For Budget Sake: Focus On Existing Customers Before Acquiring New Ones In 2023

Data is a major focus for Sendinblue, says Steffen Schebesta, CEO of North America and vice president of corporate development at the Paris-based company. Some people call the company a customer data platform (CDP), because of all the sources of data that is collected, such as behavioral and tracking web behavior, but its roots are in email. 

Schebesta believes that in 2023 marketers should focus more heavily on existing customers. “With budgets becoming tighter based on inflation, marketers need to focus on channels that will bring in a return on investment through existing customers, because it’s much easier to sell to them through a proven channel, rather than acquire new customers,” he says. (A bit of advice I have heard several times in the past couple of weeks.)

Sendinblue was founded in 2012 as an email company and expanded to SMS marketing and marketing automation, as well as ecommerce with a chat and in-box feature focused on customer support.  It now has about 700 employees worldwide, with the five companies it acquired in the past 14 months, including a teleconference Zoom-like platform. That includes three companies in ecommerce software acquired last year.



Only 15% of Sendinblue’s revenue comes from very large companies, and the remainder from small to medium-sized firms. The average customer generates about $10 million in annual revenue. Mailchimp is one of Sendinblue’s competitors, but its model has changed a lot in the past two year. It now offers support for Facebook Ads, and WhatsApp campaigns. LinkedIn and Instagram are on the books for 2023.

Data & Programmatic Insider:  The one service the company does not offer today that you wish it would?

Schebesta:  We’re trying to build an all-in-one software platform for small and medium-size businesses. We want to bring them all together for small and-medium-sized businesses.

D&PI:  With the company’s data-tracking capabilities, where do you see the company in 2023?

Schebesta:  It’s an interesting trend in North America. Being a European company, it feels a bit like we’ve been there and gone through a cycle of data privacy with GDPR in 2018. In North America, things are triggered differently. Legislation in Europe really took charge of the change, whereas in the United States it’s tech players. It’s really up to the end consumer.

Apple took it more from a unique selling proposition, where it could set them apart and how good they are on the data-privacy front. The company made other tech players follow suit.

At Google, it seems a lot more forced. I don’t think it will have a big impact on the company’s revenue. But it will have a big impact on marketers.

D&PI:  Why do you think European consumers were more concerned about privacy and data early on?

Schebesta:  It’s a cultural thing, in my opinion. In the U.S., it’s more about capitalism and freedom. There’s a lot less regulation overall. In Europe, politicians see that consumers have to be protected more. There’s also more regulation, higher taxes and healthcare.

Legislation at the state level in the U.S., but I predict that in the short to mid-term there will be changes in the U.S. with the American Data Protection Act. We will see it at the federal level, something equivalent to GDPR. Maybe not in 2023, but two-to-three years.

D&PI:  What is the top thing marketers need to become aware of in 2023?

Schebesta:  It’s a mindset, but data privacy concerns are real. We conducted some surveys. About 80% of consumers are more concerned today about their data privacy than pre-pandemic. Marketers need to prepare and turn that disadvantage with less data like with Apple and make it into a positive communicator with clients, similar to what Apple does.

It also means other channels might become more important. For example, a website where they can collect zero and first-party data. There are challenges I see without customers. They will see much better performance.

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