Every organisation needs a gold-standard approach to customer data management – and that’s where BlueVenn comes in. The company has established itself as a market leader since it was founded in Bristol in 2013, and after winning a number of significant customers in the US, it now plans to accelerate its international expansion using growth capital of £8m from BOOST&Co.
BlueVenn’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) enables customer data management and fixes complex data issues, but the product also provides marketers with customer analytics and omnichannel marketing automation capabilities. In the modern world, businesses need to give customers the best possible experience of their brand across a number of channels, and the BlueVenn CDP helps marketing teams use data to strengthen their customers’ loyalty and to improve revenues.
But how does this actually work for BlueVenn’s major clients, which come from fields as diverse as insurance (LV=, Hastings Direct), retail (The White Company, Space.NK), media (the Washington Post, Daily Mail and Gatehouse Media), hospitality (Malmaison, Hotel du Vin) and non-profit organisations (the US-based Environmental Defense Fund and Arbor Day Foundation)?
“The key is that BlueVenn connects to data from all areas of the business to create a single view of each customer,” says principal Lauren Couch, the head of BOOST&Co’s Bristol office, who worked on the deal.
BlueVenn’s clients are a mix of enterprise and mid-market household names, all with huge volumes of data – and these companies generally have millions of customers, who leave a number of online and offline touchpoints during each purchase. Matching all of this data can be difficult and expensive, but BlueVenn’s skill is in ensuring that the work is done at the right time and on the right channel or device. As a result, marketers gain a better understanding of their customers, which in turn helps them better to tailor their offers.
How to handle billions of transactions
The BlueVenn CDP, which creates a “single customer view” of each individual’s interactions with a company, is one of the only marketing technology platforms that can bring together all of the data held on each customer in an unlimited number of online and offline channels, before cleansing and enhancing the data, and removing duplicates, in real-time. Since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the platform has become an essential tool for organisations to manage personal data in the most effective and compliant way.
Using machine learning and predictive analytics, the tool enables users to interpret data in targeted customer segments. These can then be channelled into personalised customer journeys that provide the best possible experience and the most appropriate offer for each consumer. This approach to cross-channel marketing means that organisations can use more targeted campaigns and promotions to retain customers, improve lifetime value and increase profitability.
“This is why BlueVenn is unique – because the more customers there are, the better,” Couch says. “Not only can they track all the data held at any point in any system on a customer and put it together, but they can also enable their clients to use this data to best serve each customer from a marketing perspective.
“Their competitors may be able to do some of the data management, analytics or personalisation, but most can’t do all of it on this scale,” she says. “BlueVenn’s roll-call of customers is a who’s-who of some of the most well-known brands, and that’s because they can scale to this level of detail.”
Securing new partners in Europe and beyond
BlueVenn’s direct selling has so far taken place in the UK and the US, but the company has created a growth plan for 2021 that aims to capitalise on demand in other regions around the world. The firm has already launched a new partner channel that will enable it to secure global partners with an interest in reselling and implementing CDPs, and the funding from BOOST&Co will help to scale this channel by building up the resources required.
The business will hire 40 additional people across its offices in the UK and the US in 2019, including a number of sales staff and consultants in the US, where it aims to build on its already impressive list of clients. It plans to expand its footprint in America by moving to a new headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, in the next few months.
BlueVenn will also use part of the money to accelerate its software roadmap to build on the release of its new advanced attribution modules, which help marketers to prove the return on investment (ROI) of their marketing expenditure. The company will soon announce some ground-breaking new modules, with the aim of cementing its position as the leading CDP for B2C and B2B multi-channel brands.
BlueVenn and BOOST&Co – a match made in Bristol
BlueVenn’s Bristol headquarters is virtually on the doorstep of BOOST&Co’s office in the city, which officially launched in May 2019 and serves the business community across the south west. This proximity made it convenient for the two companies to work together, but Couch also felt that the deal was the perfect fit. “BlueVenn is exactly the type of company we want to fund: ambitious, market-leading and willing to invest heavily in software and marketing to make itself stand out,” she says.
“In the same way that BOOST&Co has expanded regionally, BlueVenn has a similar mindset: its team is willing to take calculated risks, such as expanding in the US, because they understand their product and what it can do for businesses.”
BlueVenn’s chief executive, Steve Klin, says: “After speaking to BOOST&Co, and seeing how quickly Lauren gained a strong understanding of our company and our sector, we felt that this partnership was the best option to help us accelerate the aims in our ambitious growth strategy towards 2021.” Chief financial officer Neil Thomas says: “This was the best [funding] experience we have ever had, and we are really pleased to be working with Lauren and BOOST&Co.”
Financial due diligence was carried out for the lender by RSM. “BlueVenn is an established business and a strong performer with ambitious plans for growth. Lauren’s detailed research gave her the confidence to offer BlueVenn the significant capital that the company required, and we were very pleased to support BOOST&Co in deciding to offer this innovative funding package,” says Mark Boughey, a partner in RSM’s Bristol office. “We look forward to hearing more about the success of this partnership and about BlueVenn’s continued growth.”