Earlier this month a new soup-to-nuts SMB marketing company, ClickFuel, launched. The company has a relationship with Intuit and may get some promotion there through its App Center integration with QuickBooks. Beyond this — and though quite polished — they’re going to struggle like everybody else to be heard in the noisy and confusing world of online marketing. The company promises DIFM across a range of needs: “Web design and email marketing to PPC and SEO campaigns.”
The Boston-based company, launched by former Monster.com executives, is seeking to differentiate based on two factors: 1) a wide range of services and 2) human account support. Here’s the PR pitch I received:
While myriad companies offer solutions, they aren’t focused on helping SMBs navigate the online marketing world. You either had to put blind faith in an expensive consultant- or take up valuable time to learn the ropes yourself. ClickFuel isn’t offering a do-it-yourself option. They have actual account staff that take time with the small business owner to personally set goals, explain strategy and then handle the execution. Most companies don’t integrate their online presence and execution with the kind of real human interaction you’d find with say, a consultant or offering like Hubspot. Despite being online-based, ClickFuel does.
They’ve built, specifically for small businesses, an online dashboard that allows the business owner to see actual analytics from their campaign, graphically, and explain complex terms and data in layman’s terms so there isn’t any confusion between what’s promised and what’s delivered- even for users who have never heard of terms like PPC or SEO. If they can access the internet- they’re up to date- but also have the option of talking to the account staff personally.
The mastermind behind this dashboard, Fuel Station, is Brian Farrey, former CTO at Monster.com who has been named by ComputerWorld as one of the country’s Top 100 CIOs and by Infoworld as one of the Top 25 Most Influential CTOs. Brian and Steve envision leveraging the “Monster model” that took job search from the paper classifieds to online and transform SMB marketing from Yellow Page-type methods to online for SMBs.
While I’m sure this company has some solid talent behind it and also useful tools, the claims make it sound a bit like the RedBeacon of SMB online marketing: announcing itself as though there weren’t already a ton of similar companies that had come before or currently circling the segment. For example, this incomplete list is from an old slide deck (though some may be now be gone or out of the market):
The timing may be ripe; the local market is now ripe for online marketing in a way it wasn’t two years ago. And the company may succeed — ReachLocal appears to be poised for its IPO filing which will get everybody very excited — but it will take time, visibility and the ability to build trust around a brand.