Heartfelt, a cross-channel marketing and data management platform, today announced that it has closed a $50 million Series C financing round led by NewSpring, with participation from Upfront Ventures, High Alpha and new investor ABS Capital. Jeremy Swift, CEO and co-founder of Cordial, said the new capital will be used to expand the company’s global presence, launch new platform features and have nearly double the workforce by the end of the year.
According to Swift, customers today expect highly personalized messages in return for the first-party data they share. McKinsey agrees – according to a 2021 questionnaire According to the company, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions and 76% become frustrated when they don’t. To meet expectations, marketers need to be able to go beyond simply collecting data to send messages that win and retain customers, Swift says.
Another challenge is finding the right balance between thorough outreach and giving customers breathing space. It is not easy. In a 2017 questionnaire of Campaigner, nearly half (49%) of consumers said they received too many emails from business owners and marketers, and three in 10 said they wanted to hear from a brand once a month or less.
“Consumers are no longer tuning into the same old cyclical outbound messages from brands, nor are they buying the same way they used to… Have all your customer data available in real time when sending a message — via email, SMS, mobile, social and more — has never been more important,” Swift told businesskinda.com in an email interview. but point solutions that ultimately provide a clunky user experience without the possibility of truly real-time marketing execution.”
Seeing an opportunity to “inspire more thoughtful communication” between brands and consumers, Swift co-founded Cordial in 2014 with Adam Gillespie, Chris McGreal and David Baker. Gillespie and McGreal previously worked with Swift to build BlueHornet, an ESP that was later acquired by Digital River.
“Our look back at the ESP market has delivered tremendous benefits in anticipating what marketers need and want going forward, way ahead of the competition,” said Swift. “We felt there had to be a better solution for marketers to engage their customers in personal, relevant ways.”
Cordial is the result of their work, providing tools for orchestrating marketing across a variety of channels, including email, SMS, and mobile apps. The platform brings together data from multiple sources (e.g. cloud storage, rest APIs) to create AI models that automate campaigns, enabling marketers to connect customers to familiar profiles for an enhanced customer experience.
Cordial supports A/B experiments, automatically updating posts with better performing content aligned with KPIs such as revenue, gross margin, and clicks. Out-of-the-box models attempt to predict everything from churn propensity (i.e., the likelihood of a customer leaving) to product affinity (i.e., a customer’s preference for a product), or users can build custom models and automation triggers based on their business needs, rules and input.
“Cordial has extensively emphasized and invested in machine learning across the platform, using customizable models for each customer,” said Swift. “Customers can view or set the best predictors in each model to ensure they have a clear understanding of how Cordial’s machine learning works… We believe customers should have full access and be able to easily understand how our models work to ensure a relationship of trust and to avoid the “black-box” approach of most broad-based, generic AI.”
When asked who he sees as Cordial’s closest rivals, Swift mentioned Braze and Iterable — both of which deliver personalized, targeted marketing messages through channels including email and in-app notifications. But Swift also competes to some extent with vendors like Amperity, which offers a product that retrieves, cleans, and reconciles customer data to create profiles that are then made available to other marketing systems.
Swift claims Cordial is carving a niche for itself in the expansive martech space, with more than 600 customers, including Revolve, Backcountry, and Purple. He estimates the total addressable market to be about $8 billion, and says the latest cash infusion will allow Cordial to capture a bigger chunk of it by “building a new horizon of customer engagement.”
“Most technology leaders expect long, painful technology migrations and adoption cycles, which is why they often become Cordial’s biggest advocates in the sales process when they see the flexibility of the platform,” said Swift. “Built with the power of a CDP at its core, the Cordial platform can collect customer insights and business data from anywhere in their tech stack via real-time data feeds, integrating with any data source exactly as it is, without changing schemas or structure. This data informs marketers’ campaign approaches, enabling them to use native messaging tools to segment audiences, test and optimize content.”
Cordial currently has 130 employees and plans to grow to about 200 by the end of the year, Swift said. The startup has raised $85 million in venture capital to date, benefiting in part from the recent boom in the martech and adtech industry.
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.