|Operating system||Software as a service|
Act-On is a software-as-a-service product for marketing automation developed by Act-On, a company based in Beaverton, Oregon. It is used mostly by small to medium-sized businesses as a lower-cost alternative to enterprise software. The company was founded in 2008 and initially sold its software exclusively through Cisco, which provided $2 million in funding. It developed its own sales team to market the software directly to users and raised a total of $74 million in funding. Act-On has received positive reviews for use by small to medium-sized business due to its ease-of-use, simplicity and cost. However, product reviews have noted that Act-On does not have many of the sophisticated features needed for larger enterprises.
The idea for Act-On was conceived in a conversation between WebEx CEO Subrah Iyar and Act-On founder Raghu Raghavan. The software was originally built as a way to integrate WebEx and Salesforce.com with online marketing software. A webinar management tool was developed in a beta pre-release that year. WebEx, which had planned to fund Act-On, was acquired by Cisco in 2007. In 2008 Cisco's venture capital arm provided $2 million to Act-On in initial funding. Act-On's software was released in beta in June 2008, before being introduced to the market in October of the same year. initially as a software-as-a-service product embedded in Cisco’s collaboration software. Act-On began selling the software only through Cisco, but later created its own sales team. Entering the market after several competitors had been established, Act-On enjoyed a second-mover advantage.
In 2009 the company's investors tried to convince founder Raghu Raghavan to move Act-On to Silicon Valley, but he kept it in Oregon. The company raised a second round of funding for $4 million in November 2010  and a third round for $10 million in June 2011. In March 2011 Act-On re-launched its software with a new user interface. It acquired a struggling software developer, MarketBright, for its customers and employees a month later, without integrating its intellectual property. Later that year, Act-On expanded into larger offices in Beaverton, Oregon and Roseville, California. It also established a new location in Silicon Valley. In 2011, Act-On started a European channel program through a partner, Pipedream. An additional $16 million in funding was raised the following year.
According to CRM search, Act-On began to "hit its stride" in 2012, multiplying in revenues and headcount each year. By 2013, the company had 140 employees, up from 11 in 2010 and 35 in 2011. It moved into larger offices in Beaverton again in early 2013. Act-On also hosted a programming competition called “Gamify Green for Good,” where participants are challenged to create gaming applications that address real-world problems. In October 2013, Act-On opened its APIs so that developers could build third-party applications that use Act-On's data and extend the software's features.
Act-On is a subscription-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) product for marketing automation that includes tools for email marketing, landing pages, lead management, social media prospecting, webinar management and analytics among others.
Act-On has a Twitter Prospector tool introduced in 2010 that automates the publishing and monitoring of content on Twitter, tracking prospective customers and measuring their activity. An Act-On Insight tool that was released in June 2012 compares a company's social media marketing performance to competitors. Its Hot Prospects tool, which was introduced at the 2011 Dreamforce conference, creates a dashboard in Salesforce.com that scores the likelihood that a prospect is ready to make a purchasing decision. A set of software tools for search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and other inbound tactics was introduced in May 2013 under the name Act-On Inbound. Act-On also introduced a mobile app and mobile optimization features.
Act-On is intended for marketing departments of between one and 15 people, as a low-cost alternative to enterprise software suites. It is one of few marketing automation vendors with adoption outside the technology industry and has a 4.9 percent share of the marketing automation market overall.
Act-On has 2,200 users. Most users are small to medium-sized companies, though there are some larger companies using it, such as IBM, Motorola and Siemens. As of 2011, about 10 percent of Act-On's clients are WebEx users and 60 percent are Salesforce users.
Users can manage WebEx and GoToWebinars events within the software. It also integrates with some data and analytics services, such as Google Analytics. Plug-ins can be used to connect with Microsoft Dynamics, WordPress, Salesforce, SugarCRM or others. A separate version for agencies has an agency dashboard to centrally manage multiple client campaigns and is sold at a lower bulk price. Act-On also promotes its agency partners and third-party applications on the Act-On Partner Exchange (APEX), manages an educational resource called the Act-On Center of Excellence (ACE) and provides professional services.
A CRMSearch.com review recommends Act-On for small to medium-sized businesses with a marketing staff of 5-10 people, especially those automating marketing campaigns for the first time, or who focus on webinars and email marketing. It urges enterprise users to consider competitors' products, especially if they need strong international support or user access controls. The review said that Act-On is less sophisticated than some enterprise products, but that its simplicity makes it easier to use and more practical for smaller marketing teams. Act-On's strengths in the review were its user interface and pricing, though competitors are emerging with similar characteristics.
In a 2014 Forrester Wave, Act-On was ranked in the "Leaders" category for Lead-to-Revenue Management software. Forrester said Act-On's pricing, simplicity and feature-set was "right-sized" for small to medium-sized marketing teams. Its highest scores in the evaluation were for its software and support, but it received lower scores for market presence and company financials. In Gleanster’s Gleansight benchmark, Act-On received a "Best" ranking in three out of four categories: ease of deployment, ease of use and overall value. The VEST report by analyst firm Raab Associates said the software had limitations in lead scoring, progressive profiling and archiving features, but recommended it for small to mid-sized marketing teams. The author said it has some features for small marketing departments not found in competing options, such as API access.
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