Last week I got an update from Jared Reitzin, CEO of digital marketing firm mobileStorm and creator of the Entrepreneur Success blog.
mobileStorm offers products and services that help any size organization—from small businesses to Global 2000 enterprises—quickly, easily and reliably create, deliver and analyze successful email marketing, mobile marketing, voice, fax, and rss marketing campaigns. The company's on-demand tools include Stun!, a hosted service that is a simple, yet powerful customer communications solution specially designed for small-to medium-sized businesses, and Bolt, a hosted service built to support the needs of large enterprises to deploy marketing, customer service and transactional messaging programs. Jared's blog covers topics such as the latest laws surrounding digital marketing, as well as multi-channel marketing and new marketing technologies.
Here's our conversation:
WebMarketCentral (WMC): So Jared, what did you do before starting mobileStorm? What’s your background?
Jared Reitzin (JR): I started managing bands and soon after started a record label called Katalyst Music Group. We were very strong online and started a technology division where we built websites for larger labels to earn income and to create stronger relationships for our band. An adviser of mine started getting me excited about mobile (wap, SMS, Bluetooth etc.) and where it was going and eventually I decided to continue with technology and started mobileStorm as a result. At 19, before I started Katalyst I was a product manager at a video game company called Interactive Light. I never finished college, I always had too much going on.
WMC: How and why did you get started in this business?
JR: As noted, after Katalyst, when I got excited about mobile technologies. When I started mobileStorm, investors were throwing money at anyone who uttered the word "mobile." I think one of the best mistakes I never made was taking investment. I don’t think I would be around today.
WMC: Who do you target—who's your ideal or typical client?
JR: We have two parts to our business: our online which focuses on small business, and our direct sales group which focuses on mid-market customers. Our strengths lie in the verticals we first started in (entertainment, hospitality, nightlife, events, and agencies), however today we service everyone from airlines to schools, healthcare and retail.
WMC: Who do you view as your competitors, and what separates your offering from theirs?
JR: On the small business end we compete with Constant Contact, iContact and VerticalResponse. On the mid market side BlueHornet, ExactTarget and Silverpop. The biggest advantage we have is that we are one of the only true multi-channel platforms. Through one interface, we allow our customers to send emails, wireless text and voice messages, faxes, and create and distribute RSS feeds.
WMC: How do you market and promote your business?
JR: We have a strong online marketing plan which includes SEO, pay-per-click and banner advertising. Our marketing budget until recently was very, very small. We just raised a round of funding and we are going to start to do trade shows, radio and newspaper ads. As for selling, we have a top-notch direct sales team that handles larger accounts.
WMC: You also write the Entrepreneur Success blog. How does that fit in with what you’re doing at mobileStorm?
JR: A lot of people using mobileStorm’s services are owners of their own businesses. They are people like me who need easy-to-use tools to make their business more successful. JaredReitzin.com covers real life issues that these business owners have to deal with. My goal is to cover topics that will continue to make these entrepreneurs successful. Another benefit is that my blog really enhances my personal brand, and it helps in positioning me as an expert in my field. People like working with experts and it definitely helps me win new customers.
WMC: What’s the biggest or most important marketing lesson you’ve learned since you got started in all this?
JR: Don’t go half-ass with your brand. From day one, spend the money to create a clean looking brand that will make you look 10 times your size. Customers will buy from a business that has good branding because they like the security and comfort.
WMC: Anything else you’d like to add?
JR: I love the blog Tom, keep up the good work and thank you for this interview!
Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com