How to Identify and Serve Your Niche

How to Identify and Serve Your Niche | Marc Heyneker | CEO Campfire Chat | The Sterling Woods Group

As a smart, ambitious business owner, it can be tempting to try to tackle every problem in your industry. You may be adept at identifying problems and designing solutions, but when you try to be everything to everyone, you struggle to gain real traction.

That’s why Marc Heyneker is so passionate about the importance of identifying and leaning into a niche. It’s what led him and his friend from high school to found Revinate, a SaaS business focused on the hospitality industry, over a decade ago.

The hospitality industry is huge and includes everything from global brands like Hyatt and Marriott to family-owned B&Bs in small towns across the globe. What Heyneker and his team quickly realized is that the Hyatts and mom-and-pop B&Bs are serving vastly different audiences and ultimately have different needs.

Hyatt needs to be able to track customers as they visit properties around the globe. It may need a flexible loyalty program that can be used across its various brands. A single B&B, on the other hand, needs to develop more reviews online to attract new business. It might need to beef up email marketing to ensure return stays.

No one piece of software is going to be able to deliver a best-in-class experience for businesses on either end of this spectrum. And that’s why Heyneker and the Revinate team carefully selected a niche before launching. They spent six months doing R&D, talking to customers and getting very clear on their problem Revinate wanted to solve.

In the end, Revinate decided to focus on mid-sized hotel groups, those with between a handful and a couple hundred properties, and higher-end boutique properties.

As a SaaS business, Heyneker hammers home the importance of the first 90 days after a sale. Any recurring revenue-based business must continually prove value to its customers or risk losing them at renewal time. For Revinate, Heyneker has found that the first three months are a critical time to prove value and boost guest experience and retention for its clients, otherwise, they tend to fall off and not return.

Heyneker also talks about the importance of developing personas within the niche market. Yes, Revinate aims to serve middle-market hotel brands, but toward which decision-maker within these hotels should Revinate direct its marketing and sales efforts?

CEOs or owners of hotel brands might be champions of a project to improve guest relations and return business, but the leader of the brand is rarely the one to make software purchasing decisions. Instead, Revinate focuses its content marketing efforts toward individuals in marketing and operations roles; they tend to be the buyers for a CRM product.

The message that came through loud and clear in this CEO Campfire Chat was the importance of knowing and understanding your audience. 

Revinate aims to help hotels better understand their guests so that they can continue to surprise and delight them on each and every stay. Revinate understands the middle-market niche within the world of hospitality. It knows how to talk to marketing and operations folks within that middle-market hospitality niche in a way that demonstrates the value of a product like Revinate’s SaaS offering.

Episode Transcript

Rob Ristagno: How do you find the right audience for your product or service? On this week’s CEO Campfire Chat, we talk with an entrepreneur who found a profitable niche in the big, wide world of hospitality. He shares his secrets to segmentation and wowing your ideal customer.

Announcer: This is the CEO Campfire Chat with your host, Rob Ristagno. Taped in front of a live studio audience, join us to hear successful growth stories for middle-market companies just like yours. Sponsored by the Sterling Woods Group.

Rob Ristagno: Welcome to the CEO Campfire Chat recorded live in front of a studio audience of senior executives. I’m your host Rob Ristagno, and today I have the privilege of introducing you to Marc Heyneker, the CEO and co-founder of Revinate, which is a SaaS company that developed a guest data platform that is used by hotels and other brands all around the world.

Rob Ristagno: Prior to starting Revinate back in 2009, Marc was a senior executive at the big 18-billion-dollar-company, Akamai Technologies. Marc, great to have you here, welcome.

Marc Heyneker: Hey Rob how are you? Hi everyone, nice to meet you.

Rob Ristagno: All right. Well let’s dive in, and congratulations by the way, for being in business over these last 12 years. Lots of ups and downs as you know. Before we dive in, tell us a little bit about the company.

