Oct 25

Why non-internet companies are buying into adtech

Research shows that the flurry of MA in the advertising industry is nowhere near slowing. In Q1 2016 alone there were 72 merger and acquisition events among advertising technology, marketing technology and digital media firms.

It’s clear much of this deal activity is about industry consolidation, with giants like Google and Facebook (and before their own buyouts — AOL and Yahoo) buying up small or medium-sized firms to bolster or establish their own audience, round out their tech stack or neutralize potential threats.


Number of relevant acquisitions


Number of relevant acquisitions

Looking at the data, three clear giants emerge: Verizon, Walmart and Oracle. But why are companies from industries as diverse as telecom, retail and enterprise software investing in adtech in a serious way? Looking at these companies reveals wider trends stretching across their respective verticals, as the lines between adtech and other verticals blur.

Telecom companies

Verizon has distinguished itself as an aggressive acquirer in the adtech sphere, purchasing AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion and Yahoo in July 2016 for $4.8 billion. And they’re not alone.

SingTel, which is the largest telecom company in Singapore, is another example of a major telecom provider jumping on the adtech trend. Kontera, Adconion and Amobee, companies that SingTel purchased, each help SingTel better exploit their vast collection of consumer data, enabling potential advertisers to more easily reach their target audiences and deliver relevant messages, deals and promotions.

In addition, Telenor, the main telecom company in Norway, acquired Tapad, a cross-device retargeting solution, to help it better understand its users’ behavior. Lastly, Ooyala, which is a subsidiary of Telstra, the largest telecom company in Australia, acquired the video SSP Videoplaza in 2015.

Facing a wireless market that is largely tapped out, and prevented by the FCC and DOJ from making mergers and acquisitions within the telecom space (see: the federal lawsuit against ATT for its attempt to purchase T-Mobile USA), telecom providers are looking to find new ways to create revenue.

Acquiring adtech companies allows telecom providers to leverage and profit from their biggest asset — unique consumer data. With the right adtech infrastructure, they can build targeting and cross-device matching solutions for advertisers and tap into the lucrative demand for connecting to consumers on mobile. What sets Verizon’s play apart is that it’s also looking to own a larger audience, through the portfolio of content properties (like TechCrunch, The Huffington Post and Yahoo! Finance) that the AOL and Yahoo acquisitions brought on.

In this way, Verizon is attempting to replicate the way that Google and Facebook own both the audience and the means of connecting to and monetizing them.

B2C companies

Walmart has been acquiring multiple marketing, engagement and analytics solutions over the past few years. In 2014, WalmartLabs purchased Stylr, a fashion app that pulls inventory from local stores to help customers find clothes they love, and then Adchemy, an e-commerce technology company.

These were followed in 2015 by PunchTab, a platform that collects data about in-store activity and customer loyalty and, more recently, by e-commerce startup Jet.com, highlighting the importance Walmart places on becoming more digital in how they approach their customers.

Priceline Group similarly acquired Qlika, a localized ad targeting startup, for $3 million in 2014. Qlika, which was absorbed into the company, is helping Priceline bring their advertising in-house. Specifically, the online travel provider is using Qlika’s algorithm to optimize their advertising — which includes personalized messaging, ad targeting and keyword bidding — based on micro-locations.

These B2C moves into adtech seem to be designed to bring media buying, digital advertising and marketing automation capabilities in-house in an attempt to solve media agency transparency issues, and gain a competitive advantage over other companies in their space.

Many large-scale brands see value in developing in-house programmatic capabilities and avoiding a reliance on external tech and media partners, losing more of their spend with each middleman. By controlling all aspects of the programmatic ecosystem themselves, they can guarantee a better use of their marketing budget, and more ownership over the data.

As B2C advertisers allocate more spend to digital and mobile, (CPG advertisers alone are estimated to spend nearly $6 billion on digital advertising this year), B2C brands could be well-advised to follow in Walmart’s footsteps and aggregate their advertising capabilities in-house. It could minimize extra margins and significantly reduce costs.

SaaS/DaaS companies

Oracle has invested heavily in consumer data and advertising technology, with the BlueKai acquisition for $400 million and Datalogix for $1.2 billion in 2014, Maxymiser in 2015 and AddThis for $200 million in 2016.

