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the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, and the Northeast, so its sales staff can be closer to where more healthcare customers are located, Shahani says. Many healthcare companies today use software programs from Oracle or Salesforce.com to manage sales contacts. They purchase all sorts of proprietary data on individual doctors’ prescribing habits from vendors like IMS Health, and also get data on interactive marketing from Unica (now part of IBM). But few have an ability to roll sales, marketing, and industry data together in a program like Appature’s, Shahani says.
There’s plenty of money in healthcare marketing, but it’s still a bit nebulous how big the niche is for healthcare marketing software. Healthcare companies spend an estimated $200 billion a year on marketing—on everything from flashy pens, trade shows, and print ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association. About $3 billion to $4 billion is spent, across industries, on marketing software, Shahani says. Much of what’s driving growth in marketing software for healthcare, like in other industries, is a desire to better measure and quantify which marketing dollars are generating the most bang for the buck.
Ultimately it was the size of the opportunity, and the team at Appature working to carry out their plan, that Koester says helped persuade him to take the startup plunge himself.
“I see this as a group that really can build a $100 million business,” Koester says. “They have validators in their venture investors, and some premier customers. That’s where it started to become obvious to me. When you add me and the skill set I bring, I have a chance to help affect that. It was exciting to me. It’s one of those companies with a big potential market, a lead in a sector within the market, and the right people assembled to tackle it.”
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