"I DIDN'T REALIZE JAMES BOND WAS A PROFESSOR HERE"

When aviator sunglasses and flared jeans were all the rage, two students with a passion for customer relationships, technology—and cars—had a chance meeting at a university in Belgium. Thierry, a technology visionary, and André, a business marketer, met by chance, admiring a mint green vintage Aston DB5 in a parking lot at the University of Mons.

"I didn’t realize James Bond was a professor here," André recalls Thierry saying. A friendship and a business partnership were born.

 
 

I. Getting started...

André and Thierry spent countless hours in a single room at André’s house, developing what was to be the core of Selligent’s software. They believed that the key to success was the ability to capture, manage and leverage customer data through software, because they knew marketers needed to be able to understand preferences and needs in order to sell to consumers more intelligently. They named their first Customer Relationship Management solution after their motto: Sell intelligent(ly).

 
 

II. The growth

From a two-man outfit, Thierry and André grew their company into a 90-person software vendor in the Benelux region within 10 years, boasting significant market penetration. During this time, they operated chiefly in Belgium, a stone’s throw from the European Union HQ, with distributors in nearby countries. Selligent acquired and absorbed specialist knowledge in data security and regulations, spearheading many improvements and becoming a sought-after voice in these fields within industry marketing/CRM associations.

Despite the success of their young company, the two founders recognized early on that the real challenge was to manage customer data—and use it to execute marketing campaigns.

 
 

III. Completing the vision

When Thierry and André met Jan Teerlinck and Ben Vloemans, founders of Optizen, a multichannel campaign management company, they recognized that, with this capability, Selligent could offer a comprehensive solution for customer acquisition and development. They could create one tool for the entire marketing eco-system, from data capture through content delivery and beyond.

The four joined forces and, together, they created the world’s first fully integrated multichannel campaign management platform.

In a market where it was the norm to rely on separate tools for each process and face complex integration challenges, data lag and significant expense, Selligent had a powerful message: one complete solution = less effort, less cost and greater impact. It was a message that resonated, and Selligent saw massive year-on-year growth.

 
 

IV. Europe, then the world

As the foremost data marketing experts in Benelux, the founders had their sights set on expansion. Their operations in France had already seen massive growth, as the company quickly won over large customers with complex data and marketing needs, such as the French national train company, SNCF.

Next up: Spain, Italy, UK and Germany, where Selligent was able to quickly win some big major clients: IKEA in Italy, the global publisher Hearst in the UK and WAZ Media Group in Germany.

 
 

V. The journey continues

The founders realized there was a huge disconnect between the large amounts of traffic driven to their customers’ websites (at significant cost) and the actual identified profiles that were being generated for use in lifecycle marketing.
They also realized that existing retargeting technology designed to match content to behavior—and thus to encourage registrations and generate profiles—was failing because it simply did not go far enough.

To truly fulfill its potential, retargeting had to be connected to CRM profile data. The marketing communication cycle needed to be extended into the multichannel sphere.

 
 

VI. Enter Selligent Target

Selligent’s latest innovation incorporates behavioral website data and connects it to CRM. It massively extends marketers’ reach to include the holy grail of anonymous, non-identified users, and it also makes this powerful blend of data actionable for multichannel campaigns.

This innovation makes Selligent the first Multichannel Campaign Management vendor to make behavorial data usable for CRM. Marketers now have a powerful new tool: they can use their website as a CRM channel.

With an industry-leading platform and a track record of innovation in Europe, the time is right to explore new territories.

 

So the founders looked across the Atlantic...

... which is where the next chapter of the Selligent story begins ...