Bootstrapping vs. Billionaires

One Company’s Journey to Grow Market Share Against Massive Competitors

We’ve scrapped our way to a legitimate place in the multi-billion dollar marketing automation industry. Now we’re betting we can scrap our way to a much better place. And we’re going to share every bit of that journey with you, right here.

The marketing automation industry makes for quite a story. From nearly non-existent eight years ago to several, billion-plus dollar outcomes, this is truly the stuff that dreams are made of. Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot and Hubspot have all achieved enterprise values (in various forms) north of one billion dollars. And to be sure, many dreams have been realized in the process. Co-founders have become wealthy and their lives filled with options. Others’ hopes have been crushed as some teams failed to execute amid fierce competition. In the midst of all this I built Net-Results.

Are you competing with limited resources against much larger companies?

David Slays Goliath David Slays Goliath

The honest truth is I had no idea what we were getting into when we started. We had built a marketing tool for our B2B customers and just kept improving and responding to customer needs. We didn’t even know that what we were building was called “marketing automation”, much less that it was going to be a multi-billion dollar market. As the space took off, so did Net-Results. But I was ill-equipped to understand the game our competitors were playing (I started my professional life as an environmental geologist before becoming an I.T. guy, and finally founding Net-Results). While we were happy to grow a profitable business, our competitors were raising hundreds of millions of dollars from venture capitalists. They were trying to build businesses of great value – and many of them have succeeded. Our goals were a little more “main street”. But that didn’t stop us from building a great team and a great product. It’s gone quite well and we’re proud to have over 13,000 users on 5 continents. So while we’ve been competing effectively for years… (we didn’t get to where we are today without beating these companies plenty of times) Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, Act-On, HubSpot …we’ve been pretty much flying under the radar. Now we’ve decided to share the secrets of our success. Conceptual and concrete, hard lessons and lucky guesses. Even though our competitors are billion dollar behemoths with deep pockets and huge teams, we’ve never let that stop us and neither should you. And that’s what this blog is all about.

Bootstrapping vs. Billionaires.

We’re going to share all of our marketing strategies and tactics, successes and failures, as we continue to play David to the Goliaths of marketing automation. This blog is for marketers who are fighting the good fight against the forces of evil. (Ok, our competitors aren’t actually evil, but it can be entertaining to think of them that way)

“But what about the great content your competitors put out? How is your blog going to be different?”

I’ve seen Marketo’s Revenue Rockstar tour and it was excellent. They share what’s worked for them with real data and it makes for a great, inspiring show. But… They raised over $180,000,000 between their VCs and their IPO and spent the vast majority of that money on marketing. HubSpot’s in the same boat. In fact, they’re still spending two marketing dollars for every one dollar of gross profit they bring in. We’re going to show you how we compete against this onslaught with a small marketing team and a budget you can relate to.

Goliath, meet David.

Marketers like us with limited resources have to focus, and that’s what we’re going to do. As we test drive different ideas and tactics we’ll share them with you. Real data, actual results: the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ll expose everything (well, not everything) so you can “learn vicariously” through our efforts.

I think a lot of marketers feel a bit like I do now – and this may sound odd coming from the founder of a marketing automation company: There’s all this technology, all this change, all these different techniques and strategies… Which ones should we be using? What are going to be the most effective tactics for us? All the while against these billion dollar companies? Our resources are limited and we can’t afford to waste time and effort going down the wrong road…

So if you face similar challenges – a mandate for big increases in lead flow with limited resources while fighting big competitors – join our growing community of marketers doing more with less!

Michael Ward