Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Wufoo Marketing Technology Platform Interview with Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell is co-founder of the widely successful on-line forms builder –Wufoo. Recently acquired by survey monkey, Wufoo is a technology platform used by digital marketers to capture all sorts of information from various Internet properties.

We caught up with Wufoo, prior to the acquisition to get their perspective on marketing technology platforms. Like previous interviews with Scott Brinker (Liveball) and Oli Garner (Unbounce), Chris echoed the “not so secret ingredients” to building successful marketing technology platforms: simplicity and openness. These core platform principles feature very highly in the Wufoo customer experience. In doing so, Wufoo have all but removed technology as a barrier for their clients building online forms. Chris, you have floor…

Chris Campbell, Co-founder, Wufoo:

Wufoo is an information collection platform (love that concept). What do you consider to be the essential characteristics of a (marketing) technology platform (e.g. integration, user experience, data aggregation, others..)?

Two areas we’ve always tried to focus on are ease of use and openness. I think it’s easy to forget that a lot of marketers are not technology experts and they don’t want to deal with complicated software. They want a product where they are in control and they don’t want to have to rely on programmers or a technology team to get their applications up and running. They want to quickly create and iterate their products in days instead of months.

Openness matters because marketers no longer want to pay a ton of money for a single piece of bloated software. They want to pick and choose the software that’s relevant to their business needs, and they don’t want to break the bank. Since they’re going to be using multiple applications, those applications need to play nice with one another. By making an open API, integrating with other software, and allowing data to be exported, you’ll set yourself up to be part of a group of interconnecting software rather than an isolated piece of bloatware.

I’d recommend taking a look at the Small Business Web (http://www.thesmallbusinessweb.com/) if you’re interested in finding a wide range of web applications with a focus on openness.

Two areas we’ve always tried to focus on are ease of use and openness. I think it’s easy to forget that a lot of marketers are not technology experts and they don’t want to deal with complicated software.

Can you give us some interesting stats (e.g. users, forms created/submitted daily, online payment transactions, clients, etc.) that communicate the scope, size, use, and reach of the Wufoo information collection platform?

Wufoo has over 500,000 users, processes over 3,000,000 submissions a month, is used in almost every vertical that you can imagine, and has helped businesses collect over $100,000,000 in online payments.

Just about every marketing technology has their own custom online forms builder. What makes Wufoo different and what steps are you taking to making Wufoo the defacto standard for information collection?

While a lot of technology has their own form builder, their primary focus is not form building. Their primary focus is usually what happens to the data after is submitted through a form. And while those forms may or not be ideal for their customers, they usually aren’t ideal for the average person who is looking to collect data online. For example, if you want to use a feature rich CRM, then you may be inclined to use a service like Salesforce. But while Salesforce has a form builder, you probably aren’t going to use them to put up a simple contact form, survey, or lead generation form on your website.

Wufoo has spent years on making an easy to use and very flexible form building software. Our focus for the last 5 years has been on making data easy to collect, analyze, and export. We’re never going to be an all in one solution for all of your marketing needs, but we are going to be an amazing solution for the task of collecting information online. Whether or not you need a simple contact form or if you need logic, branching, and payment processing, Wufoo is there for you. And if you want to do more with your information after Wufoo collects it, we allow you to automatically sync your data with other products like Salesforce, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, Highrise, Freshbooks, and other third party applications.

Our focus for the last 5 years has been on making data easy to collect, analyze, and export. We’re never going to be an all in one solution for all of your marketing needs, but we are going to be an amazing solution for the task of collecting information online.

What are the typical marketing based scenarios that your clients are using Wufoo to plan, execute and monitor their digital campaigns?

It’s hard to describe a “typical” user, since Wufoo is extremely flexible and everybody’s needs are a little different, but one example would be a customer that uses Wufoo to handle payments for a donation or event, then uses rules to make sure the appropriate department is notified after a registrant signs up, and then sends the registrant’s email to a third party, like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp so they can be added to an email campaign in real time. There are a couple of great posts on how some marketers use a variety of Wufoo’s features for their marketing campaigns at:

If you could improve one thing in the platform what would it be and why?

One thing we’d really like to do is make it even easier to get Wufoo forms into people’s websites. We currently provide a snippet of code that can be copied and pasted into a website, and while the process isn’t very complicated, we think we can make it even easier to embed forms into a website. So if you’re using a platform like Yola, Wix, or Squarespace, we want to make it so you don’t even have to leave that site in order to get simple Wufoo forms embedded.

Do you have a favourite marketing technology platform?

We’re in love with Dropbox right now, and we’ve recently been using it quite a lot for communication both internally and externally. We use it to store and share internal documents like to-do lists, advertising kits, press releases, sales figures, and other key documents that are available to the entire company. We’ve also started using it to communicate with third parties for marketing materials like share slides, contracts, videos and other files used to conduct day to day business.

Wrap Up

Thanks Chris. After playing with Wufoo, we’ve been pushing CMS vendors not to re-invent the form builder wheel. It’s great to see Wufoo pushing for simplicity and openness in the technology platform. Well done and good luck at Survey Monkey.

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About Cleve Gibbon



I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide where we are passionate about digital content.

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This year I plan attend a number of events. Hopefully I'll see you there. I'm easy to find as I'm always laughing. Find out more about me and get in touch!