iSOCRATES provides multi-discipline strategic and operations advisers, team leaders/members, interim senior management on a project basis for problem solving, innovation, acceleration, project management and process improvement.
Recent completed and current Programmatic and non-Programmatic digital media and marketing-related engagements include:
Case Type: Corporate and Business Development Strategy and Playbook
Partner Type: Major privately-held offline proprietary B2B and B2C data provider
Challenge: With marketers migrating to digital and multi-channel targeting solutions from traditional efforts, the client-partner needed to assess the market opportunity, build a strategy, budget, and develop an action plan.
Solution: We approached the challenge from both a product-market perspective and a corporate cultural point of view. While the need for and process of Data Onboarding (converting mailing address/telephone/email to cookies/audience, IP addresses, and device IDs) was clear and market demand abundant, due to existing revenue-generating relationships and budgetary constraints the Monetization strategy and staffing plan required more effort.
Approach: The team conducted extensive market, product, and technology assessment (including primary research) and financial viability analysis to evaluate the partner’s relevant capabilities and limitations. A written plan and oral readout emphasizing direct and channel partner-led sales was delivered to a satisfied partner.
Results: Motivated by a desire for continued growth and entry into new markets including programmatic media and retargeting, partner moved forward on this multi-million dollar digital initiative.
Case Type: Corporate Development Strategy and Fundraise Initiative
Partner Type: AdTech Supply Side Platform
Challenge: Company needed a plan to position and raise funds for their mid-level SSP for the future.
Solution: iSOCRATES conducted an automation and operations assessment which resulted in a decision to build out a programmatic premium platform. We were then hired to complete a follow-on engagement to raise Series A funding to pursue this programmatic premium strategy.
Approach: iSOCRATES completed financial and market analysis to develop investor proposals. Secured and completed comparative analysis of multiple term sheets.
Results: We closed an eight (8) figure debt and equity financing at a 132% increase in enterprise value from eight months earlier. In the first 12 months of engagement, the company grew revenues over 115%.
Case Type: Consulting Market Assessment
Partner Type: Adtech Company
Challenge: Start-up technology company wanted to increase sales by entering the North American market, but did not have a physical presence, the ability to identify executive talent, or the in-market relationships to manage the risk of this expansion.
Solution: iSOCRATES conducted an assessment which resulted in an organizational design and in-market business plan with a set of business milestones over 12 months.
Approach: Provided a physical presence, plus prospecting, sales engineering, and closing services necessary to manage and complete the full sales cycle.
Results: In the first 12 months of engagement, the company has grown revenues over 115%.
Case Type: Business Transformation-From Strategy Assessment and Playbook through Project Management (five-month engagement)
Partner Type: Leading U.S. multicultural media company
Challenge: Prepare a comprehensive business plan for the senior leadership of the Interactive Media Division to support their Programmatic business vision.
Solution: Prepare an analysis of the current state of the market, the company’s capabilities, strategic options, and recommend action steps necessary to secure significant investment in staff, automation, and data management systems necessary to build and accomplish the EVP’s vision.
Approach: During the first 30-day phase of this engagement the consulting team completed a customized iSOCRATES Assessment to develop a Management/Board report that included a review of the company’s existing business in light of the ad ecosystem documenting the current strategic direction, corporate development / acquisition plans, current product road map, and organization.
After the delivery of the Assessment, iSOCRATES was immediately engaged to deliver a iSOCRATES Playbook to recommend specific budgeting, vendor selection, timing, and organizational design and development required to realize the recommended strategic Programmatic business plan. Finally, iSOCRATES led a third phase of the project to develop an independently branded Multicultural Market Making Business.
Results: Senior management approved the multi-million dollar investment for a new Programmatic business unit expected to deliver triple digit revenue growth for the Interactive Media division. In support of this business, the iSOCRATES team delivered over $4M in cost savings and incremental revenue by negotiating a better DMP contract, optimizing the PMP and Exchange systems, negotiating a Header Bidding contract, and establishing a trading capability to enhance programmatic yield, extension and establish market making capability.
Case Type: Business Transformation-Embedded change catalyst doing hands-on implementation then hand-off to partner employees (five month engagement)
Partner Type: Leading U.S. multicultural media company
Challenge: Build, operate, and transfer the new Programmatic business unit to deliver the desired capabilities and triple digit revenue growth for the Interactive Media
Solution: Engage iSOCRATES resources to develop the capabilities required for the Interactive Media Division to execute each part of the Playbook. The solution included new organization designs, systems evaluation and implementation, and staff development.