Marc Heyneker: Sure. We started in 2009, we’ve been in business for just over 11 years. This last one was certainly the most exciting. Now, we serve the hospitality space and we have about 11,000 hotels worldwide. We are a vertically specialized B2B software-as-a-service business, is kind of how to think about what we do.

Marc Heyneker: We are the vertical CRM leader in our space. We help hotels with their customer data and then being able to activate it and use it for marketing automation and customer experience improvements.

Marc Heyneker: We got about 120 folks worldwide headquartered in San Francisco. Amsterdam is our European headquarters, and Singapore is our Asia headquarters. Just recently I guess we’re starting to see more and more folks moving virtually around the world to places they love and we’re trying to be supportive of that as well.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah, it’s kind of interesting to see people working from Tahoe, or working from Texas, or Florida or wherever.

Marc Heyneker: Yeah, for sure.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent. Well, tell us a little bit, let’s rewind the clock. How did you come up with this idea back in 2009?

Marc Heyneker: Yeah, my co-founder, fellow by the name of Jay Ashton, he and I went to boarding school together. We had known each other since, gosh, I was 15–so, up in New England–and we’d stayed in touch over the years. He was on the east coast and ended up running a software business that was serving hotels and helping hotels acquire customers online in the mid 2000s.

Marc Heyneker: Through that process, he kind of fell in love with serving the hotel industry, just a bunch of great folks. Really in the business of surprising and delighting all of us as travelers and creating great experiences. He really enjoyed serving this industry, but also realized that man, they were using some very antiquated technologies and there must be a way to bring modern softwares and service to this industry.

Marc Heyneker: We formed kind of an early thesis on what we could do and how we could help. Obviously solving pertinent and relevant customer problems was going to be the only way we would be able to get this off the ground, but we did have a bit of a vision and a bit of a thesis. That being that most industries have transformed to become customer centric. When they do so, they need customer centric systems, and data, and processes in order to be effective.

Marc Heyneker: What we found fascinating is here is one of the world’s largest industries and hospitality is all about serving the customer, but the core systems of a hotel were really inventory centric, room centric, property centric. I ask hotels still today, “Are you in the business of managing guests or in the business of managing rooms?” It’s a hard question for them to answer because, systems-wise, they’re really set up to manage people and the amount of rooms, but industry-wise and what they want to be in the business of is managing their customers and surprising and delighting.

Marc Heyneker: That was really the genesis for us. We said, “Hey, all the other industries seem to have already gone there. This industry will follow suit. We can build modern, beautiful, easy to use software that starts to solve some of the challenges and problems and gets them a core system and platform to help them become more customer centric.” That’s really what we’ve evolved into today as the guest data platform. Really bringing together CRM, marketing automation, and customer experience management on a single platform.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent and super powerful stuff. Here in 2021, we all see the value and know this is needed. Back 12 years ago, though, what was some early reaction from customers? They’re probably on some sort of mainframe system.

Marc Heyneker: It was actually a cool founding story because before we actually incorporated and said we were going to start the company, we spent a good six months, R&D-ing, and that was talking to customers of multiple sizes, various different titles and really just learning these businesses and trying to figure out, where’s their pain? Where does it hurt? Where is there opportunity to drive revenue? Where is there an opportunity to solve meaningful problems?

Marc Heyneker: I think that, for any aspiring entrepreneurs starting a business, not all problems are worth solving. Not all problems are problems that people are going to pay you for. I think in our experience over, gosh, the last 10 years is, we solved some really important problems early on with our first product that allowed us to kind of get to market. We got to about 35 folks. Profitable, growing, got a lot of customers early, but as we reached, kind of, gosh, I guess it was probably after year four, year five, we realized, hey, our first product, wasn’t going to be the end all, be all. It was the first step in a phase of different products that would ultimately get us to where we are today. Yeah, back over to you on any other questions related to that.

Rob Ristagno: Maybe a little bit about your founding team. I got a good feeling for where the customer base was at first. Kind of like this approach of understanding the pain points, find massive head wounds, or at least the things that people are willing to pay for, and then what you come out with, don’t expect your first product to nail everything and just get something out there though, and learn from it. To get this all done though. You need to build a team. How did you think about building your founding team?

