We recently interviewed Matt McFee, co-founder and Managing Partner of Inbox Monster. We covered a range of topics related to starting and growing a new company in the email marketing space. This is the first of many articles in a thought leadership series sponsored by CyberData Pros.
Matt started his first “internet” job a little over 20 years ago with 24/7 Media (now Xaxis) where he was exposed to email marketing and internet advertising. This job just happened to be around a major market correction (Dot.com Bust) and Matt was exposed to, and learned a lot, about sustainable business models. These early days in the email marketing space helped Matt see first-hand the importance of innovation and customer success. This helped shape his views on how to build a business.
Matt and his co-founders came together to start Inbox Monster with a shared experience. They all saw the consolidation of email deliverability and threat assessment about three years ago and felt the market was going to be looking for a new perspective, a more cost-effective way to accomplish the same goals. The partners came together and formed Inbox Monster.
The founders wanted to take what they were able to observe over the previous several years in the deliverability monitoring space and take a forward-looking approach to where they saw the market “going.” Rather than try to create something the market was currently buying, they brought together a group of customers that helped them understand the way their email programs were evolving so that Inbox Monster could innovate a more unique approach.
The first step was to build a platform that generates revenue and gets them to profitability and then reinvest in product development. Inbox Monster’s target audience is global brands with distributed email marketing, CRM and operations staff. They have also been to start building a strong channel presence with email service providers that want to bundle new capabilities to offer their clients.
Data Privacy and Compliance Challenge
The founders all saw the impact data privacy was going to have on future business in the CRM space as far back as 2015. But they saw regulatory oversight as an opportunity, not as a problem. Matt’s response to privacy and compliance challenges was to embrace them and make expertise in these areas an integral part of their business model. In fact, privacy and compliance are an integral part of their business model and go to market offering today. Large brands appropriately have their IT units conduct security and privacy compliance reviews of any vendor involved in customer data. The Inbox Monster team invests in education for all their product and customer facing teams to ensure they lead the conversation with their customers.
Impact on Revenue and Scalability
The Inbox Monster team is pursuing the market based on where it is going, helping enterprise brands make their CRM channel more powerful with data, insights and visualizations. Embracing the IT security and compliance reviews required by large brands in the vendor evaluation process creates an additional advantage. By developing solutions with compliance standards like ISO 27001 and Soc 2 Type 2 in mind, Inbox Monster will smooth the path toward closing deals sooner and with far less effort.
GDPR, CCPA, SOC etc have created an environment that can slow the pace of customer acquisition, yet Inbox Monster sees these as opportunities to differentiate, offer thought leadership advice to their clients and accelerate deals. This forward-thinking approach is changing the conversations with clients. Inbox Monster now has the opportunity to take the role of trusted advisor in their sales engagements.
Inbox Monster has invested in policy libraries, policy controls and built features to support compliance directly into their platform. Anyone reading this article that has experienced a technical and security review in the vendor vetting process will immediately understand the impact of being able to take this conversation off the table. Inbox Monster sees the power of embedding privacy and compliance oversight into their business model as a means to lead customers, change the conversation, accelerate close rates and minimize sales effort.
As they move forward, Inbox Monster is adding additional capabilities to the platform that will help email marketing teams at global brands in all areas of their workflow, from creation to testing to analysis. The goal is to collapse segmented and siloed processes into a single framework and workflow. This will afford clients even better insights into their campaigns and a better return on marketing investments. Clients will see accelerated campaign development and increased inbox delivery.
The ROI of Inbox Monster
Matt’s response to my questions about business outcomes for his clients were very to the point. The bottom line is the ROI of email is well known and if you can improve inbox deliverability by 20% then the ROI is easily calculated. In fact, Inbox Monster crunched the numbers for a typical e-commerce brand on their platform in a recent blog post, and the results from making some smaller deliverability tweaks is significant. Adding a professional services component to their solutions allows Inbox Monster to knowledge transfer and ensure customer success. This fuels ongoing engagement to secure more insights about how to improve the business of their customers.
The founders of Inbox Monster used their collective learning of data, deliverability, innovation, customer success and business models to create a unique and valuable solution to global brands and email service providers. Embracing and embedding challenges such as privacy and compliance as an integral element of their offering has afforded them substantial leverage with prospective clients and set them up for continued success.
Matt asked for the opportunity to thank a couple people in the past that had helped shape his success as a business innovator and leader in the space. Bill Nussey was formerly the CEO of Silverpop (acquired by IBM) and Matt Blumberg was the CEO of Return Path (acquired by Validity). Matt explained both men were generous with their time, their connections & experience and helped shape his business success and perspectives.
- Innovation, customer success and sustainable business models are critical to building a successful start up
- Pursue solutions that map to where the market is going versus where it is now
- Embracing and embedding privacy, compliance and regulatory elements into your business model and go-to-market solution help eliminate obstacles in developing new revenue
- Professional services help to ensure customer success via knowledge transfer of critical issues such as data privacy to the client and client strategy back to the business
- Investing in education and training programs for all product and customer facing staff in privacy and compliance changes the sales process and creates unique advantage that accelerates revenue