Startup Review: Martin AI

Martin is a digital marketing consulting company powered by artificial intelligence for small to midsized business. The first usable version of Martin was launched via the Facebook Messenger App. Interested SMB’s could become friends with Martin on Facebook and then chat with the AI via Messenger. The proprietary technology gathers necessary information about the interested SMB by asking questions and having a conversation with the SMB’s management. That information is run through Martin’s proprietary tech and then Martin will suggest various media pieces that the SMB might want to share via social media. Martin could even post these articles or blogs directly onto the SMB’s social media accounts.

Martin is constantly monitoring more than 80 review sites for SMBs and looks for both positive and negative review. If it is a positive review, Martin will let an SMB know and try and find a way to incorporate this review into social media or other digital marketing exercises. Martin even puts the social media post together and blasts it out onto the SMB’s feeds. Martin would then track analytics on that post and be able to reply to questions an SMB might have about it. Martin can also monitor an SMB’s social media feed to analyze what kind of posts are appropriate and then suggest those posts to the management of the small company.

In this basic version, Martin essentially acts as a chat-bot to help the management of an SMB utilize social media most effectively. The management of Martin is planning on helping out with reputation strategy as well; when an SMB is mentioned on social media, Martin will alert the Company and offer solutions on how to handle these digital interactions. Martin also has the current capability to assist with pay-per-click campaigns. The more a small business uses Martin, the more intelligent and nimble the AI becomes.

The Company is planning on charging ~$50 per month for these services. This is significantly less than ~$150 per hour that a social media consultant could charge. The Company’s goal is to capture 175,000 subscribers to this services, making more than $100 million per annum.

 

Problem

Large companies allocate enormous resources to digital marketing. There is currently significant investment placed into social media and other digital marketing capabilities. Unfortunately, small business owners typically do not have the manpower or the capital investment that would allow them to invest in digital marketing and social media effectively. According to a study in 2016 performed by Snap Agency, the average company spends $75,000 per year on digital costs (Email, Social, Display Ads, Mobile and Search). This typically accounts for ~35% of all marketing spend for each company. This is also shown to be an upward moving trend, as digital spend only accounted for 19% of marketing budgets in 2011.

Specifically, Martin is tackling how a SMB is perceived in social media and trying to do it in real time. Martin makes things extremely easy for SMB’s to utilize social media and digital advertising to their advantage. There are tons of anecdotal evidence to be pointed toward in the past couple of years that show the kind of influence social media and digital marketing can have on a community. It is also very difficult for SMB’s to monitor everything that is going on digitally and Martin streamlines that process.  

 

Market Size

Another study, performed by GetResponse, found that 70% of small to medium sized businesses will be increasing their digital/web-based marketing budgets for 2017. This same study also found that SMB’s are investing roughly 4% of all revenues into digital ad spends. The average SMB spends $400 on marketing and on average spend 46% of that on digital marketing. 59% of SMB’s are expecting that their primary digital marketing spend will go toward social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Although this is an indication of what marketing means would be the most efficient and most important to invest in, a study from Forrester Research found that search engine marketing will eventually capture the largest share of online spend due to its return on capital. All this data helps prove out the theory that the Company has potential to acquire customers – these customers definitely exist.

Digital marketing efforts have a varied perceived R.O.I. for companies, and according to E-Consultancy the most beloved methods for paying them back are E-mail, SEO, Content Marketing and Paid Search. Online marketing budgets are growing partly because companies are seeing money saved and greater R.O.I. through E-mail, SEO, Content Marketing and Paid Search. 41% of marketers claim that they are saving money with digital marketing and the savings have helped fund further investment.

According to the Small Business Association, there are more than 27 million small businesses in the United States. Nearly 80% of these SMB’s are single person entities with no employees and bringing in close to $50,000 per year in revenue. The remaining 6 million SMB’s make ~$5 million per year. It is hard to find data that thoroughly backup how much each of these small business are willing to spend on a service like Martin, but it is easy to see that they probably have enough room in the marketing budget to shell out $50 per month, especially if it helps drive up sales. There is little reason to doubt the Company’s goal of 175,000 subscribers.

 

Support

The Company first started in the OCEAN Accelerator and then became part of the Brandery Accelerator, both headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The two founders, Tanja and James moved to Cincinnati because of the OCEAN Accelerator and found the startup community to be extremely helpful and beneficial to the growth of their business that they decided to stick around.

OCEAN and the Brandery both provide seed fundings of approximately $50,000, making the total funding of this Company to be approximately $100,000. At this time, there is no other money invested in this Company.

 

Management

·      Tanja Mimica; CEO & Co-founder – Tanja has more than a decade of experience in working with small businesses.

·      James Hassett; CTO & Co-founder – James is a former Tesla automation engineer with extensive experience using machine learning to automate complex processes. James & Tanja are married.

·      Jamie Rump; Software Engineer – Jamie is a former founder of CompleteSet, a venture backed startup. CompleteSet provides a web and mobile app that allows users to catalog their collections, contribute information to an online knowledge base of collectibles, and buy collectibles from each other.

 

 

Peter G Schmidt