MarTech’s Next Frontier: The B2C Mobile Marketing Cloud

The core idea behind marketing is and has always been simple: find the most effective way to capture your customer’s attention. Improvements in technology have not changed that principle — but they have opened up more, better ways to market to consumers. Today, marketing technology is in the midst of another fundamental shift. With mobile devices, brand to consumer communication has never been so real time, so contextual.

The first generation of consumer marketing centered on flyers and direct mail, aka “snail mail”, which is still a $12B industry today. Two decades ago, the world was introduced to the internet and email. Marketers were able to easily (and affordably) send personalized content based on customer preferences, and close the loop on attribution with click through rates. Startup companies like ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce for $2.5B), Responsys (acquired by Oracle for $1.5B) and Constant Contact (acquired by Endurance International for $1.1B) seized the opportunity and grew to become multi-billion dollar entities — all without the power of mobile.

Today we are in the middle of the next sea change — mobile overtaking traditional web as the dominant platform. The total number of app downloads — on iOS alone — already tops 140 billion. That is more than 20x the world’s population. But with email, marketers relied heavily on third party data to personalize. In contrast, mobile apps provide that contextual data (e.g. location) by default. The result? Not only do people open email marketing messages on mobile more frequently than on the web (53% vs. 22%), mobile also unlocks new ways to reach and engage customers (push notifications, in-app messages). Mobile unlocks the true promise of personalized marketing through location, timing and relevancy. Web-centric services simply can’t compete with that.

Leanplum’s mobile marketing platform is meeting this critical need for brands like Lyft, Tinder, Tesco[1] , Macy’s and Zynga. The potential reach of these B2C brands is staggering, rivaling the scale of consumer networks like Facebook or YouTube. And the skilled engineering team at Leanplum is on a mission to deliver enterprise software that supports exactly that kind of consumer scale — which has never been done before. Though the world has become increasingly mobile, tweb-centric marketing clouds have not kept pace, opening up a rare opportunity to disrupt and redefine this multi-billion dollar market.

Canaan Partners is incredibly proud to have led the recent Series C investment in Leanplum. We are humbled and excited by the opportunity to work with Momchil, Andrew, and the amazing team they have built, as they work to seize the biggest opportunity in MarTech yet.

Special thanks to my co-writer Rayfe Gaspar Asaoka