Your locally owned toy store probably uses it, as does the neighborhood bakery, yoga studio, and hardware store. As a leading online marketing platform for small organizations, chances are the local businesses you frequent as part of your daily routine rely on Constant Contact to stay connected with their customers. 

Constant Contact, an Endurance International Group company and a leader in email marketing since 1995, provides hundreds of thousands of small businesses around the world with the online marketing tools, resources, and personalized coaching they need to grow their business. 

The company is committed to making digital marketing easy and effective for non-technical business owners and their staff. That commitment is reflected not only in the experience its customers have with its software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, but in the “you don’t have to do it alone” customer service approach that promises to always be there for customers, with real people—educators, experts, and coaches—who are ready to help. 

Finding root causes fast 

The promise of “always being there” applies to the software as well. “Our customers are small business owners with little time and even less technical knowledge. They expect our products to be available, easy to use, and free of errors,” says Adam Gelinas, advisory software engineer at Constant Contact. 

Constant Contact chose New Relic to gain the end-to-end visibility it needed to maintain the reliability, availability, and performance its customers expect. “Without New Relic, we would be blind to the impact of production issues on our customers,” says Gelinas. “Our engineering and operations teams rely on New Relic APM, New Relic Browser, and New Relic Insights to monitor and track performance, customer experience, and business success across hundreds of applications, servers, and user interfaces.” 

The data provided by New Relic provides the DevOps organization with the visibility needed for quick and efficient resolution of incidents. It also provides product owners, customer support, and other business stakeholders with actionable insight into key performance indicators (KPIs) that impact their business functions.

Getting insight into the customer experience

New Relic Browser gives Constant Contact deep visibility into browser-side applications and customer experience. The team uses it to get insight into issues such as JavaScript errors and bottlenecks as well as gain a better perspective of what customers experience when they are interacting with applications day to day. 

Constant Contact makes extensive use of the custom attributes feature in New Relic Browser and New Relic APM. This powerful capability enables the organization to monitor attributes specific to its use case, including remote IP address, browser type, current product build per transaction, and more. “With custom attributes in New Relic, we can monitor at a very granular, targeted level, allowing us to troubleshoot much more effectively,” says Gelinas. 

“With custom attributes in New Relic, we can monitor at a very granular, targeted level, allowing us to troubleshoot much more effectively.” 

Adam Gelinas Advisory Software Engineer, Constant Contact

The error profiles capability in New Relic APM helps Constant Contact quickly identify what is unusual about an error or set of errors, helping to speed incident resolution time. “The error profiles feature streamlines my process for troubleshooting, which saves me time. I routinely switch the grouping of errors so that I can easily see patterns in the attributes we are tracking,” says Gelinas.

Democratizing data across the business

While the technical side of the house uses New Relic Insights to organize and visualize the data collected by New Relic APM and New Relic Browser and share that data with others, the business side of the house is starting to take advantage of interactive custom dashboards as well. 

Looking over the shoulder of engineers, business stakeholders realized just how valuable the monitoring data could be to understand business performance as well as customer experience. When launching a new product, stakeholders can immediately see how the product is being accepted and used. The business can request an A/B test for product changes and then instantly observe the results. 

“It started with one business dashboard in New Relic Insights that shows transactions for a new product offering,” says Gelinas. “But now we’re getting requests for other custom dashboards that show usage, transactions, button clicks, and other metrics that help stakeholders measure success and track KPIs that are important for the business.” 

Gaining more time for delivering new products and features

With New Relic, the engineering team no longer has to wait for calls to come in from customers to find out about problems with the customer experience. “From alerts to Applied Intelligence services, New Relic makes it easy to monitor everything and stay on top of the metrics that matter most to our customers’ experience with our product,” says Gelinas. “Additionally, we’ve improved the quality of deployments, with the overall number of production incidents significantly fewer than before.” 

It’s also helping the organization in its adoption of DevOps practices. “As teams continue to move away from our previous monolithic/throw-it-over-the-wall approach and embrace DevOps, New Relic supports this new culture by providing visibility into performance throughout the software lifecycle,” says Gelinas. “It really helps instill a sense of ownership and accountability for the software and the customer experience.” 

The time that New Relic saves Constant Contact in troubleshooting impacts not only the customer experience but the bottom line as well. Gelinas explains, “Before New Relic, software engineers would need to abandon their sprints to troubleshoot production issues, which delays the availability of new products and the revenue associated with them.” Today, engineers can stay more focused on valuable development work, reducing the costs and delays resulting from troubleshooting or having to redo their work. 

Moving from private to public 

The next major initiative for Constant Contact is to migrate its applications from its private OpenStack-based cloud to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. In addition to greater agility and faster access to new technologies, the company is hoping to improve and streamline its continuous delivery workflow with automation available for AWS. 

The company is finding New Relic to be an essential tool for ensuring continuity of the customer experience as applications are migrated. “We’ll be using New Relic to monitor the migration to AWS and make sure we’re maintaining the same quality levels using our current benchmarks. This will allow us to build in the cloud with speed and confidence,” says Gelinas. 

And that quality of experience is what continues to drive the success of Constant Contact’s customers. Those bakers, brewers, builders, and all the other small businesses down the street can thank Constant Contact and New Relic for the digital marketing experience that helps them reach their full potential. 

“From alerts to Applied Intelligence services, New Relic makes it easy to monitor everything and stay on top of the metrics that matter most to our customers’ experience with our product.” 

Adam Gelinas Advisory Software Engineer, Constant Contact