Hobnobbing with Andrew Nicholson from Kulea.ma

posted by 6 years ago in Hobnobbing
Hobnobbing with Andrew Nicholson from Kulea.ma

So, what do Kulea.ma do?

Kulea’s an affordable, user friendly but powerful marketing automation solution built from the ground up for SMEs.  Where email marketing stops, we’re just getting started!

Kulea enables users to track their customer’s online activity and respond accordingly, delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time via email, web and social media, resulting in increases in transaction rates of up to 20%. I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but think Amazon’s marketing capabilities, but made available at a price that SMEs can afford.

What’s behind the business idea?

In my previous life as Head of Online for an international B2B company, I experienced first-hand the issues associated with Marketing Automation (MA), and this got me thinking…

Today’s MA solutions are expensive, complicated, and bloated with features and functionality aimed at enterprise level customers that SMEs simply don’t want or need

And it wasn’t just me thinking this.  I hosted a number of round tables and attended marketing events where people’s frustration was palatable – business owners/marketers could see that big businesses with deep pockets were achieving great results with MA, but these results were proving unobtainable for smaller businesses.

There was a clear gap in the market for a simple and affordable solution that didn’t need a huge budget and dedicated team of digital marketers to make it work.  Kulea fills that gap!

Was it hard becoming a business owner?

I’m not going to lie, it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve got two hyper-active boys at home! But we regularly console ourselves with the fact that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

How did you recruit your employees?

Our first employee came on board on day one, moving across to kulea from our co-founder’s development agency. From that point on it’s been almost exclusively word of mouth. We’ve received recommendations and introductions to some very talented people and have developed an amazing product as a result.

Was there a breakthrough moment?

Every time I demo Kulea to a potential customer, I get a little endorphin rush.  It’s wonderful to see their faces change from slightly cynical to an expression of “wow, I get it”!

How is the company doing?

We’ve spent the last 2 ½ years building a ground breaking product, are now live and are raising funds to invest in Sales and Marketing activity.  This signals the next stage of our growth, as we move from our revolution to evolution stage of the product development cycle, so exciting times.

Do you have any regrets?

I’d love to be able to say that every decision I’ve made has resulted in the best possible outcome, but I don’t think that anyone would believe me if I did! That said, there’s little point in regret.  Learn from your mistakes, do things better next time, and focus on the things in life you can change, not the things you can’t.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

Our persona-lisation™ tools are completely unique to Kulea.  They provide our users with an incredibly intuitive way of segmenting their customer data.

Kulea then persona-lises™ digital content, including web, email, and social, so that “Sally from Sales” receives a completely different online experience than “Anne from Accounts”.  Personas are fluid, so a customer’s online activity can move them from one persona group to another, ensuring they’re always given a totally relevant and personal online experience.

Once you use our personas, you’ll wonder why no one has done it before, it’s such an obvious next step for digital marketing.

What is your definition of a positive customer experience?

One that actually solves your customer’s problems.  Don’t be fooled by your own hype.  Unless you’re actually fixing a real customer need, it’s all just noise.

You’re currently reaching out for investors, what do you plan to do when you have raised this funding?

Personally, I’m going to have a nice large glass of red wine.  But I suspect you mean in business terms, in which case, we’re going to be bringing on board an in house sales and customer support team, and outsourcing our telesales and lead qualification.  It sounds a bit old school, but telesales, combined with our proprietary marketing technology is a powerful combination.

We’ve also got some pretty cool tech developments in the pipeline – we’re going to be adding single sign in to our agency offer, and starting work on what we call Self Optimising Marketing Automation, or SOMA for short.  SOMA anonymises and consolidates customer trend data, and uses it to identify the most effective routes to customer conversation.

So, for instance, we can see that prospects in the healthcare sector with job titles that include the word “director” respond best to a combination of three emails spaced over 2 weeks.  We can then create the customer journeys for our customers and they can fill in the content.

If you could help a business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?

Get the right people on board.  A great product, whilst a wonderful starting place, isn’t enough to succeed.  It’s people that make a business great, so get them on board, by hook or by crook, and then keep them on board by showing them how valued they are.

Finally, Andrew what is your favourite biscuit?!

Jammy Dodgers.  I nibble around the edge, and leave the jammy middle bit to last!