Laurie: Today I’m talking with Kate Bradley Chernis, the CEO of Lately—for the second time—about her company, which we first discussed here. Kate, before we get into an update on Lately, can you provide a quick refresh on yourself and the company?
Kate: Sure. I’m Kate Bradley Chernis, the CEO of Lately. Lately is the first self-service fast AI powered marketing dashboard that organizes marketing processed, people, and tools. It helps individual marketers be able to scale what they’re doing the same way a larger company might do. Of course there’s an acronym for this–MRM or Marketing Resource Management.
Laurie: I think we discussed this a bit last time. But it’s tough to keep up with all of these acronyms. What is MRM and do marketers need to know about it?
Kate: MRM is a fairly young field, but it has been around for about a dozen years. It’s about organizing your marketing process on a single platform. It’s not cookie cutter, because it’s still kind of new, and we’re still trying to find out what pieces are most important pieces to organize. So not all products under the MRM umbrella do exactly the same thing. But they all share the same idea—that if you can organize your marketing activities, you’ll be more productive and can collaborate more easily with your teammates. It’s about having a single resource that everybody can work from at the same time right.
Laurie: What are some of the things it would typically include?
Kate: MRM can pull together things like budgets, style, earned, owned and paid media, analytics, planning processes—like calendar and strategies—even the contact workspace, and a publishing tool. Again, different MRM tools pull in different pieces.
Laurie: Thanks. When we first spoke about Lately, small and medium businesses were part of your target audience. Is that still the case?
Kate: Absolutely. We’ve been working with a cross-section of marketers, and focused a bit. We’ve learned our best fit is for marketers that work in teams of two, three, four, not so much for solo marketers or entrepreneurs. And for brands that have very active social channels, and also active long-form content like a blog or newsletter or a press release.
What we do is help these marketers to get organized. For instance, we have marketing calendar so you can instantly see what’s going out, when it’s going out. You have visibility and can easily show your boss or clients what you’re doing. We also help you automatically organize messaging. For example, we can check messaging as you type it in to make sure it’s consistent. We know that marketers forget to use key messaging 82% of the time, so we catch this. We even create messaging for you so you can just push it out.
Laurie: What are you doing to get people to try Lately?
Kate: Well, getting organized isn’t that sexy, right? So, to lure people in, we wanted to give them something that would wow them right away. And what we came up with is a free little tool called the Automatic Social Post Generator. It combines some natural language processing and artificial intelligence, based on work with IBM Watson. You can paste content from a blog, newsletter, press release or whatever into the Automatic Social Post Generator, and it instantly turns it into dozens of short linked social posts.
Our customers really like it because we’re helping humans have AI do some of the work. Chances are you already spent four or five hours writing a blog, for example. Normally, you’d probably write maybe one or two social posts about it and that’s the end of that four or five hours you spent. But the Automatic Social Post Generator goes through that blog and identifies the most relevant keywords most relevant to your company, and does a quick scan and pulls out the quotes featuring the best keywords.
Laurie: Yes, I tried it here,with one of my posts,: Does Your SMB Strategy Need A Makeover? What have you been hearing from users?
Kate: What we are seeing is that it helps with a couple of things. Number one, you can promote your blog exponentially more than you were able to before. And it’s all evergreen content—meaning we’re not just going to repeat, “check out my blog” 20 times. Each post that the Automatic Social Post Generator creates features different quotes from the blog, making them much more compelling. Our customers are finding it significantly raise the impact of their content, driving up to five times the number of views of the content.
Laurie: So, you lure them in to Lately with the free Automatic Social Post Generator. Then what happens?
Kate: Once you’re using that, you can then subscribe to Lately’s full service to organize your entire marketing process, and provide you with our dashboard, putting all the pieces in place.
Laurie: Since you introduced the Automatic Social Post Generator, how has that affected adoption of Lately?
Kate: We’ve always had the Automatic Social Post Generator as a feature in our product. But we stripped it down and put a sampler version outside as a freemium tool, so that people can quickly see a glimpse of what we can do—in 1.8 seconds we’re turning your blog into dozens of social posts. It works as a tease, you can see the posts, but if you wanted to actually post them on all your channels, or add short links, or photos or images, you’d have to sign up create an account. What’s interesting is that since we’ve created this freemium, our sales have increased 51%.
Laurie: What is the pricing like for the full solution? How affordable is it for the smaller companies?
Kate: So that’s the other thing we did. We redesigned the product to grow with you. So, if you try the Automatic Social Post Generator sampler, and you like it, you can start with Lately’s entry level product. It’s $79 per user per month, which gives you all the social scheduling tools you would expect plus the generator. Once you’re in there, you can move up to other editions to get more capabilities—like a marketing calendar, or tax management, or more analytics.
Laurie: How big is the MRM market, and who do you compete with?
Kate: It’s big and growing—from $4.5 to 9 billion over the last few years—so people are spending a good amount of money on it. And the reason they are is because marketers waste $83 billion each year specifically due to a lack of organization, because we’re all over the place. Marketing resource management is very much designed to alleviate that mess.
But the industry today is dominated by enterprise MRM solutions, which start at $20,000 to $200,000. These solutions are not only for marketers with deep pockets, but expert marketers with top marketing skills and top tech skills. But at Lately, we’re focused more on the broader market–the idea behind Lately is to be the citizen MRM tool, to give the power of MRM to everyone.
Laurie: Who are your competitors in the MRM space?
Kate: We have about a dozen competitors, such as Adobe Marketing Cloud and Percolate. But they start at much higher price points than Lately.
Laurie: Thanks, Kate for the update. And here’s the link to the free Automatic Social Post Generator for readers who want to try it.
© SMB Group 2018