I joined a social analytics company called Brandwatch in 2011. Back then it was a few dozen people (not sure exactly how many, but fewer than 80) operating from a new office in Brighton, UK. The following year we received about £3.5M in funding from Nauta Capital to try and grow, in an industry which was dominated by a large competitor called Radian6, which had recently been acquired by Salesforce for $326M.
Anyway, to begin with it was just me and one other chap in marketing. Fast forward five years and there were more than 50 of us, and more than $65M had been invested into the company. It was a fast and exciting growth environment, and I’m pleased to see that has continued to be the case. By 2018, Brandwatch had outmaneuvered many of its fiercest rivals and acquired both PeerIndex (2013) and BuzzSumo (2017), before joining forces with Crimson Hexagon to create a combined company with over $100M in annual recurring revenues. It now looks to be on track to becoming the UK’s next tech unicorn, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of that journey.
I changed role a few times as the team – and company – restructured periodically to better facilitate our rapid expansion. My final role was VP inbound marketing, which encompassed PR, content, social, web, advertising and influencer marketing and had 14 people in the team. Inbound accounted for over 80% of Brandwatch’s demand, fueling the rampant revenue growth of the business.
There are a few things I feel like went pretty well while I was there. One of them is the very successful launch of Brandwatch in Latin America and in Francophone markets, a marketing-led strategy that I was tasked with spearheading. Brandwatch is now far and away the market leader in those regions. I’m also very proud of our organic growth in English-speaking markets during that time. In the five years I spent at Brandwatch, with an extremely modest budget we managed to grow organic web traffic from around 60,000 visitors a year to more than two million. Key to that success was the launch of a sub-brand I helped pioneer that showcases content focused on data and online trends, Brandwatch React. This spinoff effort was a crucial part of making Brandwatch as famous as it is today.
Over the years we’ve spent working with social data we’ve noticed just three major forces that have the ability to alter conversations and appear as key topics in almost every search possible:
The first was One Direction.
Then it was Donald Trump.
Now it’s BTS.
— Brandwatch React (@BW_React) August 13, 2018
I generally loved my time there and was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Today it’s got offices in Paris, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York, Singapore, Berlin and Stuttgart, and I have no doubt will continue to hit the headlines for all the right reasons.