Hurley began looking elsewhere in the marketing stack for other solutions that could benefit from an open source approach and a healthy dose of disruption.
As he was doing his research, Hurley discovered that no open source alternative existed in the marketing automation space. He dug deeper into the industry and realized that the level of innovation for the commercially available products had waned. The four major vendors (Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, as well as HubSpot for small businesses), were all founded more than a decade ago -- and some before the turn of the century.
These companies had built great solutions in a time when email was the primary method for communication. However, the modern customer experience is very different in today’s omnichannel world, with the emergence of mobile and social.
Recognizing the unique opportunity of a massive market with slow-moving incumbents, and widespread customer pain, Hurley started Mautic in 2014 as an open source project to build a modern marketing automation solution. Fast forward to today, Mautic has an installed base of nearly 200,000 companies.
“There is a real need to modernize marketing automation,” says Matt Johnston, who joined Mautic as CEO at the end of 2016. “As a marketing leader for the past 15 years, I’ve witnessed the pain of status quo marketing automation options. Too many marketers get bogged down by tools that slow them down, rather than enable them to market further, faster. It costs them results in their campaigns -- and relationships in their companies.”
Historically, marketing organizations had to make trade-offs when deciding which marketing automation solution was right for them. Some products are known for their intuitive, easy-to-use features but have significant feature limitations, while other products offer advanced capabilities, however, they are incredibly complex to implement.
“Modern marketing automation should be easy to use, powerful, and simple to integrate,” said Johnston. “It’s hard to find a marketer who loves their traditional marketing automation tool. Mautic is out to change that.”
Since Mautic was started only three years ago, they had the benefit of starting fresh and thinking of what modern marketers need in today’s world. Mautic is built on a modern architecture with open APIs that enable users to easily integrate with countless technology solutions. Plus, it was developed with omnichannel customer experiences in mind -- from websites to social to mobile to brick and mortar. Mautic also incorporates cross-channel communications, including email, SMS, push notifications, browser notifications, etc.
Mautic was designed for marketers with a simple user interface, where you don’t need a Front-End Designer or Developer to create emails or landing pages.
Another key benefit of Mautic is rapid international expansion; it has been translated into 35 different languages. Software translation usually requires a tremendous amount of work for a commercial software company.
Since Mautic is open source, anyone can download the product at Mautic.org, where the developer community is active. However, if a marketer is using the self-hosted version, they are responsible for managing and maintaining the product by installing dozens of new releases per year. This includes hosting it, plugging in an email service provider, and performing regression testing with each new version.
Two years ago, the idea of building a company around this open source project started to percolate. In today’s SaaS world, customers expect to have a cloud-hosted version that is fully supported, and always running the latest version. So it made sense for Mautic to move in this direction, including offering the industry’s only freemium marketing automation solution.
Hurley was introduced to Michael Skok of Underscore VC and Bill Wiberg of G20 Ventures. Skok has an extensive career building and investing in high growth software companies, including Acquia. Underscore VC and G20 Ventures ended up leading a $5 million Series A investment in the company in 2016.
Towards the end of last year, Mautic launched its first commercial product, the Pro version of its cloud-based marketing automation platform. In the first quarter of this year, the company signed dozens of customers to an annual agreement and then saw 3X growth in the second quarter.
Mautic has 25 employees with more than half of them working out of their new offices near Assembly Row, right off the Orange Line. At the core of the company’s DNA, they have built the leadership team with great marketing expertise. Matt Johnston was the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Applause before joining the company as CEO. Katie Staveley, the company’s VP of Marketing, spent time in marketing leadership roles at Signiant and Acquia. And, Matisha Ladiwala’s background includes relevant positions at Constant Contact, Sophos, and IBM, prior to joining Mautic as its VP of Product Management.
Mautic is looking to change the game with their platform for teams struggling to automate personalized experiences at scale. The combination of easy-to-use and sophisticated technology, as well as unique features, helps to differentiate Mautic in a crowded industry and hopefully provides the right marketing automation solution for marketers.
“Mautic provides the best of both worlds, so marketers no longer need to make painful tradeoffs between speed and power,” Johnston says. “And that’s at the core of our message.”
Images courtesy of Mautic.