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BillShrink, a startup that aims to help users cut through the clutter of complicated bills and payments, is moving into a new market today. It’s launching a service to help users choose the best cable or satellite television plan.
As with BillShrink’s other services, which cover things like cell phones, credit cards, and savings accounts, this often provides users with information that they could already find by visiting a company website. What the Redwood City, Calif. company adds is the chance to compare all of those potential plans in one place.
Even better, BillShrink sorts through those plans based on your usage and preferences. The first thing users do when using BillShrink’s TV service is fill out a questionnaire covering topics like what kinds of TVs they have and what their must-have channels and shows are. Then BillShrink gives them a list of recommended packages that will cost users’ the least amount of money while still matching up to their needs, and that will actually work in their location and on their televisions. BillShrink says it includes plans for nine cable and satellite providers, covering more than 80 percent of US households.
Cofounder and Vice President of Products Samir Kothari told me that the TV product is a little different from BillShrink’s past services, because people are used to ordering their TV plan over the phone, not on the Web. BillShrink accommodates that — once users have chosen the plan they like, the site gives them the phone number of a retail partner they can buy it from as well as a special code that will transfer all the information they’ve already entered. From BillShrink’s perspective, that “warm transfer”, as Kothari called it, also makes it easy to identify which purchases BillShrink enabled and should receive a commission for.
This announcement marks BillShrink’s entry into its sixth industry. Its cell phone plan comparison remains the most popular, Kothari said, but about one-third of BillShrink users take advantage of multiple services. He added that, in addition expanding into new areas, one of the company’s goals has been adding services beyond the initial visit and plan selection, for example notifying users by email when a new plan or deal appears that’s a good fit for their usage.
BillShrink has raised $10 million from investors including Trinity Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
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