Bridgeline Digital has released an update to iAPPS Marketier that brings marketing automation capabilities to the forefront of the online marketing management solution.

With iAPPS Marketier, marketers can set up rich landing pages, marketing automation flows and create audience segments to deliver "full experiences rather than simply pages and emails."

Simplified Personal Experiences

The iAPPS Marketier update aims to simplify the process of creating personalized experiences for consumers through a combination of stronger automation, list management capabilities, simplified form building and more.

It includes a set of flexible templates and modules that can be highly customized (visually) for building landing pages, websites and webstores. Bridgeline's objective is to take care of 80 percent of the common, repeatable functionality out of the box to allow companies to invest in the functionality that is unique to them.

"Everyone has content management, but personalization is not something everyone can do," Ethan Lippman, senior product manager for Burlington, Mass.-based Bridgeline Digital, told CMSWire. "We've seen pretty good success with personalization. Marketers are becoming more engaged with website personalization."

Bridgeline also produces a .NET-based iAPPS web content management system and includes analytics, social media and e-commerce solutions in its iAPPS product family.

Multiple New Features

The update includes a number of new features, which were released to existing customers this week. Going forward, Bridgeline plans to change the iAPPS release cycle from two large releases a year to monthly releases that incorporate new features, enhancements and issue resolution.

New Automation Flows

Automation Flows are drag-and-drop campaigns where marketers can set up automated communication flows, which respond to users' actions.

Marketers can determine a user's personalized experience — and their follow-up actions — based on everything from opening an email, submitting a form or visiting a page on another site.

Improved Audience List Management

With improved Audience List Management capabilities, marketers can create groups of anonymous and known users based on a series of behaviors and deliver targeted content to these groups when they visit the site.

More specifically, they can create audience lists (think personas) and then create flows that can put people into lists, deliver email and more — essentially creating one-stop for personalization, segmentation and communication.

Enhanced Integration

Bridgeline also added enhancements to allow for better integration with other platforms – including the ability to embed forms on other sites and to embed tracking code which then feeds into the personalization/marketing automation engine.

It updated the iAPPS Form Builder to simplify form creation. Marketers can now request users fill in standard form fields and custom contact fields in iAPPS Marketier.

A single form can capture information and update a contact database. A new form embed code option allows marketers to add iAPPS forms on other sites.

The release includes a new direct integration with Salesforce CRM. Marketers can use a custom interface to input Salesforce credentials, map iAPPS fields to Salesforce lead and contact fields and automatically create and update customer information in Salesforce.

Bridgeline: Counting on a Turnaround

Bridgeline's new release comes at a crucial time for the publicly traded company, which has struggled to align costs with revenues over the past three years.

During a conference call last month, Ari Kahn, Bridgeline’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said the company continued its transition to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model, as evidenced by the 9.2 percent growth in SaaS revenue in the past quarter.

“This transition is accelerating, and driving margin expansion, as we introduce additional solutions and invest in a service-oriented sales organization,” Kahn said.

Kahn was promoted from COO to CEO in May to help lead its financial turnaround. Kahn is a co-founder of web CMS vendor FatWire, which Oracle acquired in 2011.

Kahn predicts the company could have positive earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBTDA) by early next year.

Overcoming Challenges

Taglich Brothers, a brokerage firm, decreased its full year 2016 earnings estimates for Bridgeline in a research report to clients and investors on Tuesday. And NASDAQ OMX Group has warned the company that it faces possible delisting unless it gets its stock price above $1 for at least 10 consecutive days before February.

But Michael Prinn, Bridgeline's EVP and CFO of Bridgeline Digital, told CMSWire this morning the company has made significant efforts and investments in its business that it believes will improve its financial performance, "and, ultimately our stock price."

In August, Bridgeline completed a conversion of $6 million of debt into equity (common stock) — improving balance sheet, and reducing the amount of interest it has to pay on a quarterly basis.

"This also sends a strong message that our note holders elected to become shareholders, and they believe in the future of Bridgeline Digital," Prinn said.

Prinn said Bridgeline has also added an inside sales organization that will focus on the new iAPPS Marketier Pro product line.

Marketier Pro is expected to have lower customer acquisition costs, a shorter sales cycle and higher gross margins due to a high SaaS license to services ratio.

It's also increased its enterprise sales team, positioning it to win a significant amount of new business and help drive an increase to the top line, Prinn said.

Title image "Bridgeline" (CC BY 2.0) by omaniblog