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Optimove 2023 Year-end Letter to Stakeholders 

Optimove CEO, Pini Yakuel

To the Stakeholders of Optimove: 

At Optimove, we have the job of ensuring that leading brands create deep, lasting relationships with their consumers. We are grateful for the enduring trust of these brands, many of which have been with us for more than a decade. 

In addition, we are honored by our partners, employees, and investors who have been instrumental in helping Optimove create the first Customer-Led Marketing Platform to uphold our promise: to unleash brands’ full potential so they can gain their customer’s loyalty for life. 

As we transition into a new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on the remarkable journey we’ve shared in 2023. It’s both an honor and a privilege to share with you the significant achievements of the past year while expressing our deepest gratitude for your steadfast support. 

First, an overview of the State of the CRM Marketing Industry: 

Since our founding in 2012, we’ve understood that consumers go through a mix of rational, emotional, analytical, and illogical phases in their journey toward making a purchase. Almost forever, marketers have tried to predict each customer’s journey using rule-based marketing that sets fixed automation rules that determine when and what marketing messages customers receive. However, this method has proven rigid and unable to meet consumers on their terms.  For example, if a customer made a purchase, they might receive an email precisely after two days (per the rule) even though they might have canceled, or return said purchase in that timeframe. 

In 2023, we witnessed a significant shift from rules-based marketing to AI-mapped journeys. This approach, which we’ve advocated for over a decade, involves marketers deploying various marketing ideas. Artificial intelligence takes over from there, dynamically selecting each customer’s most appropriate marketing action based on eligibility and available ideas. 

Gartner also noted that Customer-Led Marketing is becoming the predominant method. In its report: 5 Trends Transforming Multichannel Marketing Hubs, they reported, “By 2026, 80% of multichannel marketing hub buyers will embrace generative customer engagement through solutions that use generative AI for journey orchestration, personalization, analytics and prescriptive operations.” 

This fundamental change in 2023 was that most marketers started with the customer’s needs and preferences – not the brand’s marketing rules. Brands discovered that with customers in control, they gained their unwavering trust and loyalty. 

Simultaneously managing the preferences of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of consumers as they interact with a brand is akin to being the head of air traffic control at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the world. An air traffic controller must safely land thousands of flights carrying over 107 million passengers. A human mind alone cannot effectively analyze and execute intricate flight patterns, considering variables like weather and more, without the assistance of AI.  

Similarly, marketers cannot predict each consumer’s journey. How will the decision-making process unfold as they approach a purchase? It involves a blend of rational, emotional, and analytical factors. Much like an air traffic controller, marketers are now turning to customer-led marketing through AI-driven solutions to help guide them through each person’s intricate journey and deliver a personalized experience. 

This seismic shift towards Customer-Led Marketing accelerated in late 2022 as marketers started using AI tools like ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Bing Chat, Meta AI, or their own language models. 

The unmistakable benefit is the ability to offer highly personalized marketing experiences that adapt in real-time to customer behavior. This approach recognizes the limitations of rule-based marketing, which fails to accommodate the complexity and diversity of customer behaviors. 

This shift signifies the evolving landscape of CRM Marketing with AI-driven solutions. I am honored to say that, with Optimove at the forefront, we’ve enabled businesses to provide personalized, timely, and effective marketing experiences. 

And none of this happens without you, our stakeholders: employees, clients, partners, and investors. 

With that as a backdrop, I will delve into the key highlights of our journey in 2023, I also want to share some profound insights into our core values. 

Product Innovations: 

  • OptiText: In January, we introduced OptiText, a native, personalized SMS solution that seamlessly integrates into our clients’ marketing strategies. OptiText has empowered our clients to elevate their SMS marketing, simplifying multichannel campaigns. The impact has been immediate, as they’ve experienced enhanced campaign efficiency and customer engagement. 
  • Opti-X: In February, following our acquisition of Graphyte in 2022, we launched Opti-X, a native tool within the Optimove platform. Opti-X has transformed digital experiences across various touchpoints, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and improved conversion rates. It’s been inspiring to see how our clients have harnessed the power of dynamic recommendations within emails, enhancing key business metrics. 
  • OptiGenie: In November, we unveiled OptiGenie, a comprehensive AI-powered suite designed to empower brands in delivering highly personalized customer messages. It was part of our product evolution as Optimove was the first Customer Relationship Marketing Platform to natively embed AI with the ability to predict customer migrations between lifecycle stages in 2012 and with Optibot, starting in 2016. OptiGenie encompasses AI Insights, AI Creation, and AI Orchestration modules, marking a new era in integrated AI solutions. Encompassed in OptiGenie is AI Copy Assistant: a game-changer for marketers. This innovative tool simplifies content creation, saving valuable time and generating fresh ideas. This tool has streamlined their content creation process and elevated the impact of their email campaigns.  

Overall, we’ve witnessed our clients harnessing OptiGenie’s capabilities to drive meaningful customer interactions and maximize their marketing potential. 

Partnerships:

In April, we initiated our Solutions Partner Program, fostering collaborations with agencies and service integrators to develop repeatable marketing solutions. With more than 20 new partners, our program was driving innovation and value for our clients at the outset.  Of note is that September brought a strategic partnership with Publicis Sapient, a leader in digital business transformation. In October, we proudly announced our inclusion in the Google Cloud Marketplace, simplifying access for enterprises and expanding our reach. 

