Alan Pearlstein is CEO and President of Cross Pixel Media, a data-centric marketing services company.
AdExchanger.com: How about a little background? How did you get where you are today?
AP: I have always been a direct response marketer by training. The first business I started was a mail order catalog, and in 2002 I launched Flying Point Media, an interactive agency that has a strong background in direct response media. I was focusing on a retargeting campaign for a client about 2 years ago when I got the idea for my new business. In June of 2008, we launched Cross Pixel Media and in February of this year we spun off Cross Pixel as a separate company.
What problem is Cross Pixel Media solving?
We are solving two problems that are important in the data space right now – transparency and data quality. Our program is completely transparent – our advertisers select the data partner that they want to target and they can optimize campaigns based on the specific data source. Nobody else in the industry offers this level of transparency and this makes our program very attractive to media buyers. Our partnership marketing model enables a data buyer to assess the value of an in market buyer by placing a value on the brands and sources they are working with. It great to know you have an “in market” shoe shopper, but are they shopping at a discounter’s web site or at a high end specialty store? We think it is the easiest way for a buyer to find their target audience and maximize the performance of their campaigns.
The second problem we are addressing is data quality. Our data is on in-market active shoppers and our data comes from leading specialty ecommerce sites that attract the highest quality site visitors that are ready to make a purchase. By working with leading specialty sites, we believe we have raised the bar on the data quality of in market shoppers that are available today.
What's differentiates the way you work with your clients and other data players in the space such as BlueKai or Akamai's Acerno?
Cross Pixel has taken an agnostic approach to our data – we enable media buyers to access it the way they are comfortable working with data. We work with large advertisers that buy the data independently (like Bluekai) and we also sell the data packaged with media (like Acerno) through Cross Pixel’s own advertising programs. We have two media programs right now for clients to access our high value data – one that utilizes media from the ad exchanges and another that is a transparent network of quality sites. The key difference however is transparency – in each case the advertiser knows the source of the data and can select the data sets they want to target.
Please provide a use case of how a client might work with you.
Here is one example of how a current smart phone advertiser is using Cross Pixel with great success. First we identified the data partners that we felt would work well for the client. We then created a targeted pixel strategy that enabled us to identify the most appropriate shoppers on the partner’s web site (i.e. a Blackberry shopper vs a prepaid wireless shopper). We are tracking the entire campaign on a partner by partner basis, enabling he advertiser to optimize by data partner. Our partnership model is very similar to the offline list rental model that is used by the catalog industry for direct mail where one company rents a mailing list to another. We are emulating this model online - the cookie list is the new mailing list.
What's your view on demand-side platforms?
DSP’s are very important to the whole data ecosystem. They make it easier for a company like mine to jump into data-centric marketing with scale.
Are you a demand-side platform? How would you label Cross Pixel Media in a few words and why?
We sell data, manage data and provide data driven marketing products and services targeting our data. From my perspective a DSP is technology.
Do you consider Cross Pixel Media a services or technology company?
I would consider us a data-centric marketing services company that uses technology; our own and third party. We believe the money will be in the marketing services sector of this ecosystem.
What does Cross Pixel Media's pricing model look like?
We sell on a CPM basis, whether the client is buying the data separately or with media.
What's your perspective on view-through conversions?
Viewthrough conversions are real and should receive fair credit when developing an attribution model. View conversion spam is another story. I have a few posts/rants on this subject on my blog.
Publishers are stressing out about not having the same tech power as demand. What would you do if you were an online publisher today with users in the 10s of millions?
If I was a publisher I would take ownership of my data, utilize third party data to enhance my own inventory and I would get into the marketing services business. I think many of the publishers need to turn into marketing services companies to survive. A few are already doing this – Gannett, Scripps and I read Hearst is looking at buying Icrossing.
Who are your investors? Please discuss your new funds and how you're going to use them.
We are closing a $1.3 million dollar round this week and all of the money came from angel investors. The primary use of the funds is building a large sales force across the United States, expanding our data partnership base and building more advertising products. We are about to launch a keyword targeted product and we have a number of other products coming this year.
What is your target market?
Our partnership model is really flexible and can apply to any company that is interested in targeted display advertising. Our model is effective and scalable for the largest telecom provider looking to target active cell phone shoppers on national ecommerce sites, to the local mortgage broker looking to partner with a local real estate company to target their site visitors.