Marketing in the digital age is easy, right? The multitudes of data and tools to target consumers have made the hunches and broad-based assumptions of the past as unnecessary as an armrest ashtray on an airplane. While “easy” may be a stretch, the one-to-one sales and marketing process of today is sorcery compared to the guesswork and trend-analysis required of marketers just 10 years ago.
Now imagine what you’re selling is a couch, a car, or even leasing an apartment. These considered purchases are most likely going to include trips to brick and mortar stores and other locations where the multitudes of online data and digital tools don’t easily tread — until now.
Indianapolis-based PERQ, an innovative and fast-growing marketing tech company that doubled in size over two years and more than doubled its revenue each of the last three years, has launched the PERQ Marketing Cloud, which is the first product of its kind targeting the roughly $100 billion “considered purchase” market.
In a launch release, Scott Hill, Executive Chairman and Co-founder at PERQ said “[t]he Marketing Cloud represents an industry first: an integrated, AI-powered suite of solutions to help retailers engage with online consumers after they leave the website and, ultimately, deliver them to the showroom to meet with a salesperson or designer who will know exactly what he/she is looking for.”
PERQ has a long history with automotive marketing, and has aggressively expanded into the seemingly unrelated home furnishings and multifamily (conventional) apartments markets over the past two years, with plans to add more markets in the near term.
“These industries, while seeming disparent and not linked, they actually all have one very important thing in common,” said Andy Medley, co-founder and CEO of PERQ. “They’re all under the considered purchase for the consumer, which means that it’s a big ticket item where the consumer is doing tons of research and education online, yet the sale is still done face-to-face. Effectively, they all share a similar consumer shopping journey, and that’s where our technology lives.”
The problem PERQ is solving both for the consumer and for the retailer or sales operation is bridging the gap — the literal air gap — between the online experience and the continued in-store or in-person experience.
Shoppers today expect what has come to be known as the Amazon experience, named after the leading online retailer, including transparency, clear communication, and a high-level of customer service. It’s easy to see the problem both sides of the transaction face if the consumer has to completely start the buying process over at a brick and mortar location following hours, days or weeks of research online. Retailers and other considered purchase sales teams have lacked the technology to follow the consumer’s path into the store as well as the insights the tech delivers to close the sale.
PERQ’s AI-powered Marketing Cloud engages consumers with interactive digital marketing tools and collects valuable data that drives a multi-channel, seamless strategy including automated and targeted digital advertising, lead nurturing, and lead management designed to encourage online visitors to continue their shopping journey.
“When you think about the forms you fill out, the selection processes you go through and the time you spend interacting with different websites making a purchase decision, it’s really haphazard ,” Andy said. “The PERQ Marketing Cloud helps consumers navigate those choices while providing massive amounts of engagement data that ultimately increases a website’s visitor-to-sale conversion, and we’ve specifically built the platform to overperform for the considered purchase market, which hasn’t been able to effectively bridge the gap before now.”
PERQ has grown its customer base from about 250 dealerships and stores in 2016, to more than 1,000 customers across the automotive, home furnishings and multifamily apartments markets today. The company itself has grown dramatically from about 50 employees two years ago to 115 today.
With numerous other considered purchase markets to enter on the horizon as well as a stated desire to continue owning their emerging specialty, PERQ will need to continue growing as the company rides the rising tide of the considered purchase marketing tech adopter, while simultaneously educating industries and defining the market.
“We’ve hired in significant numbers on the customers side — sales and marketing, client success and implementation, for example,” Andy said. “This year we’re going to be hiring on the R&D side and bolstering our product team so we can scale up to meet our sales growth. This includes bolstering our data team to continue making advancements to our artificial intelligence engine that gets better and better for our customers as more data continues to get funneled into it.”
Job openings at PERQ in 2019 may include software engineers, product owners and managers, and quality assurance, as well as some support roles and back office personnel like finance.
PERQ is supporting its continued growth with a recent infusion of $5 million in investment capital led by Elevate Ventures and included nine other well-know Indiana angel investors and investment groups as reported by the Indianapolis Business Journal — Collina Ventures, former executives from T2 Systems, former ExactTarget Chief Marketing Officer Tim Kopp and the co-founders of One Click Ventures. The investment relationship began when PERQ co-founder Scott Hill met Aprimo co-founder and former CEO Bill Godfrey at the 2013 TechPoint Mira Awards.