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It’s nearly impossible to keep up with a wave of new marketing and analytics tools that have flooded the market in the past year. But my company, Segment, tries to test them all.

We’ve found a few gems that are super useful but still fly under the radar.

So if you want in on the underground analytics market, hop off your ‘fixie’, don your Warby Parkers, and grab a snobby coffee. It’s time for a lesson in hipster analytics; the best tools before they break.

Outbound — Marketing automation for email, push, SMS, and voice


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As a marketer, it’s common to plan campaigns by channel: What emails should we be sending? What tweets and posts? What texts and push notifications are most engaging? Outbound, a new marketing automation tool, takes a different approach. The company believes all communication should be based on how people are interacting (or not interacting) with your product.

As founder Josh Weissburg puts it, “Don’t ask what emails you need to set up. Instead, think about where your customers are getting stuck. Then use the right channel — email, mobile push, SMS, voice, etc. — to send a message automatically when a customer doesn’t take the next step.”

There are three reasons why Outbound is a unique marketing automation tool: It manages email, push notifications, voice calls, and SMS from a single interface. It helps you limit the number of messages you send to people that fall in multiple user segments. And, it lets you target messages by what users didn’t do. For example, an e-commerce company could set up recurring emails to people who viewed a product but didn’t add it to their cart. A SaaS company could reach out to customers who created a project but haven’t invited colleagues. In conjunction with a funnel analysis tool that helps you identify where your customers are “getting stuck,” Outbound can be pretty powerful.

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Amplitude — Funnel analysis on a budget


Speaking of funnel analysis tools, Amplitude is a new mobile service competing with Mixpanel, KISSmetrics, and Google Analytics for customers. Amplitude provides a lot of the same functionality as veteran analytics tools — building conversion funnels, analyzing retention, tracking revenue, building cohorts — but offers it at a significantly lower price. Amplitude has a clean user interface and crunches data pretty quickly.

“We’ve seen a lot of customers that are paying more for analytics than the rest of their infrastructure combined — that’s crazy,” said Spenser Skates, co-founder and CEO at Amplitude. “We’re an order of magnitude more affordable than our competitors because of a lot of smart things we do on our backend to precompute results.”

If you’re sick of shelling out a lot of money for your analytics tools, you might want to look into Amplitude.

StackLead — Automatic lead qualification


Someone signs up for your service from a random Gmail account. Okay. But what if they were the VP of Product at a Fortune 500 company? You’d probably want to know that. StackLead is a great tool for doing the grunt work of a business development representative and automatically surfacing this info.

“StackLead automatically researches sales leads,” said Gordon Wintrob, co-founder at StackLead. “Given an email address, we crawl the web and tell you everything you want to know about a prospect and their business, from the company size to the software they use to their fundraising history.”

StackLead also provides a tool to help sales teams create personalized outbound emails and plug in helpful fields like title and industry.

Spinnakr — Real-time web traffic response


You’re looking at your analytics report. You see that, yesterday, a surge of people came in from a particular article. What if you knew that earlier? What could you have done about it?

Spinnakr is a nifty tool for responding in real time to website traffic patterns. For example, imagine you sell designer clothing and Mary’s Fashion Blog posts about your adorable new shoes. Spinnakr would notify you if a lot of people enter your site from this post, then let you set up a personalized message for Mary’s fans. You might offer these visitors a discount on those shoes, which will help you close more sales.

Adam Bonnifield, co-founder of Spinnakr, mentioned crisis communication as another way people are using the service. “Spinnakr instantly discovers a negative review or complaint about your company on a forum, notifies you about it the second it happens, and then lets you post a targeted response on your website.” Of course, no one is ever going to say anything bad about your product online because it’s perfect. On the off chance they do, Spinnakr is an insurance policy.

Inspectlet — User session video recording


Once you get people to your site, there are various heat mapping tools that show you where your users are clicking and moving their mouse, but sometimes this data can be difficult to interpret. Inspectlet is from the same genre of tools but represents the new wave. Instead of creating a color-coded map, Inspectlet records video sessions of users’ behavior.

“Heatmaps tell you what people find interesting on your site; session recordings tell you why it was interesting,” said Rachit Gupta, founder and CEO of Inspectlet. “Watching a user’s entire visit that spans multiple important pages on your site gives you a complete understanding of the user’s intentions behind that visit.”

When you are close to a product — you interact with it every day, you built it, you know where to find what you need — it’s hard to know how a completely new user would experience it. Inspectlet takes the guessing out of the equation and provides helpful, qualitative feedback for product and design teams.

And there you have it, kids — the shiny new tools you can say you knew before they were cool. Did I miss one? Add it in the comments below…

Diana Smith is the director of marketing at Segment, a single platform that collects, translates, and routes user data to more than 100 analytics and marketing tools.

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