By adding critical marketing data and capabilities into the Oracle Data Cloud and allowing them to better compete with other cloud advertising competitors like Adobe, these acquisitions bolster Oracle’s position as a data-as-a-service company.

Similarly, Salesforce has been acquiring adtech companies to support its product offering, with the MetaMind and ExactTarget acquisitions serving to add marketing automation and personalization services and accelerate the growth of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

IBM has been even more bullish about marketing and advertising tech. They are turning Watson into a digital marketing powerhouse, and building out their Interactive Experience (iX) division into the largest digital agency network in the world. In a span of a single week in February, iX acquired three digital advertising and design companies; iX now has 1,100 designers and 10,000 employees.

The company is moving aggressively because they’ve recognized a huge opportunity in digital marketing, and because they’re focused on transitioning swiftly from hardware to cloud-based analytics.

For enterprise software giants like IBM, Salesforce and Oracle, investing in building out a strong suite of cloud-based marketing services to expand their existing service portfolio is a becoming an increasingly important priority, likely reflecting the growing importance their client companies place on digital marketing as a central concern of their business.

Looking ahead

In looking at big players in adtech MA it’s impossible to ignore China. In the past year alone, Chinese companies were responsible for three major adtech acquisitions; Mobvista bought NativeX for $24.5 million in February, Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication Group bought Smaato for $148 million in June and Miteno Communication Technology purchased Media.net for $900 million in August.

While this increase in Chinese MA activity could be attributed to too much local dominance from the BAT companies, or Chinese companies looking to invest in existing U.S. technology which is scaled, what is clear is that the purchasing power of giants in the west is now being matched with money from the east.

In most cases, industry consolidation is a natural and systematic process. The unpredictability often lies within who the acquirers will be and from which industries, histories or geographies they originate. As the adtech space continues its evolution, we know that telecom, B2C, SaaS/DaaS and Chinese firms will remain active, along with new, yet-unknown entrants.

Featured Image: venimo/Shutterstock

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Oct 24

Overcoming online obstacles in path to success

Sara EpszteinSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Sara Epsztein

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

By Sara Epsztein

Internet marketing can make or break your business. From email campaigns to social-media content, online marketing is both competitive and technical. While the internet increases the possibility of reaching a global audience, it can be a difficult path to navigate.

According to Jared Hecht with the Huffington Post: “Online marketing is crucial to a retailer’s success. Social-media marketing and a strong, user-friendly web presence help your company reach a wide audience for your products. But many small-business owners lack the experience or time to run effective marketing campaigns online.”

So, how can your business get ahead of the curve and capture your online audience’s attention?

* Optimize your website. Internet search giant Google continually changes its algorithm for search-engine optimization (SEO), meaning the traffic to your site may be reduced if your business doesn’t keep up with the changes. One way to make Google’s SEO algorithm work for your business is to invest in a mobile-friendly web site with responsive design. Doing so will bump your site to the top of the search results for all users, according to Entrepreneur.

GoDaddy and Alignable recently surveyed more than 100,000 small-business owners to learn about barriers that separate businesses from growth. The survey revealed that 51 percent of small-business owners hire a web designer to build their websites. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great website, however.

If you want to get a mobile-friendly site up and running without much investment, join the additional 25 percent of survey respondents who use a website builder, like WordPress or Wix.com, and do it yourself.

* Become a social-media master. It’s no secret that having a strong social-media presence is essential for your business. In fact, according to AdWeek, 74 percent of consumers rely on social media to influence their purchasing decisions, and 81 percent of consumers are influenced by their friends’ posts when making purchasing decisions. Additionally, 78 percent of consumers who receive a quick brand response on social media are likely to recommend that brand.

Websites such as HubSpot and Lynda.com offer courses and training opportunities aimed at helping business owners learn the ins and outs of social media in order to create effective online marketing campaigns. Additionally, Facebook offers Facebook Business, an online training program designed to help you make the most of the platform’s tools. Once you’ve learned the basics, try a site like HootSuite, which allows you to manage multiple social networks simultaneously.