Marc Heyneker: I was fortunate to have a co-founder. If I were to start another business, I would certainly seek out having a co-founder. It’s hard to do it completely on your own. Jay was really the technical product guy, had been an entrepreneur before, and I really came from the sales side. My background was running a division at Akamai Technologies. I was really the go-to-market guy and he was the product guy and together we were kind of the yin and yang founding team so to speak that brought the right kind of skills and lenses and capabilities.

Marc Heyneker: From there, since we were in the software business, we needed to make sure we hired an amazing VP of engineering. We did that early on. Then I think we had the wherewithal to find and hire an industry expert. Although Jay and I had started to get to know the industry, I think the devil’s in the details. We said, “Hey, we can’t really serve this industry with extremely sharp, hit the bulls-eye software that’s purpose built for them unless we have experts on staff that really know the intricacies of how things work and need to work within a hotel.” That was a pretty valuable hire.

Marc Heyneker: Kind of the four of us got started and for us, it wasn’t about building the perfect product because at that point we probably still wouldn’t have launched. The product is never done. Remember that.

Rob Ristagno: That’s right.

Marc Heyneker: The product is never done. There’s always more to build and so getting something out to market, getting customer feedback on it, making sure it’s hitting the mark to solve important, valuable problems that people are willing to pay for, that was the first three to six months of building our business. We were lucky to kind of hit the right mark with our products. We were solving important new problems with valuable software that they didn’t have before and that really–

Rob Ristagno: Yeah three to six months is fast actually to figure out at least something, at least your first iteration.

Marc Heyneker: Yeah we had six months of R&D before we started the company in July of 2009. Kind of, we were leading up and determining go/no-go, where are we going to fund this company and start it? And we did bootstrap it. So we put in our own money and so that was quite exciting, but that’s how we funded the business.

Marc Heyneker: Then I think July when we first incorporated as an LLC, and then gosh, in September, we had our V1 product out in market, and we ran the beta program, and with about 30 hotels and gave them free software for 90 days in exchange for a lot of feedback and tire kicking, and we would iterate on the product. Then there was kind of that moment in time where, “All right, guys, the 90 days are up. We’ve gotten a lot of value from your feedback and we’ve iterated on this thing. Are you guys ready to start paying us?” We had, I think 29 of 30 hotels convert and said–

Rob Ristagno: All right, I’ll take 97%.

Marc Heyneker: Now we’ve got 11,000 hotels. So pretty cool.

Audience Member: Wow.

Rob Ristagno: Nice. Congratulations.

Marc Heyneker: That was [crosstalk 00:10:15].

Rob Ristagno: Yeah. Well you talked us through how you thought about product development and solving a pain point, but now you have something it’s proven, it’s tested, 97% thumbs up rate. What about finding your target market? You have something. Hospitality’s the big, big segment, hotels within hospitality is a big segment. How do you think about slicing and dicing the market?

Marc Heyneker: Yeah. Our path and getting to where we are now, I would say we’re a lot sharper and more calculated. I think when you’re first starting a business, you’re just excited to sell it to anybody, frankly. That can be good or bad, but if I can kind of break it down into a few maybe useful phases for your audience here and for the team.

Marc Heyneker: We were lucky enough to be vertically focused out of the gate. Kind of, first and foremost, we’re like, “We’re going to serve hotels and hotels are all we’re going to do, and we’re going to, come hell or high water, build this for hotels.” Our belief is that vertically specialized software will always win out over horizontal software. When markets first start, they start as horizontal. Certainly in software, they start horizontal serving a lot of verticals and then eventually vertical specialized players come in and eat their lunch because the software’s been purpose-built for them.

Marc Heyneker: We were focused early on, but there’s a million hotels in the world. We’re like, “All right, out of these million hotels, where do we spend our time?” Early on, we spent our time in a lot of places and we didn’t really have any preconceived notions as to what segments of the market would be best for us. I would really boil it down to the enterprise, big brands. Call it the top 10, top 20 Marriotts, Hiltons, Hyatts of the world, IHG, Accor. Those are the big enterprises.

