In what is one of the largest funding rounds for any private cloud personalization company ever, BloomReach announced today it has landed $56 million in Series D funding.
The round underlines the increasing interest in personalized marketing, an area that offers promising returns to those who employ it. Our survey of 506 marketers found that over 70 percent have seen an increase in bottom line results by using personalization.
BloomReach offers personalized marketing solutions that help to drive consumers to the right products. However, its technology has always been about going further than the usual “people also bought this” functionality BloomReach says its technology allows a company’s website and communications to act more like they’ve been designed “just for you,” adapting to each user without requiring a login.
And in September 2014, BloomReach launched Compass to help ecommerce platforms understand how to manage their content better.
BloomReach plans to use the investment to further strengthen its technology and scale its solutions globally for all digital businesses. It currently has more than 250 employees and plans to grow its personnel worldwide.
The personalization vendor has primarily focused on ecommerce applications since its founding in 2009. I asked Raj De Datta, CEO at BloomReach, to tell me more about what scaling to all digital businesses means for the company and its customers.
“BloomReach’s vision from the start is to make every site, tablet, and mobile experience more relevant for every consumer,” De Datta said. “We focused on delivering on our vision first for ecommerce, and now we are seeing success with our Compass applications outside of ecommerce. Customers like SendGrid are using BloomReach Compass to improve their web content and optimize their marketing, based on deeper understanding of what different segments of visitors find relevant and drives results.”
That’s a bold statement, and one that will indeed require a bold strategy. Our research shows that personalization still has a long way to go before the majority of marketers “get it.” I wondered how that can be addressed and what De Datta thinks is essential to getting more marketers using personalization in their customer communications?
“Personalization is a poorly defined category, and the first generation of personalization solutions require extensive expertise to leverage,” De Datta said. “Companies ranging from segment and email targeting to product recommendations, as well as search and browse product personalization, all reasonably claim to be in personalization. The complexity of managing many of the early solutions as well as the limited number of people who are accurately having a personalized experience led many large and smaller marketers to do the minimally acceptable personalization (email, ads, segments).”
That opinion concurs with much of our extensive research into marketing personalization, whether it be oriented around Web, email, or mobile. Consumers want it — especially when they visit websites — but marketers struggle to implement it thanks to a number of roadblocks, not least of which is the fact that 80 percent of marketers don’t understand their customers beyond basic demographic information.
Ease-of-use, it seems, is one important driver toward a more personalized future.
“To compete in the exceptionally crowded digital arena, one-to-one personalization can drive brand loyalty and differentiation,” De Datta said. “For SMB and mid-sized business marketers, the solutions need to bring them insight that they cannot access, as well as simplify their operations by adapting their digital experiences, in real time, without rules, to the intent of their visitors. Similarly, enterprise business marketers need intelligent applications to deliver a great brand experience to each visitor, at scale.”
Contributors to the round include Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Salesforce Ventures, and a sovereign wealth fund. In addition, BloomReach has announced that Marcus Ryu, CEO and cofounder of Guidewire Software, Inc., has joined its board of directors.