* Embrace email and blogging. Consumers prefer to communicate with businesses through email, according to GoDaddy. And, they want trust in that communication. If your business email address doesn’t reflect your company’s name, consider upgrading to a business-level account. In an article for Entrepreneur, Firas Kittaneh found that email marketing drives 20 times more return on investment than banner ads, and has a higher conversation rate than Facebook and Twitter. Luckily, email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. With services like List Builder and MailChimp, you can easily take your email efforts to the next level.

Blogging is another popular way to reach potential customers or clients. Hubspot reports that B2B marketers who use blogs receive 67 percent more leads, and marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive return on investment. The good news is that creating and maintaining a blog is easier than ever before. Websites like WordPress and BlogSpot make it simple to create and schedule blog posts that will draw traffic to your website.

As technology continues to adapt and grow, it’s essential to engage your online audience before they move on to your competitors. From learning more about popular social-media platforms to creating a website with responsive design, there are several steps your business can take to overcome online obstacles that may be holding you back.

Sara Epsztein is owner of Express Employment Professionals, a Chelmsford- and Acton/Boxboro-based provider of staffing and employment services for an array of industries. Contact her at sara.epsztein@expresspros.com or (978)256-1101.

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Oct 23

Can China’s Internet celebrities run successful businesses?

Luo Yonghao had a vision when he founded Smartisan in 2012: China was ripe for a home-made smartphone that was so beautifully and artistically crafted that it could rival Apple Inc’s iPhones and Samsung Electronic Co.’s Galaxy.

Four years later, and after burning through 300 million yuan of investors’ funds, the reality hasn’t quite lived up to the vision for the former English teacher and Internet celebrity, who has no manufacturing experience. He’s sold 1 million of his cheapest phone, an 899 yuan ($140) model with modest specifications called the U1, reporting a 600 million yuan loss in the 18 months since the start of 2015.

Luo’s product launches, far from being the standard-setting staple on China’s technology circuit, has descended into annual variety shows, where he collects between 100 yuan and 600 yuan a ticket for the audience to listen to his repartee and revue.

If the 2016 launch of Smartisan’s T2 phone disappointed his fans, Luo admitted as much.

“To be frank, there is not much innovation in hardware this time, which makes me guilty to those loyal supporters of Smartisan,” he said during his Shanghai product launch last week. “The past few years have been very difficult, but I have a great determination that has supported me to carry on to today.”

Flushed with easy financing and a dearth of investment options, Chinese venture capital funds and private equity investors — including government-backed funds — tripled their money under management to a record 2.2 trillion yuan (US$330 billion) in 2015, according to Zero2IPO Group, a consultancy.

These funds are throwing money at the country’s startups like Smartisan and fast-food delivery company Huang Taiji, in the hope that one of them could be lifted by economic growth in the world’s most populous market into the next Alibaba Group or Tencent Holdings.

That has made China home to the largest herd of so-called unicorns, where at least 79 private companies are valued at more than US$1 billion each, according to Shanghai-based IResearch.

After a record year of fund raising in 2015, the euphoria may be ebbing. China’s venture capital firms raised US$400 million in the second quarter, with the number of deals done involving Chinese companies dropping 12 per cent, the lowest in almost three years, according to London consultancy Preqin Ltd.

There’s the increasing realisation that some of these venture capitalists are “not very professional,” said Chen Jing, research director at Hong Kong-based Asia Vision Technology and an online commentator on innovation.

Some venture capitalists are easily swayed by persuasive narratives, so self-promotion and story-telling go down very well with them, even if the end result is putting money behind stories that can’t be executed, he said.

“It helps catch eyeballs,” Chen said. “It doesn’t work if there are only hard work but no eyeballs.”

Weibo: Smartisan charms techies, Jumei’s Chen on defensive

Born in 1972, Luo taught English at New Oriental Education Technology Group Inc. in Beijing for six years until he ventured off to start a blogging website called bullog.cn

The website, established because of Luo’s frustration with censorship in mainstream blogs, , gathered more than a million page views in less than two years, turning him into a celebrity. It was shut down in 2009 after three years of operation. It now hosts a successor site called bulloger.com, hosted outside China.

