SmarterHQ is TechPoint’s “Featured Company of the Week.” Learn about the program below.

Shopping innovators like Amazon and Apple have permanently altered consumer expectations. Today, if you’re not delivering a personalized shopping experience, you don’t have to worry about competitors out-performing you — your customers are going to leave you anyway.

  • 54% of consumers would consider ending their relationship with a brand if they are not given tailor-made, relevant content and offers. ~ CMO Council
  • 78% of consumers are more likely to be a repeat customer if a brand provides them personalized offers. ~ Infosys
  • 73% of consumers prefer to do business with retailers who use personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant. ~ Digital Trends

Customer Experience

The Customer ExperienceLess than 10% of brands feel they are effectively personalizing.

Convincing retailers and marketers that they need to personalize isn’t the hard part. According to Gartner, 89 percent of brands plan to compete on “customer experience” within the next year, but less than 10 percent of brands feel they are effectively personalizing.

It’s the how part that’s confounding. Nearly 60 percent of retailers admit that they have a hard time deploying the massive amounts of data they collect in a meaningful way that impacts the customer experience (Accenture).

Additionally, historical interaction data is only half of the equation — consumers have high expectations about real-time website interactions and communications, too.

The Rise of Contextual Marketing

What all of the aforementioned trends and statistics point to is a tremendous market opportunity for a company like Indianapolis-based SmarterHQ, which is helping marketers solve for some of their most persnickety retail pain points.

Pain points such as:

  • How to harness customer data and turn it into actionable insights
  • How to deploy real-time triggered emails  based on an understanding of customers, and
  • How to create the personalized experiences customers demand

It used to be enough to know a customer’s name and basic demographic information. Personalization used to mean that you send “Jane” an email with her name in the salutation and a handful of promoted items for women of her age range. But if Jane was just on your website searching for gifts for her 12-year-old son, that email is going to miss the mark by a wide margin.

Once you know why a customer has come to your site, you can serve up the most likely options that will lead to a purchase. Based on the customer’s real-time actions and past behavior, you can understand the reasons for, or context of the visit and deliver personalized experiences through the website and triggered emails.


This is where SmarterHQ thrives. After several years of attracting high-profile global brands as clients and becoming well-known in e-commerce circles as the shopping cart anti-abandonment experts, SmarterHQ is staking its claim as “the contextual marketing technology that drives conversion and customer loyalty.”

Here’s how SmarterHQ outlines their own secret sauce: Through pre-built integrations, SmarterHQ leverages brands’ existing marketing technologies, combining real-time behavior recognition with historical consumer data to power email and website campaigns that deliver relevant experiences.

Until very recently, contextual marketing was considered a bit of an online shopping industry unicorn — something analysts have said is the future of marketing but retailers have struggled to achieve. SmarterHQ, however, is already providing contextual marketing and helping clients realize exceptional returns through a better understanding of their customers. Customers who use SmarterHQ to power triggered emails are generating 17 percent higher revenue per email compared to the industry average.

Why Context Matters

The focus on contextual marketing is paying off for SmarterHQ. In just the past 18 months the company has tripled its workforce, doubled its client base, launched a new version of its primary software product, and lured several top executives to join its management team.

Dean Abbott

Dean AbbottCo-Founder & Chief Data Scientist

It doesn’t hurt that Dean Abbott is SmarterHQ’s co-founder and chief data scientist. Abbott is recognized as a top ten data scientist worldwide and one of the top ten most influential people in data analytics. Abbott co-founded the company with Angel Morales, chief innovation officer, in 2010.

Battery Ventures, Simon Venture Group, and strategic angels invested an additional $8 million in SmarterHQ in 2015, bringing the total raised to $20 million over two years.

However, it’s the results that SmarterHQ is driving for its clients that probably matter most in the company’s quest to own the top spot in the emerging field of contextual marketing. Here are some aggregate results for brands using SmarterHQ:

  • 17 percent higher earned revenue per email compared to industry average for triggers
  • 55% open rate on browse-abandonment emails
  • 24% increase in average order value on segmented marketing sends

Results like these are why SmarterHQ is attracting Indianapolis-based clients like Shoe Carnival, Loxa Beauty, and Gilchrist & Soames; and national and global clients like Finish Line (also based in Indy), Chico’s, Eddie Bauer, and Build-A-Bear.

Offering brands a way to better understand their customers and increase revenue without having to completely change the tools they use or disrupt their business operations is a powerful sales message.

In 2016, SmarterHQ plans to make a concentrated play for cornering the contextual marketing market, and if the company’s early wins and client successes are any indication, they have an excellent chance of emerging as the leader in the field that analysts are calling the future of marketing!

Featured Company of the Week

In an effort to raise the visibility and accelerate the growth of Indiana tech companies, each week we will spotlight a growing company with a compelling story. In particular, we will spotlight scale-up companies that are rapidly emerging and could become our community’s future success stories. Visit this page to learn more or see if your company qualifies.