The other week at Elevate, Pardot’s user conference (which has been doubling in size for the past three years), we made it a point to really pay attention to the sponsor exhibits, staffed by some of the companies that make up Pardot’s (now part of ExactTarget) ecosystem…
One of these companies was Olark, We saw them last year and this year we thought we’d help spread their story. Pardot uses Olark to much success and it was pretty neat to meet the gentleman behind the story, Roland Osborne (@RolandOsborne), CEO. We spoke to him and enjoyed his enthusiasm about Marketing Automation and being part of the buzz with his company’s chat capabilties:
Allinio: How does your product/service allow Marketers to better gather, analyze, share, and act upon data?
Osborne: Olark is the easiest way to chat with visitors on your website. As such it’s ideally suited for gathering qualitative data by talking with actual customers while they are making critical decisions (analytics tools never show WHY people do what they do). Additionally as in the case of sales, you influence customers in real time as they move through a site.
Allinio: Please explain to us the value proposition of your product/service to Marketers?
Osborne: Generally, we think of live chat software in strictly sales and support situations (and indeed Olark is a powerful too for closing sales and providing world class support on your sites). However it can also provide critical insight into WHY your analytics show what they do. For example, analytics may show some dropoff in the middle of a critical marketing funnel. By actually talking to customers there you can understand their thinking and illuminate problems that might not otherwise come to light (all the while boosting your brand as someone who actually cares what customers think).
Allinio: What is a common misconception that the market has about your product/service?
Osborne: Most people think that implementing chat requires a big upfront dedication of resources (both human and capital). When doing sales and marketing especially this couldn’t be further from the truth. Olark has a feature called Targeted Chat that allows you to talk to specific people based on various criteria (where they are on the site, what where they’ve come from, etc. ) so you can dial down your volume to the point that you’re only talking to people that are actually valuable for you to talk to. The staffing can be one person who chats once a day from their cell phone if need be (but this will yield some information that you just can’t get any other way).
Allinio: Wow, Targeted Chat sounds like a really cool and useful feature. What is the most successful or innovative use of your product/service by a business to date?
Osborne: Pardot uses Olark for their in-app support to great effect (for their top-tier plans). It’s not a marketing case per say but they’re in the marketing business! We’ve also had marketing firms stick Olark on landing pages to help better test messaging, and boost conversion rates on those pages.
Allinio: It’s impressive that one of the leading Marketing automation platforms uses your tool. What is your greatest challenge as a marketing organization?
Osborne: Our biggest challenge is helping our customers learn best practices. We’ve built a slick product but success really comes when you know how to talk to people and get the right messaging. Many of our customers have a good intuition when it comes to this, others need some guidance. We want to get the product working a way that people are gently guided to do the right things.
Allinio: Roland, thanks for taking the time to explain to us the benefits Marketers can get using Olark – maybe with its ease of deployment and use, some can visit your site and start right away!