Field Reports1 Feb, 2005 By: Thomas Haire Response
Joshua Stylman and Peter Hershberg, Reprise Media
Joshua Stylman and Peter Hershberg started New York-based Reprise Media in 2003. The company, which specializes in interactive and online media — including search engine optimization, is the second start-up founded by the duo. They also started Rotomedia Inc., a boutique consulting and advertising firm for Web marketers and publishers, in the 1990s. Search engine leader Ask Jeeves acquired that company in 1999. Recently, Response caught up with the duo.
Response: How did you get started in the Web advertising space?
Peter Hershberg, Reprise Media: Joshua and I have relatively similar backgrounds. We were childhood friends who, after college, decided to enter into business ventures together. After working various jobs in the Internet space, we started Rotomedia, a sales and marketing/business development firm specializing in 'Net strategies. Ask Jeeves was a client of ours, and as search was starting to become more of an advertising tool, they decided to buy us out in 1998. After the sale was finalized in 1999, we both served on that company's executive management team for about four years.
Response: Why did you jump out on your own again by forming Reprise Media?
Joshua Stylman, Reprise Media: Search is still a young advertising format, but it sits right at the intersection of advertisers and consumers. Before search engine marketing came along, there was a huge disconnect from advertisers to consumers seeking specific information the way marketers thought they were. We positioned ourselves to help companies acquire customers from search engines. Specifically, what we can do is drill down the process to speak to the needs of marketers as they go through the customer acquisition process.
Response:What does Reprise offer its customers that other agencies of this sort may not?
Stylman: While Peter and I have a background in search engine marketing, our team is a who's who of interactive media experts. We know the economic drivers of what makes search engine marketing tick. Search isn't just a process of delivering users to a Web site. It's a conversational system — a consumer starts with an idea and seeks information. Marketers need to think about all ways a consumer can look for a product or service. Meeting the specificity of each consumer's search is the key to success.
Hershberg: We're a search engine marketing agency manned by people who ran a search engine. That perspective — and understanding technologies and economics — naturally helps clients be successful. You have to think like consumers rather than marketers. Our campaign management process is tailored to each client's specific needs by building proprietary technology first. The existing technologies in search didn't fit neatly into ways companies do business in the interactive channel. This process allows us to conform to the ways the client does business rather than vice versa.
Response: What successful clients have you served in this space?
Stylman: We've worked with a broad set of customers, like the Princeton Review, Bell South and Hotels.com. We've also worked with smaller, savvier direct marketers like David Anderson Merchandising. While the dollars are good working with the big guys, we also like to work with the smaller guys who tend to be a little more nimble when it comes to making changes.
Response: What are Reprise Media's plans for the future?