Marc Heyneker: Then you’ve got a lot of mid-market boutique-y brands. I like to say a lot of the hotels where I stay are kind of these 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 hotel brands and then three, four or five star hotels, top 100 urban markets, destination markets. Then there’s a lot of long tail hotels around the world that are bed and breakfasts, or campsites, or other variations of forms of accommodations.

Marc Heyneker: We pretty quickly honed in on kind of the mid-market being our sweet spot and we define that as hotel groups have kind of two to a few hundred and then individual hotels that were kind of three, four, or five star. Had certain attributes and amenities, over 50 rooms, more than a hundred dollar average cost per night. Some specific regional markets that we decided to serve versus not serve.

Rob Ristagno: What are some of your theories on why this was the sweet spot for you? What exactly were you delivering that that was perfect for this specific market?

Marc Heyneker: Well, what was interesting is that the way that we actually arrived at this being our sweet spot is we actually did serve the full enterprise, and the mid market, and the long tail SNB side of the equation. What we just realized was like, “Hey, over time, the products are going to be very specialized for these different segments. So we kind of need to pick. We can’t serve every market with the perfect solution,” and what mid-market needed versus enterprise versus SMB was just those are different businesses.

Marc Heyneker: Then we kind of quickly realized like, look from a profitability perspective, from a stickiness perspective, from a customer emotion, customer success, customer value perspective, we just felt that as we continually analyzed our customer base, who are the customers that were gaining the most value where the market was sizeable, where we could just go win that part of the market?

Marc Heyneker: We can probably speak a little bit about this later on in the podcast, but winning a segment of the market and really dominating it, I think is the right formula to building a big business. Rather than saying, “Hey, I’m going to go after a huge market and then just try to get a little bit of every part of that market.” I think you end up with a much messier business and a harder one to scale that’s a lot more complex if you don’t kind of pick your path and then try to just dominate and win it.

Rob Ristagno: Yeah. Well, I think you nailed it too. It’s also the product too. If different parts of the segment need different products, it gets very complicated, really fast. If you try to solve too many different markets with the same product, you’re not going to have that fit.

Marc Heyneker: That’s right.

Rob Ristagno: Maybe I’ll open it up to the audience while we’re on this theme here of figuring out what markets to pick. Any shared experience, questions, or case studies for Marc to reply on.

Audience Member: I have a question Marc about how a new customer can tell that they’re happy that they’re using your product? What are the metrics? Is it repeat customers, profitability, et cetera?

Marc Heyneker: Yeah, it’s a good question. In the early days we were in the reputation management business and survey business, and then we evolved into CRM and marketing, which really started to move us towards driving revenue for customers. Today a great measure is can we get them to revenue early and often? Can we unlock the value of their data and start driving direct measurable revenue performance that more than pays for our service?

Marc Heyneker: That’s a good place to be. I think anytime you can drive revenue and prove it, that’s a good business. That’s a good business. It’s defendable. You can charge for that. You can probably charge more for that over time as you get better at it.

Marc Heyneker: In our industry, if you’re not tied to revenue and you can’t show the impact of revenue, well, then it really comes down to how tangible is that value and what’s the expense. Does that cost benefit equation work? Hotels are pretty fickle. Hotels run a pretty tight ship when it comes to technology, investing, and just overall expenses.

Marc Heyneker: We really found the sweet spot for building a really large successful business was shifting from, call it operational efficiency improvements, and some other things that were valuable, to revenue and impacting revenue was a breakthrough for us.

Marc Heyneker: A few other comments I would make is, I’m a big believer in the first 90 day experience. A first 90 days with any new vendor or partner, it’s got to be a wow. I think you fall in love with a vendor or you never talk to them again, or it was a failure and you know that pretty quickly.

