iContact Case Study: Branding, Marketing Communications, Investor Relations

Situation: In 2007, iContact, at the time known as Intellicontact, was an Email Marketing SaaS company with 27 employees, $2.7 million in sales and had 10,000 customers. It wanted to rapidly scale and compete directly with Constant Contact, the category leader, improve its interface and attract venture capital funding.

Objectives

Rebrand Intellicontact in order to position the firm as a leader in the email marketing SaaS space for small and mid-sized business

Position the firm as a viable entity in the email marketing space to attract funding

Build awareness of the company in business publications beyond the tech/local media

Strategies

Rebrand Intellicontact as iContact – positioning it as a SaaS platform designed to help small and mid-sized business grow and marketing their businesses.

Position Co-Founders Ryan Allis and Aaron Houghton as up-and-coming entrepreneurs and subject matter experts on emerging tech business.

Develop key relationships with VCs and analysts to position iContact for future investments/mergers/acquisition.

Tactics

In 2007, Intellicontact was rebranded as iContact, including a total revamp of the user interface, outreach to customers and redesign of all company marketing/customer-facing materials.

Simultaneously, an internal communications program was developed to help employees embrace the cultural change.

Media and analyst relations was also increased significantly, with an emphasis on national technology and business press, in addition to local North Carolina press.

A Subject Matter Expert program was developed for the company’s co-founders to increase brand recognition.

In 2007, an Awards Program was instituted, with the goal of specifically winning key awards for bossiness and technology.

The Results

Major articles were secured in more than 300 business media outlets in a three-year timeframe, including The New York Times, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Success Magazine. Ryan Allis, CEO and Co-Founder appeared twice on CNBC’s the Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

In its first year of eligibility, iContact was recognized as an Inc. 500 honoree, and was #87 on the list. Aaron and Ryan Allis were named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Carolinas.

In 2007, $5.35 million in Series A funding was secured with Update Partners. In 2010 $40 million in Series B funding was secured with JMI Equity.  In February, 2012, iContact was acquired by Vocus, a SaaS Marketing service for $169 million. Company executives and investment partners credit the increased visibility of the firm through marketing communications as a major reason for the funding successes.

 

 

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