CEO Spotlight: Peter Simmonds, dotmailer
Why did you join the company?
I started my career at Unilever and spent my formative years as a marketing accountant where I was tasked with measuring marketing ROI, so even though I was very much a numbers guy I still managed from early on to gain an in-depth understanding of the integral role marketing can play in a company’s overall business strategy. So making the move to a company actually operating in the marketing space seemed like a naturally good ﬁt.
This is why when the opportunity to invest in dotmailer came along eight years ago I jumped at the chance. At that time the company employed just over 12 people and was turning over under one million pounds a year, so was still very much at that evolutionary and emergent phase of growth. I was essentially seduced by the ambitious and dynamic corporate culture, and the founders impressed me with their drive and wealth of ideas!
The shared goal was clear: to make dotmailer the no.1 email marketing platform in the UK and I very much wanted to play a part in helping that vision become a reality! The company has obviously changed massively during my tenure. Eight years ago we had one small ofﬁce; we now have six with the most recent having opened in New York last year. Eight years ago we served mainly SMEs but we have since re-aligned the business to focus more on ecommerce and large enterprise entities. This shift in strategy has seen us increase our ecommerce client base by 67% in the past year alone!What problem are you solving for ecommerce professionals? How do you know it’s a real problem?
Ecommerce is an undeniably cluttered and competitive sector as consumers have much to choose from, meaning that their behaviours and purchasing decisions can be wholly unpredictable. Online retailers therefore need a detailed and intricate understanding of their consumer data, and in turn need to use this insight to deliver meaningful customer engagement programmes. This is where dotmailer can help. After 15 years of working with online retailers we understand their challenges, their ambitions and the obstacles they face every day. Our toolkit isn’t a standard platform which just enables you to send emails and measure click-throughs; in fact it’s a fully-ﬂedged marketing automation programme which places your customers’ behaviour right at the centre of your email conversations.
We are now in our ﬁfteenth year of trading and to celebrate this milestone we have invested signiﬁcantly in the business and launched a new and improved platform. One of the key features of our streamlined solution is the Magento Connector which enables ecommerce organisations using the Magento platform to seamlessly synchronise their e-marketing data with customer orders, wish lists, transactional activity and browsing history. This innovation has led to us being awarded Gold Partner status by Magento , an accolade which we share with only three other organisations globally!What do your customers say about you?
We run regular customer satisfaction surveys, because it’s important for us to get valuable feedback that tells us not only what we’re doing right but also what we’re doing wrong. Armed with this knowledge we are able to consistently reﬁ ne and hone our offering so we can continue to provide the sterling suite of solutions for which we’re renowned. I have recently reviewed the latest round of the survey, and the word which came up time and time again when describing our platform was “easy”. Sounds simple, but with a platform as intuitive and sophisticated as dotmailer you would expect it to be complex, but whilst the back-end is certainly feature-rich, we’ve worked hard to keep the user interface accessible, ﬂexible and easy to use. It’s great to learn that this is what our customers love about us.What do you think are the current big issues for the sector? How can you help?
The two big issues facing online retailers are differentiation and customer engagement. Every ecommerce website now typically looks very similar and it will come down to building a powerful brand if online retailers are to remain competitive. But the power of the brand is not just about deﬁ ning a strong brand personality, ethos and product, but also about the blend of marketing activity you use and how you deploy this to position your brand as unique. In terms of engagement, given how much it costs to acquire a customer, it is critical online retailers build and maintain their relationships with existing customers, who are without a doubt becoming increasingly savvy and discerning. This is why we are so proud of our platform which delivers automated programmes of communication which will encourage customers to make that ﬁrst purchase, keep them engaged so they carry on spending, and re-engage lost customers to bring them back into the buying cycle. For further information about dotmailer’s products and services please visit www.dotmailer.com