In 2012, Luo turned his sights, and his Internet celebrity status, to making phones. Smartisan’s investors included angel investor Wu Yongming, who poured 9 million yuan into the smartphone maker. PurpleSky Capital, a Shanghai-based early-stage investor of Internet companies, invested 70 million yuan in 2013 together with its Nasdaq-listed social network platform Momo Inc.

In 2014, PurpleSky followed up with another round of investments, injecting 200 million yuan into Smartisan with three other firms, including Citic Securities’ investment arm Goldstone Investment Co.

Luo also pledged more than 2 million of Smartisan’s shares as collateral for an unspecified amount of loans from Alibaba, owner of the South China Morning Post, according to the corporate credit database of the State Administration for Industry Commerce. Alibaba’s spokesperson declined to comment.

To help execute his vision, Luo hired Koninklijke Philips NV’s head of industrial design Li Jianye, clothing designer Luo Zixiong, and appointed Fang Chi as chief designer for the phone’s user interface.

With his team, Luo promised a standout product committed to “the pursuit of details” and “perfection” in this “environment of highly homogenous competition.”

The website promoting his new flagship T2 phone has a declaration: “Answering Arrogance with Pride, And Prejudice with Persistence”.

Smartisan launched five models of Android-based smart phones since its establishment. Its flagship model is the M1L, with a 5.3 inch screen, selling for 2,799 yuan ($415).

His first model, the T1, was launched in 2014 and priced at 3,000 yuan, above what larger brands like Huawei, ZTE, Oppo or Vivo were going for.

“It’s not just selling the products, but also the philosophy, the value and the lifestyle,” Luo said in an April interview with the Southern People Weekly, citing the mantra of his hero and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

It was aimed at millennial users and enthusiasts of culture and art.

The reality was sobering, amid complaints and chatter of quality problems, including broken screen frames, and light “leaking out” on the side of the phone’s screen. He’s sold 255,000 of the T1, Luo said in August last year.

“The story is great, the price is relatively high, but the quality is far from that,” said Mark J. Greeven, a research fellow at the National Institute for Innovation Management.

Huang Taiji, a four-year-old startup that delivers Chinese fast food in five cities, is another company that has gathered considerable celebrity status through its astute marketing approach through social media, including Facebook — which is blocked in China. Like Luo, HuanG Taiji’s founder He Chang has a gift of the gab, and knows how to weave a good narrative.

Huang Taiji recently closed five of its 10 kitchens to control spiralling costs amid increasing competition, according to He’s interview with the Economic Weekly.

Entrepreneurs like Luo and He are “media guys, someone who really knows how to do internet marketing, how to create fans, how to convince people”, said Greeven, who’s also an associate professor of Zhejiang University.

However, “they may not always understand their products well enough… they appear to have limited experience in how to manage the people and how to get the knowledge… but the product in the end is above anything,” he said.

All this leaves Smartisan with a lot of celebrity buzz around Luo, with no market for its product, said Ma Bo, a Beijing-based independent telecom analyst.

“The fact that the founder of an innovative startup is like a pop star is actually not helping build customers’ trust, but it will do if it’s the founder of a traditional technology company,” Ma said.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/can-chinas-internet-celebrities-run-successful-businesses/

Oct 22

Privacy groups target kids advertising disguised as YouTube content

Marketing companies are targeting children on YouTube with advertising disguised as other content, an “unfair and deceptive” business practice, three privacy groups said in a complaint to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The companies, including Disney’s Maker Studios and DreamWorks’ AwesomenessTV, use popular “influencers” on YouTube to pitch products, aimed at children worldwide, with videos that “masquerade” as unsponsored content, said the complaint, filed Friday by the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), Public Citizen, and the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood (CCFC). YouTube and corporate parent Google reap the benefits through advertising sold alongside the videos.

The marketing videos, often not labeled as advertising, include promotions for candy, “junk food,” and other products, with popular YouTube personalities, some of them kids themselves, playing games, unboxing boys, or sampling food, the groups said. 