Recognized as a CRM Marketing Leader: 

  • In Journey Orchestration, Optimove received the #1 ranking in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant companion report. This recognition reaffirms our commitment to delivering best-in-class solutions to our clients. In the Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs, Optimove was positioned the highest in execution and furthest in vision among Challengers. It marked the fourth time that Optimove was recognized as a Challenger.  
    Gartner noted that Optimove is a “Customer-Led Marketing Platform [that] embeds an integrated CDP, centralized profile management, analytics and segmentation, journey and campaign orchestration, and channel execution.”   
  • In addition, a comprehensive analysis by Forrester, known as Optimove’s Total Economic Impact, underscored the 578% ROI for clients from the telecommunications, insurance, iGaming, and retail industries. It measured the value, benefits, and cost of using Optimove. This highlights our efficiency, customer retention, and enhancement of customer order value. 
  • In June, we won two EGR B2B 2023 awards – Acquisition and Retention Partner and Data Analytics Partner. And, in November, we won Acquisition & Retention Partner Award at EGR Italy

Recognized as a Company of Excellence 

  • In 2023, accolades go to our team at Optimove as we were recognized for excellence. In February, we were named a top 10 company for Diversity and Inclusion by Power in Diversity. In May, we were named to the top 100 Best Company to Work for 2023 by CofaceBdi, and in December a Top 50 Best Company to Work for 2023 by Duns and Bradstreet.  

Heptagon Awards 

  • While we received recognition, so did our clients, as recipients of the Heptagon Awards for CRM Marketing Excellence. Entain, Staples, SodaStream, and Rank Group were among the winners of the 3rd annual Heptagons, celebrating top CRM marketing campaigns, teams, and individuals driving Customer-Led Marketing and brand growth. The winners were selected based on how advanced, sophisticated, ambitious, and impactful their approach to CRM Marketing.  

Growth 

In 2023, we achieved notable growth milestones despite facing the headwinds of tightening capital markets and global political unrest. Our continued unwavering investment in our people, products, and clients has fueled our growth.   

Since our founding in 2012, Optimove has been profitable. 2023 was no different. It marked our most successful year of new client contracts, with triple the number of clients paying over $1M+ annually, fueling our revenue surge. As we near the ‘rule of 40’, signifying the alignment of revenue growth rate and profit margin, our financial health is strong.   

Furthermore, we solidified our position as the #1 CRM Marketing Platform in the iGaming industry, with over 56% adoption among the iGaming Power 50. We also continued our expansion into new vertical markets like retail, Forex, healthcare, and fintech.   

Our revenue growth outpaced employee growth, with Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) per employee increasing by 22%. Our employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) rose 36%, reaching world-class levels. We expanded our global workforce, particularly in the Americas, establishing localized LATAM sales, services, and support teams.   

Our rock-solid balance sheet positions us well for 2024, allowing us to continue investing in our people, products, and clients — ensuring success for all stakeholders.   

Our Client’s Success is Why We Exist:

Our client’s success in forging deeper customer relationships leading to lasting loyalty is always our greatest achievement at Optimove. We exist to empower brands to put their customers first and gain their loyalty for life. It happens when these leading brands start marketing with the customer and then respond to the consumer’s needs and desires with AI-mapped journeys. It is encapsuled by our clients’ testimonials here.  

At the same time, our Net Promoter Score increased as we continue to exceed client expectations. 

New Board Member: 

In 2023, we welcomed marketing industry trailblazer, Stephan Dietrich, to the Optimove board. He is a serial entrepreneur and former General Manager of Adobe Campaign. Stephan has quickly become a confidant and visionary in helping guide our path forward. 

Optimove Courses:  

In November, we unveiled Optimove Courses, an online curriculum designed to empower our clients with deeper insights into CRM Marketing capabilities. These courses have equipped our clients with the knowledge to craft more sophisticated and impactful marketing campaigns. 

Optimove Values Codified 

In 2023, with much deliberation, we landed on our five values: Transparency, Comradery, Hunger, Good-Better-Best, and Ownership. Two of our values, Transparency and Comradery, are culture focused. In fact, unsolicited, most of our employees said they loved working at Optimove because these two values are organic to our company. Culture-focused values define the atmosphere and relationships within our organization. They promote transparency, trust, and collaboration, creating a positive and supportive environment for our team members and stakeholders. 

The other three values, Hunger, Good-Better-Best, and Ownership, are about fostering self-improvement. And we are always seeking to improve.  

These values meet our calling and our promise to leading marketers. In our goal to continuously optimize marketing, these values are our guiding light to optimize ourselves as a company. 

Bones of Steel 

During the past year, these values were put to the ultimate test. As of October 7th, when Israel was attacked, a significant portion of our team based in Tel Aviv found themselves working in a war zone. 

Our value of comradery has been a backbone to our organization. Thanks to the unwavering comradery among our global team, we are weathering the storm and continue to achieve continued growth throughout 2023. Our global teams emerged from these trying times even more united and resilient than before. 

In the realm of the financial industry, there exists a concept known as a “stress test.” It evaluates how well a company might withstand various crises through hypothetical scenarios. However, our resilience was not hypothetical; it was tested under the most real and daunting circumstances. 

This unyielding determination and unity among our team members were poignantly encapsulated in a headline from a story about our company: “Times like these test your bones. Our company has bones of steel.” 

In the end, 2023 was a year of growth, and a year of resilience.   
 
In closing, to all our stakeholders, we appreciate you. It is our incredible ecosphere of employees, clients, partners, board members, and more that makes Optimove a leader. Together, we look forward to the journey that lies ahead. 

With warm regards and sincere gratitude, 

Pini 

P.S.  The Optimove Connect 2024 Conference will take place in London at the Pullman London, St. Pancras Hotel on March 20th to 21st. We look forward to seeing you there! 

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Pini Yakuel

Pini co-founded Optimove in 2009 and has led the company, as its CEO, since its inception. With two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales, he is the driving force behind Optimove. His passion for innovative and empowering technologies is what keeps Optimove ahead of the curve. He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from Tel Aviv University.