Marc Heyneker: If you don’t get a customer to value early and often, and then make sure and measure after those first 90 days, “Hey, have you had a wow experience with us? And if not, tell us so that we can fix it.” Because if you haven’t engaged them in that way and validated that they’ve seen value in that they’re thrilled with your service, they’re probably at risk and they may not become a repeat customer. They may not refer you or they may not expand their services with you. That’s kind of one of the things that we look closely at.

Marc Heyneker: Churn and net retention and win rate percentage are some other metrics that we look closely at. I think the one other thing would be don’t underestimate pricing and packaging. If I could go back and do anything again, it would be a lot more, call it strategic and thoughtful and plan over a longer range what our pricing and packaging would evolve into.

Marc Heyneker: I think we’ve built a ton of amazing software that’s really valuable. I wouldn’t say that we are fully monetizing all of it in the best way yet and so in a way there’s a price that we’re paying because we’ve built a lot and invested a lot, but we’re not fully capturing our full value yet. I think the sooner you can optimize pricing and packaging, the better.

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Audience Member: Marc, what were the first three or four projects that could jump into to solve what kinds of problems? Was it repeat customers, was it quality of the experience? What were the two or three things that you used to build your foundation on?

Marc Heyneker: It’s a great question. When we first got started and then realized, hey, we have a real business, it comes back to that early moment in time where we had to kind of get people on our platform and using it and kind of hold our breaths, but really closely engage with that customer and iterate on the products. Until we knew that we were solving really valuable problems and where the majority of customers were going to pay for it. That was really the go/no-go of the business.

Marc Heyneker: Once we knew we had that, it gave us confidence frankly, to put in more money and invest further into the business. Then being in the software as a service business, you have a subscription licensed business, and you count on renewing your customers, and expanding your customers, and selling them more services over time.

Marc Heyneker: Pretty quickly, once you kind of get your legs under you to be able to win a new customer or launch a new customer, then you get into needing to properly service and retain them and grow them over time and make sure that you don’t end up with a leaky bucket out the backside. That’s a tough situation if you end up building something that’s great, but all of a sudden you’re finding out that 10 or 20 or 30% of your customers are leaving you out the back end. Your business will eventually plateau and it will be much harder to grow.

Marc Heyneker: The earlier you can, while you’re small, really kind of work on what are those things that ensure that you don’t end up with a leaky bucket or churning of customers, or churning of dollars out the backside the better because that will save you a lot of call it, pain, and heartburn, and money downstream if that turns out to be a problem later at scale.

Audience Member: Hey Marc, do you overlay your software on top of their existing customer data platform? Or do you go in and create the whole new package for them and so everything is your product?

Marc Heyneker: Also a good question. What’s interesting is this is a pervasive problem in almost every industry. Customer data lives in so many systems, in so many siloed places. In our world, and by the way, you see CDPs or customer data platforms, emerging and solving those problems in almost every industry and segment as we speak. It’s kind of the next wave of CRM is CDP. We’re kind of a vertically specialized CDP.

Marc Heyneker: In our world, customer data lives in the property management system. It can live on social media. It can live across review sites and survey platforms. There’s dozens of, call it, systems and repositories and places where customer data lives and that needs to get unlocked, and extracted, and unified, and secured, and protected, and managed, and then activated so that you can use it to power revenue and experience. There’s a lot of stuff there.

Marc Heyneker: Yeah, we are basically pulling data from a lot of places. Some of those repositories are our own systems. Some of them are third-party systems, but the magic kind of happens when we unify that data and get a clean 360 degree view of the customer. Kind of an accurate view, stitching all the parts together so that then we can enable the right levels of service for that customer.

Audience Member: Then your product, you pull data in from all kinds of various sources, and then you have one kind of centralized view of all of the assimilated data is that how it works?

Marc Heyneker: That’s right. Yep. That’s correct. We create, call it, rich guest profiles of guests on behalf of our hotels so that they can better serve their customers.

Audience Member: Very cool.