Approach: iSOCRATES consultants wrote job descriptions for, and recruited new staff as well as supported the on-boarding of a new Advertising Operations leader for a redesigned organization. In addition to testing the implementation of the DMP including operationalizing dual DFP / FreeWheel integrations, the iSOCRATES team completed an accelerated deployment and testing the Oracle BlueKai DMP.
The consulting team also negotiated a DMP transition to a more effective and efficient platform. iSOCRATES also negotiated and managed the integration of OpenX Meta-Header Container and testing the results for lift in CPMs from additional liquidity and a Header Bidding capability.
Finally, iSOCRATES designed and delivered a Programmatic and UDMP training course for the integrated sales team’s effort to grow programmatic and audience-specific revenue.
Results: The company is preparing to launch an independently branded Multicultural Market Making Business. This business unit is expected to deliver triple digit revenue growth to the Interactive Media Division and be EBITDA positive in the calendar year of launch.
Case Type: Interim Senior Management
Partner Type: Adtech Digital Media Exchange
Challenge: Recruited by private equity investors to execute as CEO a business turnaround in a business that had exhausted all its seed funds and incurred over 5x that funding in debt in less than 18 months of operation.
Solution: Immediately put in place cost controls, reduced overhead, identified and stopped money losing business activity, implemented a profitable business plan, and created investor presentations to raise funds to retire bad debt and support “viewable, clean media” strategy.
Approach: Developed anti-fraud product and sourced legitimate supply. Personally closed new customer business that increased monthly revenue by a factor of 70 in just eight months later. Completed reduction of past debt negotiations with key industry vendors. Raised $6 million in new equity investment on a valuation of $24 million pre-money. Negotiated new credit facility of $6 million.
Results: The company became publicly-traded with a market capitalization of nearly $100 million.
Case Type: Institutional Investment Due Diligence
Partner Type: Global institutional multi-stage private equity/venture capital investment firm
Challenge: Late-stage growth capital investment due diligence
Solution: Partner needed a deep dive, yet short delivery window business and investment analysis of both a major advertising technology company (search retargeter) and its recent proprietary intent data-based marketing technology (SaaS) company acquisition.
Approach: Our personnel — same hour hired — began target and competitive document retrieval and review. Also, our personnel immediately began to schedule management, industry, customer, competitor, and former customer/employee/competitor interviews. Checking in with partner and target management team daily(including weekends), consultant delivered written and oral status updates and revised assignment punch list as needed. Specific effort was requested relating to current and prospective corporate and product strategy, competitive analysis, and valuations.
Results: iSOCRATES delivered final written report and oral readout with full Q&A to both the investment firm and, separately, to key limited partner with favorable result. Investment approved by investment firm.
Case Type: Digital Business Assessment and Strategy through Playbook creation plus hands-on data and analytics staff augmentation and execution
Partner Type: Top 10 publicly-held, global multi-platform media company
Challenge: How to create new digital revenue streams in economically responsible ways that meaningfully increase the growth of digital revenue in a sustainable fashion
Solution: Develop proprietary and partner-led shopper data- driven programmatic and non-programmatic digital media products and capabilities by means organic and inorganic
Approach: After performing a deep dive assessment of the existing business, the iSOCRATES team worked closely with the partner’s C-suite and digital leadership to develop a shared vision, mission and common set of goals and objectives that could form the basis of a decision-making framework around which specific digital innovation initiatives could be evaluated and prioritized. Once workshopped and agreed upon, the surviving possible digital initiatives were developed in a tight Strategy document and presentation with a follow-on, detailed Playbook (including Action Plan) for final C-level vetting, funding and execution.
Results: Despite initial skepticism from the client-partner about the benefits of consulting including the ability of consulting to deliver tangible ROI, iSOCRATES was able to partner successfully with senior and mid- level partner personnel to achieve rapport, a common understanding of the challenges and opportunities, and immediate, tangible benefits. The business implemented initial findings with the help of the iSOCRATES team. iSOCRATES Consulting and Managed Services teams have been in place with the client-partner the past four years.
