Field Reports1 Feb, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response
By Thomas Haire ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ferzacca Says Re-branding Ignites New Opportunities
Mike Ferzacca is CEO of Oldsmar, Fla.-based Ignite Media Solutions, which has evolved from its roots as an intelligent speech technology provider serving clients in the DRTV space, to a broad-based direct response marketing services firm providing integrated marketing solutions across multiple channels. Formerly known as Advanced Interactive Sciences (AIS), the company re-branded in 2008 to reflect this growth. Recently, Response caught up with Ferzacca (who is based in McLean, Va.) to talk about the change, as well as his expectations for the business in coming years.
Q How did Ignite Media Solutions start and what keeps it so strong?
A We are four years old and began as an IVR (interactive voice response) call center solution. The company spent most of its time in DR initially, but it began to grow, and we knew we needed to add value. Now, Ignite delivers integrated tools with real-time reporting that allows clients to see the effectiveness of their media immediately. With a strong foothold, we found that we had the ability to go multi-channel. Our goal is to become the single source to integrate a multi-channel campaign. We've spent two years building behavioral targeting models that can be used in real time with callers or Web customers and allow us to know which consumers are more or less likely to buy, as well as giving clients the ability to tailor a script in real time. We also offer clients the ability to use our model on a pay-for-performance basis. We've spent a lot of money on customer-friendly tool sets and account executives to build client relations with media buyers and sales channels.
Q Why the re-brand from AIS to Ignite Media Solutions? What does the change represent internally and to your customers in the DR space?
A It's simple — I wanted my mom and dad to know what the company does by hearing the name. AIS doesn't really tell you what we do. With Ignite, you can put it together quickly. We take people's media and make it more effective through our solutions. It's all driven to ignite and deliver to more revenue by integrating channels. Internally, everybody has embraced our new identity. More importantly, our clients thought it was fantastic. We've seen no hiccup in brand loyalty.
Q What can Ignite Media Solutions do for its clients in the DR space that sets it apart from the competition?
A We offer best-in-class reporting. It's a true multi-channel solution from a single vendor. Many clients work in multiple channels, but have long needed to integrate reports. We can do it in one place. Our real-time behavioral targeting is another advantage. Another key is our people. We have a loyal group with almost no turnover, which has helped us build the kind of personal relationships necessary to function in this business.
Q Can you speak about the most successful campaigns you've worked on?
A We're in five specific verticals in DR: health and beauty, music, toys, housewares and DVDs. These are very successful verticals, especially at various times of year. For instance, first quarter is big for fitness, while toys and housewares dominate in the fourth quarter. If you look at the IMS (Infomercial Monitoring Service) housewares, toys or beauty listings, unless the product is very expensive, we're probably doing business with it.
Q What does the future hold for Ignite Media Solutions?
A It's extremely bright for us. We are strategically placed with a multi-channel solution. We are building real revenues and margin for our clients' bottom lines. We're very excited about our Web and mobile solutions, and clients are excited about the opportunity to deliver DR via mobile handsets. DR on the Web has gone through an awakening, and while we don't have the lion's share of this business yet, we've brought in a lot of expertise that will make a difference in the coming year. The prospect of driving DRTV product revenue to the Web and mobile channels — and at the same time, driving Web-centric companies to DRTV — is exciting. Web guys are figuring out how TV might work for them. We want to be the good kind of facilitator or enabler. The marketing guy, the product person and the media company — all three win with our solution.