Netsertive Lays The Pipes From Brands To Local Distributors

Bill Nagel NetsertiveLocal merchants selling CPG products and home appliances don’t have the resources to prioritize marketing, especially in digital channels.

That’s a problem for CPG brands and appliance manufacturers, who know that some of the biggest buys happen in-store.

Enter Netsertive, which in 2009 set out to bridge the gap between brands and local distributors. It recognized that stronger brand-to-local relationships and better digital marketing for small businesses could drive revenue on both ends.

Netsertive’s offering is designed to automate digital advertising for thousands of brand channel partners.

“We work with individual networks within a specific vertical,” said Netsertive chief marketing strategist and co-founder Bill Nagel. “From the brand side that involves content syndication. [For the local business] it involves being on the same page as a brand’s overall marketing efforts and leveraging digital advertising to solve those problems.”

“There’s lot to learn from trends, ads and content from a national brand. We built our technology to scale that effort and take advantage of brand-to-local similarities,” he said.

Netsertive works within the auto, home appliance and consumer electronics verticals, with clients including Electrolux, Frigidaire, Honda and Chrysler, as well as their local partners.

The company has accrued roughly $38 million in funding over six rounds since its launch, the most recent of which accounts for $24 million in a December Series C round. Investors include RRE Ventures, River Cities Capital, Harbert Venture Partners and Greycroft Partners.

AdExchanger sat down with Nagel to discuss the challenges of brand-to-local marketing and how Netsertive automates the connection between both ends of the funnel.

AdExchanger: What problem do you solve?

BILL NAGEL: It’s one thing [for brands] to look at digital marketing for themselves. It’s another to pay attention to thousands of dealers at scale and within promotional periods and time-based offerings. Their strategy has to work within the context of a local store’s goals. We set up dynamic landing pages that change based on the ad or creative the brand wants to promote. This is where the content syndication comes into play – to make sure the message is clear for the brand and the ads are an appropriate match.

How has Netsertive evolved over time? Do you have the same products and business model that you started out with? 

The opportunity to bridge the needs of a brand to a local business has been there since the very beginning. But we’ve evolved since then in a few ways.

One is [in] the maturity of digital marketing. We started out very search-focused. From there we bridged into display. Now video is a big part of what we do, [as is] social advertising with Facebook. We spent a lot of time in the early days learning about the challenges a local business has. [Today we’re] getting more involved with the brand side. We’ve invested a lot in how we think about planning stages, and how we need to dynamically alter content on a real-time basis for thousands of dealers.

How do you measure attribution? 

We track and record calls, paying attention to what types of calls they are. Are they business-specific or are they just kicking the tire? Tying digital promotions like coupons back to sales is something we’ve done in the past.

We have a partnership with LiveRamp and a large national-to-local furniture brand to identify people who visited a local partner store and made a purchase. In tying our advertising to LiveRamp data, we noticed a significant return on ad spend anywhere from $15-20.

We’ve done some tests with beacons, but it’s such early stages when talking about brand-to-local challenges. A lot of other pieces have to mature before that becomes a practical reality.

How do you get local marketers to care about their digital presence? 

Local businesses couldn’t care less about clicks and all of the digital levers that can be pulled. They’re not going to pay for data, but they will pay for insights. They want to work with someone they can trust – and this is where our end-to-end relationships work. If brands like Electrolux, GE and Bosch are all saying, “You should really work with a company like Netsertive,” there’s trust in the market.

Who is in your competitive set? How do you differentiate?

We have thousands of competitors: everyone from the niece and nephew of a business owner, to a local advertiser, to large national folks who are tempted to reach the market.

Ninety-nine percent of the market attacks this from one angle or the other. No one is trying to manage the entire brand network and their relationship with local businesses. If a local business knows that we’re not only working with 10 other brands that support them, but those 10 brands are actually co-sponsoring advertising on their behalf, it’s hard to turn that opportunity down.

What’s your company headcount? Versus one year ago?

Today we are at 231. We were probably 160-165 one year ago.

What size market are you targeting? 

It’s in the billions. We’ve really opened our eyes to the opportunity of the $36 billion co-op market in the past year. That’s where we’re focused.

Do you plan to take more funding? 

We took a big round last fall. Most likely we will. Right now, we’re in pretty good shape.

What can you say on revenues and growth? Are you profitable? 

Like any venture-backed company, we are utilizing those funds. But we are financially in very good shape.

What are your goals one to two years out? 

We’re developing more tools to deliver insights to brands and help them execute rapid campaigns. We’re also expanding on promotions. There’s a whole layer of complexity involved with doing time-based promotions for thousands of dealers, but that’s the play to steal market share that’s disappearing from print media. A lot of money is plowed into the Sunday flyer.

Video and social are substantial growers for us. They are still very, very new, especially in the context of local markets. Getting a video made that’s advertising-friendly is one thing for a large national brand. It’s another for a local business. of our growth in video has come form mobile. A lot of that audience is millennial but it’s reaching everyone. You’ll see a lot of product growth for us in the next one to two years.


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