Bridgeline Digital Updates iAPPS Marketier, Vows Better Days
Bridgeline Digital has released an update to iAPPS Marketier that brings marketing automation capabilities to the forefront of the online marketing management solution.
The release comes as the publicly-traded Burlington, Mass.-based company faces financial pressures. NASDAQ OMX Group warned the company in August to get its stock price above $1 for at least 10 consecutive days by next February or risk a delisting.
It had gone 30 days consecutive days below $1 at the time of the warning, according to a NASDAQ letter posted by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August. Bridgeline Digital traded on NASDAQ this morning at $0.79.
“We have made significant efforts and investments in our business that we believe will improve our financial performance, and ultimately our stock price,” Michael Prinn, executive vice president and CFO of Bridgeline Digital, told CMSWire this morning.
Differentiation Through Personalization
The iAPPS Marketier update aims to simplify the process of creating personalized experiences for consumers through a combination of stronger automation, list management capabilities, simplified form building and more.
“Everyone has content management, but personalization is not something everyone can do,” Ethan Lippman, senior product manager for Bridgeline Digital, told CMSWire. “We’ve seen pretty good success with personalization. Marketers are becoming more engaged with website personalization.”
Bridgeline also produces a .NET-based iAPPS web content management system and includes analytics, social media and e-commerce solutions in its iAPPs product family.
New Automation Flows
Bridgeline released the new capabilities to existing customers on Sept. 17. They include a new feature called Automation Flows, drag-and-drop campaigns where marketers can set up automated communication flows which respond to users’ actions.
Marketers can determine a user’s personalized experience — and their follow-up actions — based on everything from opening an email, submitting a form or visiting a page on another site.
Overhauled Audience List Management
The Bridgeline release included an overhaul of its Audience List Management. Marketers can create groups of anonymous and known users based on a series of behaviors and deliver targeted content to these groups when they visit the site.
Enhanced Forms, Salesforce Integration
The company also updated its iAPPS Form Builder in an attempt to simplify form creation. Marketers can now request users fill in standard form fields and custom contact fields in iAPPS Marketier. A single form can capture information and update a contact database. A new form embed code option allows marketers to add iAPPS forms on other sites.
The release includes a new direct integration with Salesforce CRM. Marketers can use a custom interface to input Salesforce credentials, map iAPPS fields to Salesforce lead and contact fields and automatically create and update customer information in Salesforce.
Officials plan to change the iAPPS release cycle from two large releases a year to monthly releases that incorporate new features, enhancements and issue resolution.
As for its NASDAQ mandate, Bridgeline Digital’s CFO has confidence is will bounce back.
According to the Aug. 19 report filed with the SEC, Bridgeline Digital received an initial notification letter from The NASDAQ OMX Group indicating that the bid price of the company’s common stock for the last 30 consecutive business days had closed below the minimum $1 per share. Its high in the past year was $3.47, according to Yahoo Finance.
NASDAQ is giving Bridgeline 180 calendar days, or until Feb. 15, 2017, to sell at $1 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days. If Bridgeline fails to regain compliance by Feb. 15, 2017, the company will be subject to delisting on the NASDAQ.
Bridgeline CFO Prinn said the company can ask for a 180-day extension if it fails to improve its stock price as requested.
“Based on the company’s operating plan and internal projections we believe that during this compliance period we will demonstrate our improved operating performance as well as our balance sheet position and those will translate into an increase in our valuation and ultimately our stock price,” CFO Prinn said. “Management believes that in executing the business plan we will regain compliance within the allowed time.”
Revenues, Staff Numbers Fall
Financial reports indicate shrinking revenues and staff sizes.
According to SEC Filings (pdf), Bridgeline’s total revenue for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015 decreased to $19.2 million from $23.7 million for the same period the prior year. Compare this with the $26.3 million in revenue the company claimed in Fiscal 2012 and Fiscal 2011.
Bridgeline Digital did report an increase in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revenue of 9.2 percent to $1.3 million in the third quarter of Fiscal 2016.
But it has seen employee numbers fall from 165 employees as of Sept. 30, 2013 to 91 employees as of Sept. 30, 2015.
The company promoted former COO Ari Kahn to the role of CEO in May to help it turn these numbers around. Kahn previously was co-founder of web CMS vendor FatWire, which was acquired by Oracle in 2011.
Investments in Marketier
According to Lippman, the 16-year-old company spent its first 10 years primarily as a digital agency, helping enterprises build websites with popular CMS tools like Sitecore and Ektron. It then built its own Web CMS and began to sell software licenses in addition to its service business.
Prinn cited recent investments that Bridgeline believes will “ultimately improve our valuation and our stock price”:
- Added an inside sales organization that will focus on the new iAPPS Marketier Pro product line. Marketier Pro is expected to have lower customer acquisition costs, a shorter sales cycle and higher gross margins due to a high Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) license to services ratio, Prinn said
- Increased enterprise sales team. Bridgeline currently has a large portion of the team that is relatively new and “almost fully ramped up,” Prinn said. Once the existing team is ready, they potentially will win a significant amount of new business and help drive an increase to the top line. “The last quarter or two we have been carrying the cost as the team ramps up, and we expect to see the results of our investments in the next couple quarters and beyond,” Prinn said
- In August, Bridgeline completed a conversion of $6 million of debt into equity (common stock). “Not only does this significantly improve our balance sheet, and reduce the amount of interest we will have to pay on a quarterly basis,” Prinn said, “this also sends a strong message that our noteholders elected to become shareholders, and they believe in the future of Bridgeline Digital.”