When e-messaging company ValueFlash.com formed in January 2000 they wanted to become a significant marketplace player ... without spending massive amounts of money on marketing. Executive Vice President Russell Kern filled us in on their "tiered strategy."
Simply put ValueFlash.com partnered their brains out. First they supplemented their in-house team of 6 business development reps with a highly experienced team of biz dev consultants across the country who agreed to work on a performance basis (read: commissions only). Kern says, "There's a high amount of interest in Internet marketing in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, everywhere! It's important to have a local presence in each region. Once they get the high-level meeting, then we bring in the senior executives from New York."
Kern's advice on picking great biz dev consultants, "You need people who know people, who have existing relationships and access to senior executives within major organizations. Look for someone with a good track record, be sure they have the contacts they say they have, and that they really are going to be able to dedicate the time to represent the company well. Also, you have to be very discerning about their fit with your corporate culture and make sure they really understand your brand and product well." How did he manage to find these biz dev titans? Personal contacts from ValueFlash.com's founding management team made all the difference in the world.
ValueFlash.com also partnered with big marketing services providers. In March the Company closed a deal with Impiric (formerly Wunderman Cato Johnson) the largest integrated marketing solutions company in the world. Then in July they closed a similar deal with J. Walter Thompson Company, the world's fourth largest ad agency. Kern says, "The goal is to get these firms to make a proactive effort in repping our technology to their clients. We make sure the agencies benefit financially from doing so."
This Summer ValueFlash.com also began launching aggressively in the Far East. Their tactic? Partnerships again. The Company founded ValueFlash Hong Kong and ValueFlash Japan by locating local players who were highly connected to the regional dot-com start-up scene. These new companies licensed ValueFlash technology in exchange for guaranteed annual fees over the next six years totalling millions and a portion of equity. Kern says, "They've been great in terms of identifying business prospects. What's a little challenging is getting them up to speed on the local technical capabilities and on Internet marketing." To partially solve this, ValueFlash flew representatives from Hong Kong and Japan in for the DMA's NetMarketing conference this September where the Company had a booth. Kern says, "They could see how we do things here and take the knowledge back."
The Company has not placed a single ad in a trade publication yet (although they may in the future.) They did, however, work closely with PR firm Susan Blond Inc. to place stories in high-profile media including the Wall Street Journal and Billboard Magazine.
ValueFlash.com's VERY high profile clients include several divisions of NBC, Atlantic Records and PlanetGiving.com. Their projects include VFlash-powered email offerings from Friends, Will & Grace and the Today Show.
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