“In many cases, these advertisements cause children to want unhealthy and costly products,” Laura Moy, a lawyer representing the groups, said in an email. With this marketing practice expanding, “it becomes increasingly urgent” for the FTC to say these tactics violate agency rules against deceptive and unfair business practices, said Moy, director at the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/privacy-groups-target-kids-advertising-disguised-as-youtube-content/

Oct 21

Internet Marketing Company Helping Businesses to Accomplish Their Goals

Atlanta, GA – LocalMaxx, which is a leading Internet marketing company, helps businesses to accomplish their goals. The company helps businesses, both small and large, to gain the most from the booming social media market by increasing their presence online. The company uses different tools such as web design, social media, Pay Per Click, and local online marketing to help businesses in Atlanta to attract more customers as a way of increasing their sales and profits. The company is a team full of trustworthy and experienced marketers who are full of passion for their work.

“We help local businesses to understand why they are falling short of their goals,” says Joel Quinn, spokesman for the company. “Many businesses continue doing the same thing over and over again, without seeing any meaningful results. Our goal is to find them new and engaging methods of reaching out to their clients and increasing their online presence. Clients outsource their needs to us, and we take it upon ourselves to turn the client’s situation around through customized solutions. Our specialty is Internet marketing, which we use to help local clients reach their marketing goals.”

Marketing a business over the Internet is full of numerous advantages. It’s convenient as it enables businesses to operate round-the-clock. It also opens businesses up to more customers. This form of marketing is so effective because most consumers are already searching for products and services on the internet rather than in stores. Marketing on the Internet is a great way for businesses to save money. Furthermore, it enables businesses to customize offers to their customers.

LocalMaxx encourages businesses to outsource their Internet marketing projects. This way, the owners and staff are able to focus on the core products and services that the business offers. The company handles everything that clients wish to outsource. They are experienced in writing Press Releases, content creation, social media, and SEO. A good marketing plan that’s capable of taking a business to the next level of growth needs to include all these components. LocalMaxx has the personnel and experience needed to do this on behalf of their clients.

Digital marketing continues to play an increasingly large role in the success of local businesses, by helping them to grow their online presence and reach potential customers more easily. LocalMaxx offers clients a number of top SEO and digital marketing options designed to help them grow their business by connecting with potential clients in a faster and easier way than before.


About Company


Joel Quinn

5555 Glenridge Connector #200

(404) 937-1987

Atlanta, GA


Email: localmaxx@gmail.com

Website: http://www.localmaxx.com


Media Contact
Company Name: LocalMaxx
Contact Person: Joel Quinn
Email: localmaxx@gmail.com
Phone: (404) 937-1987
Address:5555 Glenridge Connector #200
City: Atlanta
State: Georgia
Country: United States
Website: http://www.localmaxx.com

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Oct 20

EXCHANGE: Entrepreneurs find success with online marketing

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (AP) – In 2016, shopping local starts with a “like.”

Social media is filled with friends and family selling products, launching websites and taking steps to offer their services to a wider public.

Everyone, it seems, has caught the entrepreneurial spirit – turning a beloved hobby into a career that lets them set their own hours. Others are taking on sales to share the clothing, essential oils, skin-care products or accessories they love, or simply earning a little extra income through moneymaking apps, referrals or product feedback.

The current generational trend points to workers demanding greater consideration for life events outside of work. Although employers have started to adapt by offering paid family leave, flex schedules or 30-hour workweeks, for many, the culture isn’t changing fast enough, and going it alone is much more appealing.

The internet is able to break down many of the barriers that traditionally have stood in place to small businesses. Sites such as Etsy and eBay allow people to have an online store up and running in a few hours, and Facebook and Instagram make marketing new products directly to potential clients easier than ever.

McHenry County’s entrepreneurs are building their client bases through likes, shares, retweets and more, showing that, sometimes, shopping online also means supporting small, local businesses.

A day in the life of professional photographer Amber DeLeo of Algonquin is anything but typical. After waking up, prepping breakfasts and lunches, getting her 7-year-old and 10-year-old off to school and dropping her youngest off at preschool, DeLeo has two and a half hours of photographing or editing time. Then, it’s time to pick up the kids from school, start homework, eat dinner and, after all are tucked into bed, edit more photos.

