Camels

The good news is that my company, Biz360, announced today that they have been acquired by Attensity Group.  The bad news is that my position was not part of the acquisition.

Let's start with the good news.  This acquisition is significant.  Attensity Group is a leader in text analytics and business process management.  They have some really incredible software that allows companies to analyze all kinds of unstructured data like emails, call center logs, and surveys.  They also can understand what needs to be done with that information and route it to the appropriate part of the organization for automated or human response.  What they couldn't do was listen to social media.  Enter Biz360.  By combining the strengths of Attensity and Biz360, companies will have the unprecedented power to listen to, analyze, and react to the complete voice of the customer from both within and outside of the enterprise firewall.

From an industry perspective (Social CRM, or SCRM), this is the new challenge.  There are lots of listening platforms like Biz360, Radian6, Scout Labs, Visible Technologies and a bunch of others.  And there are lots of CRM companies.  And there are lots of text analytics and workflow companies.  But the key challenge as I see it for social media is being able to scale listening for the enterprise.  There's simply too much data to process, triage, and respond too.  Up until today, managing social media has been a largely manual process.  For a company like Starbucks which gets mentioned nearly 100,000 times per month on Twitter alone, it's hard to know who to reply to (and unfortunately who to ignore) and what to say to them.  To make these decisions, companies need to know who is talking, what they're saying, what's the impact on the company, and what is the value of a timely and appropriate response.  The combined company of Biz360 and Attensity will go a long way towards helping companies solve that problem.

I joined Biz360 as VP of Marketing on February 4th of this year.  When I joined, I knew we were in talks with various companies about potential strategic partnerships and that this was a possibility.  Over the past two months or so, I've been fortunate to work as part of our executive team with Attensity Group on this deal.  Our small but mighty marketing team had some big wins as well.  We doubled the visits to our website, increased our conversion rates, and launched IdolStats.com with Humongo Agency.  

In any acquisition, the acquiring company needs to take stock of their needs and what exactly it is that they are buying.  Attensity has a very talented and experienced marketing team in place.  Bringing on another marketing executive didn't make sense for them.  They're already covered.  And while I'm disappointed that I won't be transitioning over with the Biz360 team, I understand Attensity's needs to fill the gaps on their team and not create redundant positions.  Objectively, they made the smart decision and one I would have made if I was in their shoes.

And so my brief stint at Biz360 comes to a close.  I'm proud of the marketing team we built, the products we built, and the relationships we developed with our customers and within the industry.  While it was short, I came in to do a job and do it well.  The goal of any company is to deliver shareholder value, and we did that.  Incredibly well.

I also had the chance to try some new things.  I've worked primarily on consumer internet for most of my career and at Biz360 I got to dip my toes into B2B marketing.  It's a different beast.  I also had the opportunity to take what I know about social media, marketing, and product development, and lead some interesting thinking on what this means for companies and how we could go about meeting those needs. 

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that I'm back on the market.  I'm confident that a new opportunity will present itself and I'll be able to tackle new challenges.  For those of us who work in social media, there's a lot of innovation still to happen.  We're at an inflection point where companies are really starting to understand and connect with customers.  And as customers, we are empowered to communicate with companies and our communities like never before.

So I'm pretty free for coffee or lunch or martinis.  If you've got an opportunity or just want to talk shop, drop me a note.  

In other news, I'll be speaking on a panel on Monday at Web2.0 about community analytics.  If you're around, stop by and say hi.  And that reminds me…I need to update my bio.
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