Audience Member: I wanted to go in a different direction. At the beginning you were saying, some problems aren’t worth solving. They don’t get solved, others do. So you’re here solving a problem. I wonder just how do you look at the competitive landscape. If you can do this, others can too. How do you analyze that and kind of keep your edge and differentiate like leading with what your edge is? How do you do that?

Marc Heyneker: Yeah. I would say the competitive landscape for us, at least in the software world, this may or may not translate to some of your worlds, but I’ll start by saying vertical will beat horizontal. Eventually vertical specialized solutions get good enough where horizontal solutions can’t really compete.

Marc Heyneker: We are kind of well past that point now. Where usually when we’re talking to customers or trying to win a deal, our vertical solution is so purpose-built for their business, that it’s kind of everything they want and they don’t have to custom configure stuff.

Marc Heyneker: Then beyond that, we do compete with some other, call it vertically-oriented, folks. For us, it’s keeping the team focused on customer value. We are in the business of making hotels money with their data. We’re really good at it and every day we wake up and think about how can we get even better at it. If we can show a hotel, “Hey, you’re making 10x, or 20x, or 50x, or 100x, what you’re investing in our platform. Meanwhile, better able to service your guests,” that’s a pretty sticky place to be.

Marc Heyneker: Then of course, as it relates to once we have a customer, the more services they use, the more data we have, the more revenue we can make them. The more, call it sticky, we know our platform is. So we look a lot at engagement statistics for how engaged our customers and using our platform and kind of are they doing all the kind of main things we would like them to do to help themselves? I guess that’s how I would think about it.

Marc Heyneker: Beating the competition is an important concept we can touch on. I would just say, pick your part of the market that you want to serve and then plan to really win it. Understand what it takes to win it and then win it. You’re better off with winning 70, 80, 90% of one segment of the market and just really nailing it. Rather than winning 10 or 20% of five different segments of a market because you’re just going to create so much complexity.

Marc Heyneker: I think complexity can really kill you. I’m 11 years into building this business. If I could go back, I would say, “Man, if you have too many products, and you serve too many markets, and you serve too many customer segments, that’s like playing 3-D chess. It’s really hard. The simpler you can keep it, the more focused you can keep it. There’s market opportunity everywhere. There’s thousands of ideas that can launch new businesses every day. It’s about being very focused on which is the best one, why, and is that going to be sustainable? And can you carve out a nice, sustainable market for yourself? Once you do, and once you get to a certain scale, sure, you can look at other markets and adjacent markets and other product lines, but plan well and pick well early will save you a lot of pain and grief and complexity downstream.”

Rob Ristagno: I like it. Plan well, early. I like it.

Audience Member: Marc sort of a flip side on the data question. With 11,000 customers, you must have millions of data points, and I’m just curious if you have thought about, or been able to somehow monetize all that data in an aggregated way, either back to your own customers, or to industry folks or others? Or is that one of those diversions that you’re trying to avoid?

Marc Heyneker: No, I think that’s actually a smart strategy. We can’t use call it, user specific data, but we can look at a lot of trend data. We’ve got a ton of data. Ton of data from review sites and surveys and all sorts of systems.

Marc Heyneker: Using that in the right way to share, call it, trends, what’s happening in the industry, what we’re seeing, where things are going, that’s quite powerful. We’ll use kind of data trending and analysis, a team that kind of does that to help produce, call it, industry reports.

Marc Heyneker: If you go into Revinate or you’re part of our email database and you’ve opted in, then you’re getting call it, regular reports and trends, on what we see in the industry. That’s quite, quite nice because it builds our brand and our credibility and we’re sharing data and analysis that nobody else can otherwise easily get. Unless you’ve got kind of the data and the synthesis and analysis capabilities that we have. That’s quite powerful.

Marc Heyneker: I’m a big believer in content marketing. If you can produce compelling content for your target customer, I think people like to buy that way. We can all research any product online and we’re pretty picky about what we choose to allow to land in our inbox. Oftentimes, when we get interested in a company or a product, sometimes it’s through our own research or some times it’s through a friend or through word of mouth.

