The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

DURHAM, N.C. – The mascot of Bronto Software – a green with black stripes bronto – is everywhere from logos to marketing and photos of inflatable brontos all over the firm’s offices. There’s even a “Bronto Nation” of fans and followers.

However, as loved as the name is it belies the company’s performance.

Launched in 2002, Bronto is big and growing bigger, yes, but it’s not slow and hardly in danger of extinction in an fast-evolving business as the company’s annual conference this week will demonstrate.

Joe Colopy, the email marketing and services firm’s chief executive officer and founder, as well as his management team will showcase Bronto’s wares and talk about the future with its growing client base at the annual Bronto Summit in Chapel Hill.

Some facts Colopy will share:

  • Employee headcount surged 40 percent in 2011 to 125
  • Another 30 percent increase in hiring is forecast this year
  • Revenues surged 54 percent in 2011
  • Another increase of between 30 and 40 percent is expected this year
  • The company recently opened at office in London to support a growing European customer base
  • Bursting at the seams at The American Tobacco Historic District, Bronto is adding 5,000 square feet of office space to its existing 22,000 square feet in July

(By the way, Bronto continues to grow organically, not taking outside investment, he adds.)

The Skinny asked Colopy to talk about what’s going on with his company, the challenges and opportunities Bronto faces, and about the conference next week.

What is the mission of the conference?

The Bronto Summit is Bronto Software’s annual user conference. The mission of the conference is twofold.

First, it is to provide thought leadership and best practices for leaders in commerce marketing companies.

Second, it is to strengthen the sense of community we are building with among our customers and to share the latest company and product news and information.

Why should executives attend?

The main reason executives should attend is that they will come away with strategies and actionable tactics that will help them drive more revenue through online marketing at their companies. Secondly, it is a great chance for them to network with other marketing leaders.

What are the emerging trends to be discussed and why?

Bronto’s main purpose is to help its customers drive revenue through email and cross-channel marketing. So, all of the emerging trends to be discussed have this as the ultimate reason. Each of these is a factor that contributes to the optimization of companies’ marketing

  • The sending of more targeted, relevant marketing communications to subscribers and some of the methods for accomplishing this
  • Behavioral-based marketing
  • Geo-targeted marketing
  • Marketing via mobile devices

What are lingering and emerging problems for the industry and why?

  • Gaining the attention of consumers whose attention is increasingly fragmented. This is an issue that gets more and more challenging due to the prevelance of smartphones and tablets along with a wide array of communications, apps, and other things that take attention.
  • Deliverability: With frequent changes from the main internet service providers and consumer email giants, it is challenging for marketers to keep up.
  • Balancing the benefits of personal, relevant marketing with perceived and real privacy issues: Privacy issues have been around for a while, but lately the discussion has gained momentum and there is a lot at stake both for consumers and for the brands who want to provide information and offers to them.

One could forgive Bronto Nation for sharing something else at the conference – a roar of success.