New Emarsys CEO sees continued local growth ahead for software firm

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Marketing tech company Emarsys, which has its North American headquarters in Indianapolis, has seen 10% customer growth over the past year—and its new Indianapolis-based CEO Joanna Milliken says she expects that growth to continue as demand intensifies.

“We have experienced significant year-over-year growth. It’s fairly well in line with what we see in the overall industry,” Milliken said. “Brands are trying to connect with their customers like never before.”

Emarsys (the name is a shortened version of “email marketing systems”) offers a platform for marketers to run and analyze their marketing efforts. Its focus is on the retail industry, and the company has about 1,650 global customers including Tupperware, Samsonite, Puma, Nike, and Rawlings, among others.

Emarsys is based in Vienna, Austria and has nearly 700 employees worldwide, including 150 in the Indianapolis area. As the company’s new CEO, Milliken will oversee the company’s global operations.

Milliken, 50, starts her new role as CEO Friday, succeeding previous CEO Ohad Hecht. She previously worked as the head of customer experience marketing for SAP, the German-based company that acquired Emarsys a year ago.

She said the SAP connection has helped fuel Emarsys’ growth in multiple ways.

For one thing, it gives Emarsys access to more growth resources. “It means we have deeper pockets, really, to make investments across the board.”

Being associated with a much larger company has also helped Emarsys in its continuing efforts to attract talent, Milliken believes. “It just brings more credibility.”

The company currently has more than 50 open positions posted on its website, including several Indianapolis-based jobs.

SAP has more than 103,000 employees around the world, and in 2020 its annual revenues were 27.34 billion Euros, or $31.66. (The company is publicly traded but does not report Emarsys’ revenues separately since they are not large enough to be material to SAP)

The setup also puts Emarsys in the position of being small enough to operate nimbly, she said, while also having access to the resources of a global giant.

Milliken has a long history in Indianapolis’ technology scene. In 2001, she joined ExactTarget as the company’s first non-founder employee. She was hired there to build the company’s inside sales department, but because the company was so small at the time she also handled things like making cold calls, training and other functions.

Milliken had ascended to the role of director of email products when she left ExactTarget about a year after it was acquired by Salesforce in 2013. She returned to the company in 2016 and earned several additional promotions. She was senior vice president of product management for Salesforce’s marketing cloud when she left the company last year for SAP, shortly before its Emarsys acquisition.

Outside of Emarsys and SAP, Milliken is also an investor in local businesses. She’s a 20% owner in Milktooth, the renowned Fletcher Place restaurant launched by chef Jonathan Brooks. She’s also an investor in Indianapolis-based startup Away Zones Inc., whose Victor app helps connect consumers with reputable local businesses owned by members of under-represented communities.

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