The self-taught photographer, who took yearbook photos in high school and picked the camera back up after becoming a mother, said she enjoys being able to choose her own hours and plan photo shoots around her kids’ schedules.

“I try to do a limited amount of sessions so I can still have family time,” DeLeo said. “I also have a lot of support from my husband, friends and the local photographers I’ve met through a Facebook group called The Happy Togs. I definitely could not do it alone.”

The online community has introduced DeLeo to photographers from a variety of genres, and she said the expertise and support from the group, many of whom also are mothers, has been instrumental to her success as a photographer and businesswoman.

Marketing her business online, through her website and social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram, has helped DeLeo grow her client base to about 60 since starting Amber DeLeo Photography in 2014. Her work primarily is comprised of newborn, maternity and family photoshoots, but she said the newborn shoots have imparted valuable knowledge for her work and life.

“I love doing newborn shoots; it’s just like being with my own kids,” DeLeo said. “In doing these shoots, when it is almost guaranteed that either me or the parents will get pooped on, I am reminded to be patient, and to be flexible and take things in stride.”

The same lessons translate to her role as business owner and mother.

“I think it is important to be an example, that I can be a stay-at-home mom while owning a business and having a career. There are definitely days when it’s a hot mess, but at least I’m going for it; at least I’m trying,” DeLeo said.

In the mid-1990s, Jess Waldeck, a Spring Grove native and graduate of Johnsburg High School, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in computer engineering, a broad field of study he knew he could take in any number of directions. Since then, his path has led him to roles such as consultant at Ernst and Young, sales executive, ecommerce entrepreneur, husband, father and, now, founder of social sharing app Maven.

“My family still impacts the choice to launch Maven,” said Waldeck, who has four children younger than 6. “It was a harder decision, with kids, a mortgage, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by. My wife is my partner in making this work for our family.

“I compare it to a contractor building a house. You’re building something that someone else will use, and you hope it will be a success and everything will go the right way, but you won’t know until you get to the end.”

Maven is an app designed to help other budding entrepreneurs to earn money from their expertise. The app is based on the idea that “everyone is an expert at something.” Users create product boards featuring products from more than 3,000 merchants. When other users view the boards, click through and buy a product from the retailer, the recommending user earns commission. This model allows for unlimited earning potential. Users also can earn by referring friends to Maven and receiving 25 percent of their commission.

Launched in July, the web-based and mobile app evolved over the past year through online market feedback and already is seeing fast growth. Social media is an important component of this success, as users can share their recommendations via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email and blogs.

“Peer-to-peer recommendations are a top influencer in buyer decisions,” Waldeck said. “We believe anyone can be an expert, whether it’s a fashion blogger sharing the latest trends or an experienced mother of four recommending safe baby products.”

While not a full-time job, Maven offers a unique opportunity for people to make money through knowledge they already have and products they already use. Users are paid at the end of each month through PayPal in $20 increments.

“We are trying to give our users what they need to be successful with Maven, and are constantly looking for ways to evolve the product based on these needs,” Waldeck said. “We built Maven as a platform that users can take in any direction, and it’s pretty cool to see that taking shape on the site.”

Throwing clay on a pottery wheel has been Lindsay’s Klix’s chosen method of destressing since 1998, but it wasn’t until 2015 that she decided to turn her hobby into a business, Off Your Rocker Pottery.

“I was always asked if I sold my pieces,” Klix said. “I always said no, this is my hobby and my love. I didn’t want it to become work. But soon, that ‘no’ became ‘not yet,’ and I realized there is no reason I shouldn’t love the work I do.”

Functionality is a key aspect of Off Your Rocker Pottery. All wheel-thrown and hand-built creations, including plates, mugs, bowls and pinch pots, are functional and food-safe. Klix’s studio, in the basement of her home, houses a workspace, inventory and shipping and photography staging areas.

She spends time throwing clay in the evenings, after her two young daughters have gone to bed, and often is so immersed in her work she forgets when it is her own bedtime. Items are organized by SKU numbers, making packing and shipping efficient. It helps, too, that Klix must only run downstairs to fulfill orders, allowing for an impressive 24-hour turnaround time for shipment.