Case Type: Tradigital Business Transformation-From Strategy Development and Plan through Board approval and implementation (ten-month engagement)
Partner Type: A leading publicly-traded U.S. multi-platform local/national broadcaster
Challenge: The Client-partner was facing mature growth and profit margins in its traditional channels and current markets. Increasingly, its consumer audience though highly engaged, prefers more personalized experiences and more relevant advertising. The business must keep pace with new technologies and marketer needs while delivering immediate and long-term growth and profits.
Solution: After learning of iSOCRATES’ transformational work elsewhere, the Client-Partner’s CEO and senior leadership team requested a 75-day Strategic Assessment including a current state needs/interests and capabilities audit. iSOCRATES delivered a highly detailed C/Board-level proposed future state tradigital Strategy blending current strategy and assets with dramatic new vision, capabilities and growth plan.
Approach: The iSOCRATES deliverables included presenting an array of alternative investments and a specific path to Plan Development and Execution based on the Strategic Assessment.
Results: The Strategy and related presentation was sufficiently well received by the CEO and his direct reports. iSOCRATES was asked to design and lead the multi-vendor RFP process necessary to enable the multi-year, eight figure Plan/Build/ Support “Consumer Hub” initiative. The company has committed to market tests and full roll out. This largely organic data-driven, multi-channel audience-based strategy is currently projected to add sufficient incremental revenue and profits to generate a 10x shareholder value return on the total project investment in just the first three years.
Case Type: Comprehensive Digital Marketing Strategy and Playbook
Partner Type: A successful membership-based B2C/B2B financial technology and information services marketer
Challenge: This Marketer, while highly profitable, had an aging account base and overdependence on non-recurring revenue from too few sources. Poor-performing broadcast spending was consuming too much budget, member retention was suffering, and digital customer acquisition and activation was underdeveloped.
Solution: In this type of work, we find there are only facts and myths. In this case, facts were hard to come by initially. Myths about what worked and what did not work abounded. Future vision was a bit murky. The iSOCRATES Consulting team suggested starting with a full-on discovery period to be followed by a formal written and socialization process leading to a finished written work product (i.e., the Marketing Plan) that could be used to organize, to budget, for change management, and to raise recapitalization and growth capital.
Approach: The iSOCRATES team investigated the Company customer data and found three facts that presented themselves almost immediately: one, the Company was losing 40% of its first-year new accounts due to lack of account communication and online account activity; two, the actuarial age of current customers were too old to support senior management’s desire for dramatic growth; and, three, the Company was too dependent on too few cost-effective new account marketing channels. After a Marketing Assessment (including Resource and Practices Audit), the iSOCRATES Consulting team determined the Company needed: a new value proposition, a new product plan, and a new fact-based, multi-channel go-to-market strategy with detailed action plan.
Results: Working closely with senior management and other Company advisers, iSOCRATES delivered a detailed C/Board-level proposed future state plan blending current strategy and assets with dramatic new vision, capabilities, customer acquisition and activation strategies, and growth plan. The plan was used to gain financial commitments in excess of $20mm in recapitalization and growth capital. Ultimately, the Company was acquired at a premium by a strategic investor.
Case Type: Digital media and marketing Assessment (including Resource Audit), Vendor Evaluation and staff Programmatic training
Partner Type: North American C-level marketing leader at well-known global multi-billion dollar battery manufacturer
Challenge: The Marketer, part of a centralized, sophisticated marketing organization, was being sold to a global conglomerate offering no marketing, technology, or operations support to this incoming standalone business. The existing digital marketing and data infrastructure of the Marketer and its corporate parent would need to be studied, evaluated and replicated or replaced, including all vendor contracting in no more than 120 days. Additionally, the North American marketing staff needed specific Programmatic media and marketing training.
Solution: After hearing of iSOCRATES’ subject matter expertise in Programmatic, the Client-partner’s senior management team contracted for extensive transition support over several months and written and in-person all-day training.
Approach: After conducting interviews, current contract and existing internal and external operations reviews, the iSOCRATES Consulting team delivered a series of detailed written evaluations and recommendations of current and potential media and marketing resources, including numerous specific contract provisions. iSOCRATES prepared and delivered a custom all-day Programmatic workshop for the North American marketing and marketing procurement team.
Results: Despite late notice in the divestiture process, this major consumer marketer was able to re-create and improve upon certain aspects of the digital media and marketing infrastructure of its global multi-brand parent, except as regards the scale economies available to its giant former owner. Importantly, the transition was done on-time and on-budget. As a result of the training managers received and media and marketing systems adopted, Programmatic has become bigger than ever for this important brand marketer.