2018 was a definitive year for Antavo. We faced many challenges, but at the same time saw our biggest projects yet come to fruition. We won the eCommerce Awards for Excellence in the UK, launched our new website, introduced our renewed SaaS product to the public, and we even had some time to sit down every now and then and shoot our awesome new video series, Customer Loyalty Minutes.
Little did we know that the year had one last gift left in the bag for us: a BOC Business Brilliance Award. Our company was recognised for its lean and sound global strategy, something we’ve focused on from the very beginning. Sharing such good news is always a joy for me, but I also want to dedicate this article to showing you why it’s so important nowadays to have an international reach.
Celebrating Success at the BOC Brilliance Awards
On December 7, we attended the BOC Business Brilliance Awards UK in London as one of three finalists of the International Business of the Year category. The competition was fierce, since the other two finalists both had a well-established international presence. However, in the end the judges deemed us worthy and we brought home the trophy.
Growing Internationally In A Lean Way
At Antavo we wanted to build a global company from day one and, as a result, we now have clients from 16 different countries. We offer an innovative product and thought leadership, allowing us to reach beyond borders, even selling to larger midmarket and enterprise companies since 2017. Still, 2018 was the year when we were finally able to test new waters.
But why is our journey special? Because we did it in a lean way.
2016 – Thought leadership
Being a company that pays attention to costs, we focused on creating relevant and educational content because it’s one of the most effective ways to attract solution-aware leads.
- We created thought leadership pieces like ebooks, whitepapers and blog posts – 52 in total, throughout the 52 weeks of the year.
- We used every opportunity to spread the word about what we do. For instance, we started sharing our insight on Quora, which led to Zsuzsa Kecsmar – our CMO – becoming a Quora Top Writer in the topics of loyalty and customer retention in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
- Showcasing our expertise with educational content, we were able to attract clients who were characterized by their shared desire to improve customer retention, instead of the geographical location they were based in. One of our clients, PEPSICO, hails from Russia and has 15 brands – and it’s an inbound lead.
There is one thing I’ve noticed: many software marketers are hesitant to create content if they think their product is not “ready”. However, a product will never be fully ready. We found it very expedient to produce regardless of the circumstances. Our expertise had already hit a high bar, and the materials we created fit our clients’ needs, which helped us to refine the product itself.
The content gang celebrates Zsuzsa Kecsmar’s status as a Quora Top Writer for the third year in a row.
2017 – The year of delivery and growth
Our content efforts paid off and new potential clients were lining up to launch a loyalty program with us. On the other hand, this posed an unexpected challenge: how could we serve our ever-growing list of clients? Should we reject promising leads just because we reached our limit?
Fortune favors the bold, they say, so we decided to forge ahead and Antavo was able to grow organically: we tripled the company’s monthly recurring revenue by year’s end, and our team almost doubled in size.
2018 – The year of marketing and sales
After seeing the growth in 2017 we decided to take a step back, and determine which segment we should focus on. After conducting thorough research of potential markets and industries, we went with the option that was visible from the beginning and thus loyalty for fashion and retail became our niche.
The secret behind our innovative international strategy is that it’s lean at the core, minimising risks.
- Founded in the UK, we have a small office in Marylebone, but our development team is in Hungary, where Antavo’s founders originate from.
- Instead of opening local offices, we’ve worked with native customer-facing colleagues from multiple countries to support internal communication and transfer of company values.
- We support our clients via online calls and regular meetings, which requires a fair amount of traveling – as the image below suggests.
Today we confidently serve large international companies around the globe, including the entire N Brown Group, LuisaViaRoma, and one of the largest toy retailers in the world. We have clients from 16 countries, including the United Kingdom, the USA, Italy, Germany, Russia and Australia, just to name a few.
At Antavo, we pride ourselves on being true experts in the field of fashion and retail loyalty. One of our latest clients, Jimmy Jazz, the US-based footwear retailer with a 170 stores, chose to work with us despite the physical distance, because they knew that we have in-depth knowledge about customer retention in fashion and retail.
“Working with someone who knows what to do and how to do it is a big advantage.” – Robert Shapiro, President of Jimmy Jazz.
Helping Retailers and Brands Beyond Borders
Winning the International Business of the Year category at the BOC Business Brilliance Awards UK is valuable feedback that has inspired us to keep pursuing our globetrotting goals.
If you are reading this and you sell online, then your company is likely international, too. How is what you’re doing different from what your competitors do? Providing special experiences for your customers can be a strong differentiator, and this is exactly what we can help with.