Time has never seemed more fitting to announce my latest venture…
I’m thrilled to introduce you all to MarketMate – an AI solution that will save you time, money and resource by curating engaging and relevant cross-platform content.
Here’s a little insight into how MarketMate came about. It’s also worth noting here that the article below is entirely my own opinion and an honest reflection. So here goes…
After two successful years running ARTIMUS and focussing on ironing out any operational flaws and becoming as an efficient team as possible, we finally felt like we were in a position where we’d be comfortable to scale. In order to do this, there was one aspect of the business we knew we’d have to invest heavily in and that was marketing.
To be entirely honest, and being a team with a heavy tech mindset, we weren’t sure how to proceed. We decided the best course of action would be to meet with a variety of marketing agencies, searching for one which would fit our ethos, and provide a great service. We also discovered, having spoken to some of our current and former clients many of them were in a similar position.
Here’s what we found (controversial topic inbound)
Many agencies we spoke to came with an incredible price point, with the average being £5000 per month. Within this fee they agreed to source relevant posts in line with your company from the internet using sites such as BBC, Sky News, Business Insider, Forbes etc. They told us that they would then read these articles and should they fit our business offering/positioning they would then share them across our social channels, with a number of the agencies also agreeing to “write a custom sentence to accompany your piece of content, rather than just copy and paste the headline”.
Again, complete honesty and in my personal opinion, this practice blew our minds especially for such a fee! To our astonishment, this seemed to be the norm across the many agencies that we spoke to. We also noticed that many of the individuals that would be assigned to carry this work out consisting of a very junior level team, it made sense. (NB: this does not cover everyone or their entire offering, but this seems to be what you get if on a “lower” tier of service.)
At this point, many businesses would tend to ‘bite the bullet’ and pick whichever agency was the cheapest. But not us, we’re a team of problem solvers. (Edit: truthfully, we spent about a month deciding if we should do this or not, but let’s pretend for the purpose of the story, that it was instantaneous.)
Over Christmas 2018, I went back home to my parents’ house in Manchester to celebrate the festivities with the conversations mentioned above still hot on my mind. On Christmas Eve after a bottle of wine and a rather large bag of Aldi’s Salt and Black Pepper crisps (If you know, you know!), I found myself unable to shake the idea that the entire process could be automated in some way. So I set to work…
What followed was a rather long period of coding. This included pulling together a content miner from a series of RSS feeds, and a keyword search algorithm connecting to a twitter app I’d made, to send posts out for me (while obviously sitting up hoping to catch Santa in the act).Tiredness soon hit in, so I decided to go to bed and leave it running.
I woke up on Christmas Day and checked my work from the previous night and was surprised to find few favourites and follows on Twitter. This was also combined with a few jokey messages from clients calling me sad for writing all these tweets and working on Christmas Day. Little did they know it wasn’t actually me!
Let’s fast forward to New Year 2019. Our following had increased by a whopping 400%, and our new piece of coding/tech had consistently made between 2 and 5 relevant posts using Artificial Intelligence for the last 10 days. This was the moment in time when our clients started to catch on.
Mid-January: It started to become blatantly obvious to all involved that I wasn’t doing this by myself. Impressed by what they had seen some of our clients started to ask me which agency we had picked in the end, and we even had some agencies ask the same. Worth noting at this point we were up to 8x our original Following.
February came around and with that the popularity of our new tech/algorithm grew! Some of our smaller clients who had heard the above story asked if they could also use it within their own companies and I give in thinking “what’s the worst that can happen?”. At this point I had created this as a solution to a business challenge we were facing, not thinking of the huge potential/help it could have for others also. Oh, and we were now sitting at 12x Original following, without writing one. single. tweet.
During March we had some close friends and clients using the algorithm and to our delight seeing similar results. A small downside though? I had clients/users constantly asking me to change their keywords every day, and to be honest I was getting tired of it! One client, upon my refusal to change their keyword for the 3rd time in the week, sent me an email offering to pay to use the algorithm full time and to my disbelief let me know “we’ve cancelled our agency and just want to use this”.
12 seconds later…the lightbulb moment: “Oh s***, maybe this is a business idea”
As March continued my thought process remained, “Shall we make this a business, it is kind of cool….”
April came around and with that, we decide “Screw it, let’s do it” (Great book by Richard Branson by the way, buy it!). We also decided to explore the potential/market further by meeting with bigger, scarier agencies in London whose fees are approx. £50k per month to see what their offering was. We discover similarities, the biggest and most important to us was that they also sourced, proofread and added a bespoke sentence in line with your brands tone of voice before sharing across social media. It’s important that we add here that these agencies offer lots of other fantastic services, however, given the purpose of our visit we weren’t really interested in that though.
So, armed with this insight our team went back to the drawing board. We knew we could copy and paste links/content like the smaller agencies, but could we match the tone of voice? Does something like this already exist? We discovered that it didn’t! This was our next problem to solve – we had to give it a shot!
Funnily enough, that month we also attended the AI Wales monthly meetup (highly recommend – come along!) which we happen to also sponsor and met Luis Espinosa-Anke – a gentleman who happened to be giving a speech on the topic and today, is MarketMate’s technology advisor.
In order to turn our then concept into a business, we needed cash. So, we decided to take the plunge and go for investment. Three months of what I can only describe as hellishly slow proceedings later, we managed to secure the cash! In the meantime, no further development happened. Our original day one client we’re still using the system, so we decided to make a simple temporary web system for them to edit their own keywords, posts etc so we didn’t have to. At this moment in time we we’re 14x our original following, without writing. One. Single. tweet.
In September we decided to add LinkedIn, meaning our algorithm could now post to both Twitter and LinkedIn. This was very much a test period for us as we had only been working with Twitter to date, however to our astonishment we started to see the same results. Awesome!
October brought the official news that we secured the investment needed to proceed with development and so we did, beginning with working on being able to paraphrase.
We made paraphrasing possible in November, meaning we could now write bespoke sentences in line with each brand to accompany the content/articles sourced through our algorithm. Not only were we working on refining and developing the algorithm and abilities of MarketMate, our team were, and continue to work hard ahead of the official launch later this January 2020.
Watch this space…