Q&A: Dave Scott, founder and CEO, Marketfish

Dave Scott, founder and CEO of list marketing and lead generation firm Marketfish, talks about how traditional list marketing tangles up small agencies and what his company is doing about it – and about meeting the challenge of reaching the 65-year-old, left-handed golfer in Boca Raton, Fla.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Before starting Marketfish three years ago, you worked in senior marketing positions for companies including PeopleSoft and Intermec Technologies Corp., and earlier worked for major marketers such as AT&T Wireless and General Electric Co. What did you learn that you’re employing there at Marketfish to help other marketers?

Dave Scott (Marketfish): Marketfish was really born out of my personal frustrations. After 18 years in the [marketing] business, obviously I generated a lot of leads for sales teams, but I was always frustrated by how manual and confusing and mysterious that process was. What I did was create the type of product I would want to have if I were a marketing executive in today’s world. If you take a look at the lead generation landscape, there are only so many ways you can generate good leads. Email marketing and direct mail are two of six. What our platform does is much like Google AdWords: It allows you to set up and execute email and direct mail marketing campaigns online without any human intervention. So with $50 or $100 in my pocket, I can log into Marketfish, identify the target audience I want to reach, build an email marketing campaign, and execute that campaign within 72 hours. One of the things I wanted to do was make [the process] accessible to everybody, so we don’t have minimums and we don’t need minimums, because we’re a technology platform and completely automated.

DMN: How many clients do you currently have?

Scott: We have over 600 agencies, enterprises and small businesses that have accounts on our system.

DMN: Talk a little about how you see traditional list marketing as a challenge for your small agency clients and what you are doing about that.

Scott: If you think about the small agency, it really relies on being more efficient and innovative and more effective than a large agency. A lot of small agencies around today are really digital agencies that were born out of their successes with Google AdWords and banner advertising. So in order for these small agencies to remain successful and growing and competitive, they’re always looking for new services they can offer to their client bases. So what works really well with Marketfish is that we provide an automated system much like Google AdWords that enables them to add two new tactics to offer to their client base. AdWords allows you to target potential customers using keywords to drive traffic to your offer. Marketfish does the exact same thing, but we do it through email campaigns and direct mail campaigns.

DMN: What types of businesses do you work with?

Scott: We’ve had every type of offer come through our platform – from a small hair salon to large companies like Match.com and AT&T. So what’s great about our platform is it can be used for all types of businesses and all shapes and sizes.

DMN: What are some of the inherent challenges of direct mail and email campaigns today and how are you helping clients negotiate those?

Scott: In my experience having done email and direct mail, the process is way too manual for me. You have to get on the phone, have back-and-forth conversations to agree on the target list, and have a back-and-forth over email to actually execute the campaign. For me, that was frustrating. What Marketfish does is it allows you to do all that campaign creation and build a campaign in less than 30 minutes and execute it within three days. No more back and forth, and no more missed emails.

DMN: Talk about the issue of targetability and what you bring to the table.

Scott: Our technology is also a marketplace. We work with some of the best branded list owners out there today, with over 150 lists on our platform. We represent more than 200 million permission-based email records. That means that anyone coming onto our platform has a lot of inventory to work with. We also provide over 100 different ways to filter that data, to get the exact audience you’re after. If you’re looking for the 65-year-old, left-handed golfer in Boca Raton, Fla., you can find him on our platform. And what’s more important, filtering down to your target audience happens in real time with our platform, so you get results in seconds, not days.

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