Making the most of those online tags
Making their smark: Cloud-based marketing tool allows consumers to choose from a tailored set of emotions or feelings.
B-SMARK is a Dublin-based company run by three Italians who have participated in the UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School MBA mentorship programme. The company has been linked up with mentor Jacques Henry-Bezy, managing director of Bespoke and Beyond Marketing Consultants.
Their main service MySmark – a cloud-based marketing tool which allows consumers to choose from a tailored set of emotions or feelings when responding to the use of a product or service in real time online – is garnering attention in Ireland, the UK, Italy and the US.
They have been invited to the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Boston at the end of this month where MySmark has been selected as one of the top 100 emerging innovations. Not only that but the organisers have decided to use the MySmark tool to gauge sentiment over the course of the three-day event.
B-Smark is to get a €500,000 investment from private venture capitalists before the end of this year and is also receiving continued support from Enterprise Ireland.
So how soon could we see MySmark on our computer screens? “We could start seeing it in the next few weeks,” says company chief executive Nicola Farronato. “We’re presenting at the summit in Boston and then a few days later, we’re attending another conference in San Francisco.
“We’re using the opportunity of the invitation to go on a US road show with the product and we have several interested stakeholders lined up.
“In the US,” Farronato adds, “a small company can scale very fast and scaling up a cloud-based platform is very straightforward anyway. What we’re looking at is finding the right collaboration and the right endorsement.”
Henry-Bezy has given B-Smark some targets to aim for over the next six months to keep the momentum going. “They need to build a community of ‘smarkers’ [online users prepared to be profiled and then called upon by MySmark or volunteer themselves to rate products and services],” he says. At this point, they have several thousand, but they hope for that number to have reached the half a million mark in the next six months.
“MySmark also needs to make sure the product itself is being continuously developed and reaches the stage of becoming a must-have marketing tool for professionals. The search for large potential clients must also continue.”
With so much big news for this small company, it’s hard to imagine what could possibly go wrong. But the world of online marketing, like all other industries where innovation takes centre stage, is cut-throat and no sooner than you start developing and sharing a product do others decide to jump on the band wagon.
“There are always dangers for a company of this size venturing in to a huge, ever-growing sector like digital marketing,” says Henry-Bezy.
“It’s hard to sustain any original business idea. If it is a genuinely original idea, as MySmark is, people will try to emulate you, and there is also the risk that they will better you. But this is a normal business risk, particularly in the innovation space.”