Last night SEW attended the SEMPO NYC Tech Demo Meetup, hosted by Seth Dotterer at Conductor's offices, with Max Kalehoff from Clickable as master of ceremonies, and Rob Wilk from Yahoo keeping time. The format of the tech demo meetup is straightforward - marketing technology companies get 5 minutes to showcase their 'warez' and 5 minutes to field any questions.
In the spirit of the event and without further ado, here are my 3 sentence reviews of the products presented at the SEMPO NYC Meetup.
SearchMetrics - Danielle Culmone
SearchMetrics is an enterprise SEO platform whose real strength lies in competitor and market analysis. The platform can track ranking changes across a huge portfolio of keywords and makes recommendations on what to fix. Searchmetrics is available in different languages/countries and gets data from various online sources such as Yahoo Site Explorer, Google API and some of it's own technology.
Conductor - Seth Besmertnik
Searchlight is also an enterprise SEO platform that has similar functionality and use cases as SearchMetrics but and is directly integrated within the Adobe/Omniture web analytics interface. The Adobe/Omniture influence means that Searchlight has been designed with team management and user roles in mind and so the interface has a very task orientated focus and prioritizes recommendations very clearly. Searchlight gets data from Yahoo Site Explorer, Google API, SEOmoz Linkscape and some of it's own tech, and one of the neat 'out of the box' features is that it curates your competitor list automatically based on your keywords.
ClickEquations - Alex Cohen
ClickEquations demoed a slick reporting feature from their PPC management platform which directly integrated campaign reports into Excel and could be automatically updated with the latest data at the click of a button. Building a new report type looked to be a quick and simple task with easily actionable 'out of the box' metrics. Personally speaking, I loved the fact that everything could be managed from within excel (which feels like a native environment for analysis no matter what PPC or analytics platform comes along), and my only gripe was borne out of wanting more - there did not seem to be any pre-set reports focussed on particularly niche campaign analysis tasks.
IgnitionOne - Roger Barnette
The latest marketing technology platform on the block, IgnitionOne is a user behavior analytics platform meshed with a DSP that can monitor individual users in real-time and target offers to them instantaneously, at the click of a button. The interface got quite a few 'wows' from the audience and I would say that this the first time I would ever use the word 'mesmerising' to describe an analytics product - it is kind of 'alive' with a scatter graph of pulsing dots, representing users, that move up and down a graph of pages and then float off to the side of the screen when the user leaves the site. Very cool and powerful stuff, which would be even cooler if it could gradually and automatically create it's own algorithm for lead score weighting as it generates historical user behavior data.
Lipperhey - Gijs Barends
Resembling Conductor's Searchlight, Lipperhey is an SEO platform that is solely for small to medium business owners which recommends tasks to complete to ensure the website is well optimized for search engines. It has a very slick user-centric design which verges on cutesy but has nice encouraging dialog boxes which I can imagine go down well with a less tech savvy audience. However, what i found most interesting and impressive about Lipperhey was the fact that they were developing an API and already companies such as Yellow Pages have white labelled their software to service their own small business customers.
Clickable - Dave Fall & jordan Franklin
Clickable demoed a brand new addition to their PPC management platform for small to medium sized businesses, which is the ability to run Facebook ad campaigns from the interface. The interface design was clean and simple and looked like it was more suitable than Facebook itself for managing large campaigns and in terms of reporting it seemed to focus on the right things such as how images used affect ad clickthrough rates. Although I was hoping to see an 'out of the box' audience definition and targeting feature (i.e. which curated an expert knowledge/recommendation layer to Facebook's own demographic targeting feature), Clickable said that the consulting from support staff meant that small businesses could very quickly get to grips with improving campaign performance.
Secret Social - Zubin Wadia
Secret Social is a chrome extension that enables a user to invite anyone into a private discussion via Twitter, SMS or email, with the promise that it is 100% private and 'off the record' (no data stored). The plugin means that a user could conduct a private conversation with someone on Twitter without the need to follow them and could also invite other people into the conversation via email and text message (that last point was quite impressive in the demo). I like the idea of real-time forums that don't require registration (by dynamically creating users based on any data point they can provide), so i was ready to like this product, but the USP was pivoted on a need for privacy that rested on a totally unconvincing use case and seemed to me to be completely at odds with the software functionality.
I'm gonna break my three sentence rule here and just ask, why would you be on Twitter or Facebook if you wanted privacy? And if i have a users email or phone number already, why would i need more privacy than that? The only thing i thought it could be useful for was instant customer service over social networks - that seemed plausible, especially with a blend of human and AI chat bots.
Synomia - Fred Rassam
To be honest, Synomia's presentation was not very clear but it seemed to be a content analysis engine that is able to create new SEO-centric topic pages out of your content in order to target the long tail of search. Their latest feature could also auto-suggest hundreds of keywords and phrases to use in PPC campaigns - you just pointed Synomia at your site and it would give you a huge keyword list. It sounded useful in theory but felt really unimpressive and consequently I wound up suspecting that the time saved from instantly generating a billion keyword phrases would be taken up with having to check whether any of the phrases were actually sensible.
Textbroker - Yan Tsirklin
Originally a german company, Textbroker basically have a network of writers who can write content to spec for as little as $10 an article. The cost of an article depended on the rank of the author which was vetted by an independent editorial team, for example a 2-star author might not have english as a first language but four or five star authors might have a journalism degree or be a published writer. All in all, a simple and effective service - which probably spells a simple and effective business!
The gong was a nice touch. Photo Credit: Erdal Bezaroglu
Thoughts on the Meetup
I really thought it was a great format because marketing tech companies are genuinely up to interesting and exciting stuff in the industry, yet do not get the air-time they deserve.
This 5-minute 'demo-slam' concept forces everyone to get straight to the point and show off 'the most shiny feature' of their product. Often this means that companies can only highlight a single feature which neatly sidesteps any "we can do that too" type competition.
My only criticism was that 9 companies was a lot to get through and so those companies who presented towards the end had to tackle a withering audience - and that may also be reflected in the comments above. Six presentations would be more doable!