Why Asana is diving deep into industry verticals

11 Mar 2019

Dave King. Image: Asana

Asana’s recent move into productivity for marketing and creative teams is just the start, chief marketing officer Dave King tells John Kennedy.

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s productivity platform start-up Asana is going from strength to strength and the company is on target to reach 100 people in Dublin within the next year.

Asana recently reported passing the 50,000th paying customer milestone, up from 20,000 a year-and-a-half earlier, and has now hit more than 60,000 paying customers in addition to more than 1m free businesses. It was recently valued at $1.5bn after raising $50m in a Series E round led by Al Gore’s sustainable investment firm, Generation. Other investors in Asana include Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

‘Our new features and integrations streamline the entire creative process’

Future Human

Not only that but the work management software company is bringing in the customers, with more than half of the company’s growth in EMEA, where customers include Tesco, Sky News and Vodafone.

“Last year was a breakout year for Asana,” said chief marketing officer Dave King. “We achieved eight consecutive quarters of accelerating growth rate, passed $100m in annual recurring revenue and closed our Series E funding round at a valuation of $1.5bn. We now have over 60,000 paying organisations and millions of customers around the world who run on Asana everyday. To support this growth, we’re hiring across all of our global offices, including our EMEA HQ in Dublin.”

Removing the pain points

In recent weeks Asana revealed one of its most ambitious moves yet – a move into specific industry verticals. This is beginning with a new product, Asana for Marketing and Creative Teams, which is billed as an end-to-end solution for teams to manage their entire marketing and design process from start to finish.

“This year we’re going deeper on solutions and verticals, and we see marketing and creative teams as one of the biggest opportunities for work management adoption, given the highly collaborative nature of campaigns and projects. In our always-on digital era, companies are asking their marketing and creative teams to create always-on campaigns.

“That means they need to create more content for more channels than ever before, without additional resources. As a result, today’s top marketing teams recognise that optimising their process has an even more profound impact than optimising their marketing channels.

“To address this challenge, today we’re launching Asana for Marketing and Creative Teams … We see a huge opportunity to help these teams and are doubling down on delivering a solution unlike anything in the market today,” said King.

King explained that while other departments and industries have centralised software tools to manage their process, marketing is still largely run on spreadsheets and in email. According to the Content Marketing Institute, more than one-quarter of marketing teams report persistent bottlenecks in campaign development.

“Given the cross-functional, highly collaborative nature of marketing campaigns, this is a universal pain point, particularly for global marketing teams,” King said.

“Asana for Marketing and Creative Teams serves as a single source of truth for companies to set marketing team objectives, coordinate global marketing campaigns and manage the entire creative production process – from initial brief to final asset delivery.

“In order to deliver always-on campaigns, marketing teams need to eliminate bottlenecks and busy work. With Portfolios, teams can see how work is progressing in real time so people can quickly identify and remove bottlenecks. It also eliminates the need for wasteful status meetings.

“Conversely, creatives often receive content creation requests in emails, spreadsheets or, shockingly, even calendar appointments. Our new features and integrations streamline the entire creative process, starting with Forms for creative requests and briefs, and an Adobe Creative Cloud integration which allows designers to receive tasks and share assets. In addition, Proofing makes feedback visual and trackable, and Approvals takes the ambiguity out of the approvals process.

“We’re also partnering with the tools creatives love most – including Litmus, Slack and Dropbox – to ensure that wherever the creative work is happening, Asana is there,” King said.

Doubling down in Dublin

Asana’s likely rise in the next year or two will be something to watch and it’s worth noting that the company’s Dublin office will be at the heart of EMEA growth.

Asana recently moved the Dublin team into a new office at Three Park Place. According to Robbie O’Connor, head of EMEA sales at Asana, the push into verticals will drive the increase in headcount in Dublin.

“Asana for Marketing and Creative Teams is a result of our strategic focus on the evolving needs of our global customers, and the challenges we see for the marketing industry as a whole. As Dave mentioned, we now have more than 60,000 paying organisations, many of whom are based in EMEA, including Spotify, Viessmann, Tesco and the National Gallery.

“To meet the demands of our growing customer base in EMEA, we’re doubling down on our hiring goals for our Dublin office this year. We ended last year with over 40 team members in our EMEA HQ, and this year we plan to more than double our talented team,” O’Connor concluded. “As such, we’re forecasted to grow our Dublin team to 100 by early next year.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years