Marc Heyneker: From my perspective, I think content and marketing done well, purpose-created for the right audience member you’re trying to reach is certainly one of the core strategies of how we drive our top of funnel marketing and find qualified leads. When people engage with a lot of our content and we can see what they’ve opened and what they’ve read, it gives us an indicator of what they’re interested in. When the time is right, they switch over from being a browser to a possible buyer and then we engage our sales team.

Rob Ristagno: Actually that got me thinking, Marc, you’ve talked a lot, you’ve nailed the segmentation in terms of what I would call firmographic segmentation.

Rob Ristagno: What about the actual buyer? I think that’s where your content marketing probably comes in. You’re probably writing about specific pain points, or specific passions, or specific things that these people are… Who is your buyer? What do they really want? What are some of the things that you’re tapping into? How do you think about segmentation along that dimension?

Marc Heyneker: That’s good. I would frame it up that we’ve got call it, personas, that span a few different buckets. I would call it executive personas, business personas, and technical personas. The, call it executive personas, would be the CEO, the owner, the COO, the presidents. Those are the types of folks and they care about specific things. They’re caring about the bottom line and the net operating income, and how many hotels they’re going to build next year and what the next brand is going to be.

Marc Heyneker: I think it’s just like speaking their language and tailoring our products to their needs and what they care about. Great, yeah, our products will directly impact their net operating income because they can acquire customers much better directly. That resonates with a CEO, but if I’m talking to a CTO or a chief data officer or a chief security officer, my pitch and my content changes. I’ll talk about, “Hey, data’s their biggest opportunity and liability.”

Marc Heyneker: There’s millions of dollars on the line on all sides of that and as a chief technical executive they’re in the business of making sure they get the right systems and protect their data. So that they can both monetize data as well as protect it and mitigate any kind of liability on the downside and maximize their opportunity on the upside. Obviously they want to know that they’re dealing with a bulletproof system.

Marc Heyneker: Those are the kinds of things that would be front and center on how we would market and communicate to them. Our main customer is probably the chief marketing officer, VP of marketing, VP of revenue management. Our system’s pretty powerful. It helps hotels market to their customers and drive satisfaction and loyalty. There’s a whole talk track for those folks that they understand very clearly and squarely.

Marc Heyneker: Usually they turn out to be our buyers and some of the other folks turn out to be stakeholders and influencers. On occasion, an owner will be a buyer or a CIO will be a buyer, but usually marketing and operations folks are the ones that we’re talking to that have the business problems and that have the budget to solve those problems.

Rob Ristagno: Excellent. Well, Marc, I really admire how you’ve thought very methodically about your market, and where to target, and who to target, and how to target them. You made it sound easy. I’m sure it was a lot of hard work, but congratulations. This has been so helpful. What could we do to help you out?

Marc Heyneker: Just as soon as you’re comfortable, go support your favorite hotels. Go travel. I’m sure everybody’s pent up and ready to do that anyway, but yeah. Just go support your hotels would be supporting Revinate. Look, if they happen to be interested in our services or any hoteliers Rob, you’ve got my name and number and be happy to connect with any hotel that we can help right now because a lot of them need help speaking to their customers and acquiring customers more profitably from the segments that matter.

Marc Heyneker: Yeah. Other than that, this has been a lot of fun. I really appreciate everybody’s time and thoughtful questions and hopefully it was some useful feedback.

Rob Ristagno: Absolutely. Absolutely. Thanks again. That’s Marc Heyneker. The CEO and co-founder of Revinate and that concludes this week’s Campfire Chat. I’m Rob Ristagno. To listen to more episodes, sign up for bonus content, or take a two minute growth assessment, visit us at See you next time around the fire.

Rob Ristagno: Like trees in a forest, your organization’s revenue problems can keep you from seeing a way out even when the way out is right in front of you. Our data-driven solutions deliver the shortest, fastest route to increased sales and lower marketing costs. The trick is in knowing how to find and use the data you already have to reveal, test, and implement remedies in a matter of months, not years. When you can see the forest and the trees, everything improves. To learn more about our approach, head to