Interview With Natalie Issa Marketing Director at Woopra

Not all website visitors are created equal, this is simply a fact. As marketing director, one of the biggest challenges I face is differentiating the good from the bad. In the online environment with thousands of website visitors and clients flowing in and out monitoring can prove to be almost impossible.

Impossible until you start using Woopra, a real-time and hands-on customer analytics service that provides solutions for sales, service, marketing and product teams.

Being highly impressed with their service and the monitoring and insight capabilities they offer, I requested to conduct a short interview with their director of marketing Natalie Issa.

You can find the results  in the eye opening interview below.

Interview with Natalie Issa Marketing director at Woopra

Natalie IssaTell us a bit about yourself and what made you choose your line of work?

I’ve had the opportunity to work in a few different industries at the marketing level, but I found myself in this particular space almost accidentally. Before working at Woopra, I was gradually becoming more and more involved in web analytics until I reached a point where it felt like the natural next step to join Woopra. It was one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made.

This is a really exciting space to work in as a marketer. Being at the forefront of the analytics revolution that’s taking place means that I get to experience first hand the technologies and strategies my fellow marketers will be adopting in the years to come. Working at Woopra has exposed me to a level of innovation that I’ve truly never experienced before. It’s definitely the most challenging place I’ve ever worked, but also the most rewarding.

I see Woopra was founded in 2008, and I remember that already then there were already companies that provided customer analytics for sales teams. What did you founders see that was missing? What was the insight that led them to start Woopra.

Woopra was originally founded when, Elie Khoury, one of Woopra’s two founders and the current CEO, was a Computer Science student running a few online businesses. The lack of real-time, granular analytics data available at the time was having a negative impact on his businesses as he had no visibility into customer behavior as it happened – which is when it matters most. Since he couldn’t find anything on the market that was both real-time and delivered individual-level customer data, in a truly entrepreneurial fashion, he simply decided to build his own product! And that’s how Woopra was born.

Software such as Woopra has radically changed the way companies communicate with their clients and market their business. What is the next big thing to be changed? What kinds of developments are you forecasting in the near future?

One thing we’ve been advocating and I think we’ll see more companies adopting this year is the need to give customer-facing teams access to customer data and insights. Too often in organizations, you see analytics and customer insights being reserved for data scientists or product teams. You rarely find a company, even in the high tech space, that makes these insights available to non-technical business users. Customer-facing teams, like sales, support, and customer success, need to understand how customers are using and engaging with their products in order to optimize the customer’s lifecycle. The more companies we talk to, the more we see just how much this missing piece impacts their business. I think that more companies will recognize the value of this in the near future.

What are the unique/unconventional ways that Woopra specifically and customer analytics in general, help Saas companies increase their market awareness?

We work with a lot of SaaS companies and are a SaaS company ourselves, so we know firsthand that the most important element to success in this space is understanding your customers’ behavior.

SaaS companies rely on subscription models, which means that retention and customer success are key contributors to your revenue stream. Woopra’s real-time customer analytics enables SaaS companies to get the insight into customer engagement they need to optimize the entire customer lifecycle.

From the free trial stage, to conversion, to retention, you need to understand customer behavior in order to engage customers in a relevant way. Woopra is unique in that it’s a product for every department. We don’t believe each department should have a separate tool collecting customer data, which doesn’t talk to the other departments’ tools. It becomes messy and it doesn’t give you continuity between each stage of the customer’s lifecycle. We believe, one customer, one lifecycle, one data set.

As a Marketing Director, what do you believe are the main Marketing challenges software providers need to overcome in order to sustain growth? How have these challenges changed over the past 2 years?

For all primarily digital businesses, such as software providers, I think the main challenge is that you don’t readily have that visibility into or engagement with your customer base. And that’s not just a marketing challenge – it’s a cross-departmental challenge. It’s as though you have a bricks and mortar retail store, but you have no idea how your customers are shopping, who they are, what they’re looking for etc. But the silver lining for software providers and other digital businesses, is that they actually have the opportunity to track and understand customer behavior at a much deeper and more detailed level than a bricks and mortar retail shop. Overcoming this challenge and turning it into an opportunity will be a big factor in sustaining growth for these companies.

What in your opinion are the key factors that will determine successful marketing efforts?

Of course, first and foremost, marketers need to understand the customer – who they are, how they behave, where they spend their time etc. That will direct every effort they invest in. Don’t do things blindly or generically. Target content, make it relevant to the audience, and communicate with customers in a personalized way.

If you had only one marketing tip for new Saas startups, what would it be?

My most important tip would be, simply, to pay attention to marketing! Many SaaS startups ignore marketing early on to focus on the product. While you should absolutely put every effort into creating a great product, you should also spend some time planning your marketing efforts. You need both a great product and a great message to gain traction.

I read that you have gained a lot of expertise serving the realestate market, and was interested to learn about the unique challenges of this sector that relate to their online business.

We have had the opportunity to work with many real estate companies and have enjoyed a lot of success in that space. Real estate businesses, like SaaS companies, care a lot about the individual customer. Each customer represents a high value and so they want to understand how these customers engage with their listings online. Woopra allows them to immediately understand what a customer is searching for, where they came from, requirements they may have and much more. All of this customer insight allows the realtor to approach the customer already armed with information.

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Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.