Klix credits her organization and planning skills with the current laser-focused efficiency of her business.

“I did a lot of planning ahead before I launched the business, and that has made it so much easier for me,” she said. “Certainly, I get stressed sometimes from the amount of pieces to create or orders to fulfill, but those are good problems to have!”

She notes her secret to success also includes under-eye serum and lots of caffeine topped off with a smile.

“I try to be patient with myself and find a balance, whatever that looks like,” Klix said. “My work is a work in progress, and I think it always will be. I will get where I want to be, but I can’t do it all today.”

Selling on her website and through art galleries across the country, Klix credits social media with the growing following her pieces have garnered. She captures photos of her pieces on Facebook and Instagram, and shares personal recipes (featuring Off Your Rocker Pottery as serving vessels) on her blog.

“I’ve always been a functional potter. I don’t want my work to be kept on a shelf and dusted occasionally,” Klix said. “Through my website and social media sites, I’m able to help people see how they can use my pieces.”

The online marketing aspect of the business was new to Klix, but it has become another creative outlet for her, a fun way to engage with her audience and grow her business. She looks forward to the future, when all-day kindergarten for her girls promises more hours each day to hone her craft and continue to increase inventory volume, as well as sneak in a little extra sleep.

Still, it is the purpose behind Off Your Rocker Pottery that keeps Klix up late at night throwing clay and running up and down the basement stairs fulfilling orders.

“I want to be home with my kids and be there for them, but I also want something just for me and my identity,” Klix said. “For my girls, I want them, in their own lives, to go after their dreams, to not stay in a mundane way of life that is not for them. How can I tell my kids to go after their dreams if I don’t go after mine, too?”


Source: The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald, http://bit.ly/2cQYrnj


Information from: The Northwest Herald, http://www.nwherald.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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Oct 19

Pepperjam will add up to 75 jobs

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MARK MORAN / THE CITIZENS’ VOICE FILE Chief Executive Officer Michael Jones said Pepperjam now employs 120 people in Wilkes-Barre and a total of about 300 at its 10 offices around the world.


WILKES-BARRE — Pepperjam, the internet marketing business formerly known as eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions, will add 50 to 75 jobs over the next 18 months, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Jones said Monday.

The company, headquartered in the Innovation Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre, is looking to fill job openings that pay an average salary of $60,000 a year and run the gamut from technology positions, engineers, coders and creative people, to account managers, sales, administrative and service-related positions, Jones said.

Pepperjam now employs 120 people in Wilkes-Barre and a total of about 300 at its 10 offices around the world, he said.

In addition to Wilkes-Barre, Pepperjam has locations in King of Prussia, New York City, Arizona, and California as well as Canada, London and Sydney, Australia.

Pepperjam has expanded in Wilkes-Barre from the third floor of the Innovation Center to the second floor, where technology teams moved.

Its expansion and retention of jobs is part of the “Innovation Squared” project, which Gov. Tom Wolf announced Friday will receive $2 million in state funds from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

Jones said the $2 million investment will help make downtown Wilkes-Barre the place to stay, grow and thrive not just for Pepperjam, but for other companies as well. He expects more businesses will take notice of what downtown Wilkes-Barre’s potential is.

The “Innovation Squared” project is an initiative aimed at creating an innovation district in downtown Wilkes-Barre and transforming it into a technology hub.

The project also involves turning the long-time vacant First National Bank on Public Square into a new home for start-up companies.

Jones said he believes 2017 is “going to be a really good year for Wilkes-Barre” with additional investment coming to the city.

He credited leaders at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce, Wico van Genderen and Joe Boylan, who also were instrumental in creating a 6,000-square-foot multi-media and technology center on the lower level of the Innovation Center called the Wilkes-Barre THINK Center, which was helpful to Pepperjam.

Thanks to the center, Pepperjam can simulcast meetings at its offices throughout the world without leaving downtown Wilkes-Barre.

While the chamber struggled for years with identity and debt issues, Jones said, “There’s finally a group in there with real vision for the future of this area. “

“The sky’s the limit moving forward,” Jones said. “Having them running the chamber is a huge difference maker in the area.”

