When Cambridge marketing software firm HubSpot Inc. launched in 2006, e-mail pitching was considered old-fashioned and spam-riddled. Consumers struggling with e-mail overload were often not receptive to more electronic clutter. HubSpot didn’t even build e-mail marketing products.
That changes on Tuesday, when HubSpot will at last offer its own tools to manage, create, and track e-mail marketing campaigns in its standard menu of services. It’s a mark of how much life the company thinks is left in the old Internet standby.
“A lot of people think that e-mail marketing is dead,’’ said HubSpot marketing manager Jessica Meher, “but we think it still has a lot of power if it’s done right.’’
Laurie McCabe, an analyst with SMB Group, a market research firm based in Northborough, said that even though online marketers have flocked to such websites as Facebook and Twitter, those services can’t do it all. “The social networking sites are good for getting discovered,’’ she said, “but once potential customers have found you, e-mail marketing is a great way to stay in contact with them in a very targeted way.’’
HubSpot employs around 320 people in its headquarters on the outskirts of Kendall Square, and has raised $65.5 million in venture capital in the last six years, according to the website TechCrunch.
It coined the term “inbound marketing’’ to signal that its approach is different from traditional, “shotgun-style’’ marketing, in which commercial messages are pumped out into the air on radio and television. Instead, HubSpot posts client content on websites, blogs, Twitter, and other social media platforms, and then tracks the results with its proprietary software. Until Tuesday, HubSpot customers could get e-mail marketing only via a third-party partner.
A subscription to the company’s Web-based software starts at $2,400 a year. The company currently has about 6,800 business customers of all sizes.
HubSpot’s Meher said the company began to seriously consider adding e-mail marketing services last year after it purchased Cambridge start-up Performable, which had been developing analytical tools to measure the effectiveness of online campaigns. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Performable’s 18-person team moved over to HubSpot.
One of the team’s first projects, according to Meher, was to develop an e-mail marketing platform that was tightly integrated with the rest of HubSpot’s offerings. “We weren’t interested in e-mail marketing as a silo,’’ Meher said.
HubSpot is entering a field that is already crowded with providers such as Waltham-based Constant Contact Inc., although the SMB Group’s McCabe said the two companies will not be direct competitors. “HubSpot is a more comprehensive platform,’’ she said. “They are a full-fledged marketing automation firm. Although Constant Contact has added more social media features, it is more focused on e-mail marketing and on smaller companies.’’
Gail Goodman, chief executive of Constant Contact, wrote in an e-mail that there’s room for both companies. “Ours is a stand-alone e-mail marketing tool,’’ she wrote. “HubSpot’s isn’t stand-alone; it’s one piece of its full offering, and it’s priced accordingly.’’
Goodman added that she considered HubSpot’s new service “a great validation that e-mail marketing is not only still relevant, but it’s also still an incredibly important marketing tool for businesses of all sizes.’’D.C. Denison can be reached at email@example.com.