The Download: Greg Dolan, Co-Founder and CEO, Keen Decision Systems

Greg Dolan, the CEO of Keen Decision Systems (“Keen”), co-founded the marketing technology company with data scientist John Busbice. (Editor’s note: GrepBeat profiled Keen Decision Systems in August, 2019.) Dolan spent more than a decade as a brand marketing executive with consumer packaged goods (“CPG”) companies like Kraft and Campbell’s. During that time he craved insights that would allow him to understand how his marketing investments were driving business growth and shareholder value. He co-founded Keen to help other marketers do just that by making smarter use of data to guide decisions. The company has seen 181% revenue growth over the last three years.

  1. What is in your pockets?

Generally, I have a mask and some hand sanitizer in my pocket. But the tool of choice for an entrepreneur and a CEO of a tech company is the trusty cell phone, so that’s always in my pocket. I always have to be on call for whatever issue may arise with Keen.

  1. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?

Keen Decision Systems is a SaaS marketing investment optimization and decision-support tool. We have created a company that helps marketers take the best, latest information, quickly analyze it and then guide the next investment decision they’re making in marketing. And they connect that marketing and decision directly to a financial outcome, like hitting a revenue target, or maximizing value in their brand. We’ve been at it for 10 years and have built a nice business focused primarily today in the CPG world. We work with Fortune 500 CPG companies like the Campbell Soup Company and Johnsonville Sausage, among others.

This has been another strong growth year for us, despite COVID and the pandemic and the challenges economically. I think it’s been a strong growth year because our solution is set up nicely to help marketers handle uncertainty. Very early on in the pandemic, we found our clients really leaning on us to understand what was happening to their businesses and what they needed to do from a marketing standpoint to make it through the year and make the right decisions for their business.

That’s been exciting, the growth that we’ve seen, not only with our current clients but also bringing new clients on board. That growth has enabled us to continue to expand our employee base so we’ve hired pretty aggressively this year. Hired in sales and marketing, hired to support our development team.  That allowed us to open a new office in the Triangle. We’re moving into RTP, the Frontier, in January. I have a brand new office to support our growth.

Part of the Keen Decisions Systems team
  1. What is your favorite coffee spot?

I live in Apex and I really support our local community and Apex as much as possible. There’s a new coffee shop downtown called Common Grounds. That’s a place that my wife and I tend to frequent.

  1. What keeps you up at night?

What doesn’t keep me up at night is the big question. For me, it’s just that constantly thinking about what we could be doing as a business to continue to grow. How do we strategically continue to build the organization? There’s a lot of uncertainty still with where the economy’s going, the pandemic, so making sure that we’re doing all the right things on a daily basis, and then strategically, tends to keep me up at night.

  1. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?

I have several, but again, I’m going to go back to Apex and I tend to be more of a blue-collar sports pub kind of guy. Here in Apex, we have Rudy’s Pub, which has, in my opinion, the best burger in the area. Combine that with the best tater tots and a beer and that’s my happy place.

  1. What is next for you or your organization?
Keen is moving into a new office at The Frontier in RTP.

There are a couple of things. We’ve focused on continuing to grow pretty aggressively. We spent the first 10 years really establishing our brand and establishing our solution, a disruptive solution in our category, which is marketing-investment optimization and marketing mix. We’ve also tried to build an empathetic culture that makes people want to come to work. We want to transition from just being on the map to becoming a leader in the industry and that will require us to continue to grow aggressively.

But we also want to be conscious as we do that to maintain and drive consistency in the culture that we’re developing. Continuing to hire aggressively locally and bring the right people on to support that growth. We’re excited to be an emerging leader in the local technology market and we want to continue to support the local community and the local environment.

About Brooks Malone 63 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.