When digital marketers do competitive analysis today, they’re still cobbling together data from a variety of sources then tucking it into a PowerPoint presentation where, by the time it’s actually read, is already out of date. TrackMaven, a new, largely real-time competitive intelligence platform for marketers, is changing that, now with $1.25 million in funding from Aol Ventures and other angels, and paying customers like Martha Stewart Living and the NBA.
Disclosure: Aol is TechCrunch’s corporate parent.
Other angels in the round included Sean Glass (former CMO of HigherOne), Hemang Gadhia (former CEO of Condaptive, acquired by Millenial Media), Adam Riggs (former President of Shutterstock), Roger Krakoff (Cloud Capital Partners), Tony Ayaz (former VP of Public Sales for Splunk), Marc Solomon (CFO of JackBe), Acceleprise Ventures, Andy Klingenstein, David Cohen, and Adam Falla.
Founded in September by Allen Gannett, also a General Partner at Acceleprise, and formerly the CEO of Splash Networks, TrackMaven aggregates competitive intelligence data from paid, owned and earned media channels into one interface automatically.
Explains Gannett, “There’s so many channels – different social media channels, and paid advertising channels, content marketing, and press mentions – it’s literally impossible to do a good job now doing competitive research.”
But even though competitive research is such a common function in organizations, there’s no system of record for it. Instead, marketers often use a variety of different services and tools to gather the initial data, putting their findings into spreadsheets, and eventually, a big PowerPoint slide deck.
“We spoke to 20 CMOs of big brands, and asked them how they do this [today],” says Gannett. “And it was unanimous: they said ‘this is horrible.’”
TrackMaven, which is focused on big brands and enterprise marketers, aggregates data from different sources, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, content marketing data, traffic and SEO data, and so on. In some cases, it’s buying the data directly from sources like SEOmoz, Alexa, WhatRunsWhere, MixRank, and Compete for its analysis.
It then tells marketers what their competitors are doing and what’s working for them, and it provides benchmarks that show how competitors are doing on average.
Competitor profiles also show how successful competitors compare to one another, as well as the user’s own company across any category. And the service offers a universal, real-time feed that displays all this aggregated data, which users can then filter and sift through as they desire.
Custom, personalized alerts are available, too, letting users configure notifications – “like Google alerts for marketers,” as Gannett says – for any activity.
TrackMaven launched into a closed beta in February with 20 big-name brands on board, some of which are still in their beta period and others which are now transitioning to paid users. Subscription pricing is complex and is based on a number of factors, including the number of users, competitors, and types of data being tracked.
With the additional funding, the company will continue product development with plans for new data sources such as LinkedIn and Google+ coming soon, as well as power features like custom data visualizations due this summer. For now, all the aggregated data can be exported in .CSV format, but in the future, integration with backend business intelligence systems may be a possibility if users demand it.
The company, now a team of eight based in D.C., is also using the funding to hire in sales.
TrackMaven comes at a time when there’s been a rise in real-time marketing where marketers are now launching campaigns on the fly, and then need competitive tracking to go alongside that. There’s also been an explosion of channels for marketers to track. “There’s been a data overload,” says Gannett. “People are really looking for actual analytics instead of just numbers for numbers’ sake.”