How Contactually Keeps Up With Competitors Using Zapier

Wade Foster
Wade Foster / Published August 6, 2012

This following is a guest post by Tony Cappaert. Tony is the Co-Founder at Contactually, a personal assistant that helps you stay connected with your top contacts. He leads up all marketing and business development for Contactually, and was previous a PM on the adCenter team at Microsoft. He loves hiking, camping, and drinking great beer.

We love Hipchat. When we first started our company last fall we were a distributed team and were working on the product part-time. We needed a way for everyone on the team to stay connected and in sync, and Hipchat was the perfect chat solution.

However, after using Hipchat for a few weeks as solely a chat client, we stumbled across their API. Turns out you can actually integrate Hipchat with a host of other services, and display status updates right in the client itself. We'd struck gold.

Right away we started integrating with a host of other services: Github, Pivotal Tracker, Stripe, and our own app. Now whenever someone on the team pushed a new commit or added a bug, or if a user upgraded to a paid plan or failed out of registration, everyone on the team would be notified. Here's a few examples:

User Upgraded
Pivotal Notification
GitHub Notification

We'd turned Hipchat from a simple chat client to a livestream of everything going on with our company, updating 24/7. The only problem was that various people on our team were constantly dreaming up new integrations – "wouldn't it be great if we could pull in Dropbox file updates!" – but we didn't want to take the time to build them out on our back end. We wanted everything to just work together without having to do any extra work.

That's when we discovered Zapier.

I don't remember how we originally discovered Zapier, but as soon as we found it the light bulb went off in my head. "So they've got 25+ services that integrate together [ed. note: now 50+]. What else can we pull into Hipchat?!" I was like a kid on Christmas Day.

For the past several months, I'd been compiling an Evernote file of all potential competitors that we'd come across. Contactually is basically a tool that helps people stay connected with their most important contacts through daily email reminders. We sync contacts and conversations from any email or social media, and allow users to seamlessly share that info with their teammates. In short, we're touching a lot of different aspects of contact management, and it seems there's always a new competitor or similar service cropping up. We wanted to keep them on our radar.

Whenever I find a new competitor, I use the Evernote tool in Chrome to quickly add them in with some notes:

Evernote Chrome Clipper

Now before all of that data used to just sit in the Evernote file and maybe someone on the team would check it every few weeks or so. Maybe. But then I noticed Zapier's Evernote –> Hipchat integration. Score!

Setting up the integration was quick and easy. I dragged the two services together and picked which Evernote notebook and Hipchat room I wanted to sync:

Evernote HipChat

From there, Zapier made it super easy to select what data would be displayed in the Hipchat message, and let me customize the look and feel of it:

HipChat Fields

Now whenever I find a new competitor (like a SwiftJot guys above ;)), I just quickly add them to the Evernote in Chrome and BOOM: within a few minutes the entire team gets updated with a link to the notebook. It's easy to set up and everyone on the team is now constantly aware of the latest startups cropping up in our industry.

Evernote Add Note
HipChat Evernote Alert

Thanks Zapier! We're already dreaming up more and more integrations!

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