"If you have a solid team, you can conquer just about anything, and come out with a smile on the other end." So says Mitch Lapides, the president and CEO of FulcrumTech, who praises his own team when discussing his company's success. He was kind enough to answer our questions on growing one's business, the importance of data-driven business decisions, and more.
On the FulcrumTech website, you state that you help clients by using the Internet and its technologies for the purpose of gaining a decisive competitive advantage. How do you do that?
FulcrumTech is a dedicated email-marketing agency. So, in that context, we help companies dramatically increase their revenue and conversions. While we provide some guidance on SEO, PPC, websites, social, and mobile, our focus is on helping our clients build leads for their sales funnel and then helping build the most appropriate communications to nurture those leads ultimately to convert. A conversion could be a sale or any other sort of call to action that the client is seeking.
In essence, we turn strangers into prospects, prospects into customers, and customers into long-term, delighted clients. We use email as the primary communication channel, although we typically encourage the integration of the other digital media tools such as SEO, social, and mobile.
What is your professional background? How does it help you in your work with FulcrumTech?
Prior to founding FulcrumTech, I had a very successful career in building interactive media companies. Just prior to FulcrumTech, I was the Executive Vice President at Reed Elsevier (a $10 billion publishing conglomerate - Lexis Nexis, Harcourt, Cahners are some of their brands), where I built their mobile application dviison, online education, online medical reference, and online journals. Prior to that, I was Chief Technology Officer at Gartner, and Group Vice President overseeing gartner.com. I led the team to rebuild gartner.com, one of the most significant projects Gartner had in years.
When FulcrumTech was first starting out, how did you use data to help grow your business?
Data is the basis of everything we do. From the very beginning, we leveraged data to understand what was working, what wasn't working, and where both the issues and opportunities were. We started out with a spreadsheet model that we used to model the financials for our clients over 12 months.
We used that model to develop various scenarios based upon any of a variety of improvements in open rates, click through rates, and conversion rates, for example. We ultimately transformed that into an online tool we now offer for free on our website. It's called ROI Goalsetter and lives at fulcrumtech.net/email-roi.
Beyond that, we slice and dice performance data for our clients to continually analyze results of split tests, while also reviewing a number of other factors to squeeze out every bit of improvement we can find.
How important do you feel it is for companies to use data-driven decisions?
Marketing is all about testing. You must look at the data. Marketing is not an art form.
Why is marketing automation so crucial to success for a small business?
When you're building a company, you have to leverage every dollar and every resource you have. You do that by automating everything that you can. Basically, you want to do things once and then let them run on autopilot as much as you can. Small businesses need automation most.
They can map their customer journey, and determine what the most relevant and appropriate communications are throughout that entire journey. Then they put those emails in place, increasingly make them dynamic based upon what you know about them, and set those emails to go out via automations.
We have clients who we've done that for with abandoned shopping carts, welcome campaigns, winback campaigns, renewal campaigns, replenishment campaigns, and so many more.
Should all companies be utilizing technology like apps and software?
It depends upon what you're really calling an app or software here. Generally, we help companies determine their challenges, figure out the best solution, and then select the necessary technologies based upon those requirements. Sometimes, those tools are Saas (software as a service) or cloud-based tools. Sometimes, they're integrated tools beyond those. Sometimes, there may be a need for some specific applications.
Please share with us anything that you think has contributed to the success of FulcrumTech. What are some of the things that you have learned along the way?
Building a company is a daily exercise of learning. There have been so many lessons, from how to find and develop the best people to figuring out the strategies that work best for each and every client. I always say that building a company is more a test of perseverance than anything else. Each week, you'll encounter a new challenge. Sometimes, you just have to take a deep breath, assess the options, and choose the best and go from there.