Our vision to democratise e-commerce marketing
Picture a future where independent retailers thrive in the age of Amazon, where top-class marketing is democratised, and where the best products and personal service win.
Fact: E-commerce marketing is getting more and more complicated every day.
Fact: As marketing gets more complicated, small online businesses are falling further behind big corporates. They lack the expertise, resources and data to compete.
What if marketing expertise was democratised, where every online business had access to a world-class marketing team, implementing best-in-class growth strategies for their store?
And what if this resource was available to anyone who wanted it, at a fraction of the price of an ordinary member of staff?
This is the future we are trying to create at Pathfinder — the world’s first AI marketing employee for e-commerce stores, and the newest member of your marketing department.
Meet the newest member of your marketing department
Pathfinder is the marketing equivalent of a self-driving car. It’s Alexa meets Hubspot, WALL-E that learned marketing, C3P0 that writes email campaigns. It is, in fact, a completely new type of marketing product that becomes a member of your team, and works with you, for you.
Don’t get us wrong, human marketers aren’t going anywhere. Pathfinder doesn’t want to replace us humans, rather, it wants to give us superpowers, and help us get 10X more done than we can manage on our own.
The idea is any marketing manager can “hire” Pathfinder and give it various jobs she doesn’t have time for, or put it in charge of certain parts of her marketing funnel (like lead nurturing or upsell strategy). Pathfinder will then take on those responsibilities and design marketing campaigns for her business just like a real human, but in a fraction of the time. By helping create marketing materials, identifying opportunities, and completing jobs that would usually be put on the back-burner, it’s ideal for small teams who want to get more done in less time.
For small teams who want to get more done
We’re committed to keeping Pathfinder accessible to all online merchants, and levelling the e-commerce playing field in the process. We want to allow one, two and three man marketing teams to be as effective as a 20-person marketing department. We want to empower small teams to compete with big teams, on any budget.
That’s why Pathfinder will work for free until it’s proven its value to you. This means you can “hire” Pathfinder for up to two jobs (we call them “skills”) free of charge, for as long as you like. If the results are good and you decide you want it to do more, you can get “all you can eat” access to Pathfinder’s full range of marketing skills for a single flat fee, starting from $179 per month (depending on the size of your business).
I’ll talk more about each of Pathfinder’s marketing skills in future posts. But if just one skill can bring in dollars you wouldn’t have otherwise got, or save a strained team even a few hours a week, we think you’ll find it a worthwhile addition to your team that will only get better with time.
Backed up by 5 years of R&D
Our team of 10 marketers and engineers have been working on Pathfinder for more than 5 years now! Recently, we’ve completed an 18-month round of rigorous “in the trenches” BETA testing, and are almost ready to open up to the public (the wait list is open here).
Our BETA customers include both multinational consumer brands and hustling solopreneurs, with each turning to Pathfinder to make marketing simpler, quicker and more effective.
By working with these companies we’ve learned a lot about how an AI marketing team should function. In fact, Pathfinder is already helping marketers design and send over 30,000,000 individualised messages per year, driving millions of dollars in revenue for business large and small. And this is only the beginning.
Our vision: to make Pathfinder smarter than humans by 2022
In the age of the “lean startup” and move-fast-and-break-things, why have we waited so long to go to market, five years after initial R&D began? Because we are in this for the long run, and believe in doing things right.
Falling costs have made it easier than ever to start a technology company, but have also allowed a proliferation of half-baked products to enter the marketplace. Rushing their products out too soon, many startups make brave claims about shaking up the status quo, but most are high on ideas and short on execution. They’re big hat and no cattle.
We’re not interested in being a flash in the pan. Real innovations take years of research, dedication and hard work to bring to life, and Pathfinder is being built to pioneer an entirely new category of marketing product — something between computer and human, between marketing tool and marketing staff.
As part of this vision, our medium-term goal is to make Pathfinder smarter, faster and cheaper than the best human marketers by 2022.
This, we believe, will pave way for a future where hybrid human/AI marketing teams are the norm. A future where every human marketer is backed up by an AI counterpart, where for every 1 hour of human work, the AI does 9 hours more, and the human achieves 10X more as a result.
This is the kind of future where you don’t need huge marketing teams, resources or bottomless budgets to compete online. It’s a future where independent retailers can thrive, marketing is democratised, and the best products and services cut through. In the age of Amazon and tech oligarchies, we reckon this would be a pretty good thing for society as a whole.
Of course, we can understand if to some people this sounds like Elon Musk inspired, LSD fuelled, sci-fi nonsense. And that’s ok. We still have a lot to prove and it probably won’t go exactly as we’re imagining it. But we still feel like this is a future worth working towards, and one that we are striving to make a reality. If you think so too, we’d love you to join the journey.
Join the journey
Our doors will open publicly on or around 28 February this year, and will be initially limited to Shopify and Magento merchants. If you have an e-commerce store running on either of these platforms, your best bet is to hop on our wait list to catch the latest updates, get early product access, and get a free $200-$350 cheque to spend in the product.
If your store is on another platform, you can register your interest here. Doing so will also register a vote for your platform (WooCommerce, Squarespace, BigCommerce etc), and help guide us on which integration to build next.
At the very least I hope you enjoy and subscribe to this blog. We’ll be posting here regularly, documenting our progress and sharing our behind-the-scenes experiences building the company, and our customer experiences using our product along the way. We’ll also be sharing e-commerce growth hacks and marketing tips, many of which we’ve developed over the last 5 years working in the trenches with our merchants. We’re figuring out a lot of this as we go and I hope you will join us for the ride.
Dan Stearn — Pathfinder founder and ceo.
P.S. If you can think of anyone connected to e-commerce who might find this blog interesting, it would be great if you can point them this way and help get the word out! Thank you very much! 🙌
P.P.S. Shopify & Magento users, don’t forget to join our wait list here!