Unica: Grow Slow, Aim High
Updated · Feb 11, 2002
A decade after its founding, Unica, a Lincoln, Mass., maker of marketing software, is opening its first overseas offices to
serve existing customers and win new ones.
The facilities, located in London and Singapore, are jumping off points for Europe and Asia-Pacific, respectively. The openings also send a shot across the bow of
larger competitors Epiphany
and Siebel Systems
“We approached our international expansion with a clear understanding of market requirements and a team of professionals with local experience in several
disciplines,” said Yuchun Lee, Unica’s CEO.
To be sure, the new facilities, like Unica’s overall strategy, have been carefully considered, and come after the firm forged partnerships with established companies in
Lee and two colleagues boot-strapped the company in 1992, which first produced data mining software. Three years later, Unica took elements of its original
product and added tools that help analyze and manage customer interactions, be it through direct mail, call centers, or personalized Web site features.
It also raised two rounds of venture capital totaling $12 million, grown to 110 employees. And here’s something few software firms can say — Unica is profitable and
has never had a layoff. In addition, voluntary turnover is less than 4 percent.
But this measured approach shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of ambition.
“At some point we do hope to do a public offering,” said Carol Meyers, Unica’s vice president of marketing. “Primarily to increase our visibility. Our goal is
to be a billion software company.”
Despite the size difference between Unica and its rivals, Meyers believes Unica’s product is more open and easily integrated into its customers’ IT systems. She also cites
research that the overall market is growing.
“Technology to support the marketing process is becoming a higher priority for many companies,” said Garenth Herschel, of Gartner. “Companies
throughout Europe, Asia, and North America are demanding greater ROI from smaller marketing budgets, while customers expect more personalized service and
data protection laws require carefully planned and targeted campaigns.”
And though it has taken 10 years for Unica to open international offices, it will likely move more quickly into its next market, which could be Latin America, Meyers