Jones said he has always been a proponent of downtown Wilkes-Barre’s potential but he said he wanted to see some investment in the area that would help with growth for companies like Pepperjam.

The THINK Center also allows Pepperjam officials to host global sales meetings and business conferences and has cutting edge technology used in other areas like New York and Silicon Valley, Jones said.

“It’s really in the beginning stages of something special here,” Jones said. “Pepperjam is a concrete example of what’s possible.”

In April, Pepperjam went back to its original name under which entrepreneur Kris Jones started it in 1999 as a gourmet food company while he was a graduate student at Villanova University. He sold products based on his late grandmother’s recipe and it later became an internet marketing agency.

It quickly grew into one of the largest affiliate networks and performance marketing agencies. The company was sold to GSI Commerce in 2009 and eBay acquired it in 2011 for $2.4 billion.




Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/pepperjam-will-add-up-to-75-jobs/

Oct 18

7 Advantages of Using the Internet to Grow Your Company

(Newswire.net — October 16, 2016) — One of the most powerful tools within the reach of any business person is the internet. With the internet on your side, you are basically unstoppable when it comes to the things that you can achieve in your business.

The internet helps you communicate with your clients better, helps you generate more leads and customers for your business and helps you cut your business expenses.

Below are six benefits that you would derive from using the internet to grow your business.

1. Increased Business Productivity

You can use the internet as an avenue to improve the efficiency and productivity of your business. The internet makes it possible for you to outsource some business functions. For instance, you can outsource your website maintenance services or data storage services. There is really no limit to the business functions that you can outsource and when you outsource, you would be able to reduce expenditure on equipment, tools and hardware that are needed to carry out these functions. You would also be able to cut staffing expenses.

2. Improved Customer Service

The internet allows you to treat your customers as you should. For instance, you can get the British Gas customer services contact with a quick online search thanks to the internet. It creates multiple avenues for customers to make enquiries and issue complaints so that they can be promptly attended to. Customers are also able to leave reviews about your products and services on the internet, which would do two things for your business:

–  it would make you and your staff very proactive towards customers needs and offering quality services, because you do not want them leaving negative reviews about your business all over the internet, and

–  it would also provide social proof for your business so that potential customers can find enough information about your brand to help them make their buying decisions.

3. Reduced Communication Expenses

Decades ago, if you wanted to communicate with your customers, you would most likely have to call them by telephone or send mails to them through traditional postal services. But with the advent of the internet, you can create a blog to engage your clients, or sit behind your computer and communicate with thousands of clients for only a fraction of the cost of sending traditional mails. This way, you are able to easily inform your clients about new products, special offers, discounts and other important messages that you would like to pass across to them.

4. Increased Business Visibility

You can use the internet to increase your business visibility. Before, there were a limited number of ways to reach out to customers and even the available options were expensive and unaffordable for most business owners. The internet has brought with it a varying number of ways to advertise your business and increase customer engagement. You now have access to thing like web marketing, social media marketing and mobile marketing, to mention few. The internet helps you put your business out there in an inexpensive way, regardless of the size of your business.

5. Easy Business Formation

Most people are stuck with business ideas that they have no idea how to implement. A lot of would-be business owners develop cold feet when they discover all the lengthy processes and bureaucratic bottlenecks they would have to go through to set up a business.

Again, the internet comes to the rescue of such business owners because they are able to make use of business formation services that take the stress off them and have their company set up within days.

6. Increased Sales and Revenue

Along with your brick and mortar store, you can set up an e-commerce platform for your business so that you can make sales both online and offline. That gives you an increased chance of making sales and profit. You are also able to use the internet to automate your sales process so that most of the ordering and payment is done automatically. You can even automate the delivery process if your business model allows for it.

7. Better Networking Opportunities

Networking helps your business grow. It helps you learn new things and experiences that you can use to improve your business. The internet provides an effective and easy way to network with people from all around the world. You can have your business set up in London and have people in South-Africa or China doing business with you, the internet makes it possible.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/7-advantages-of-using-the-internet-to-grow-your-company/

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