24/7 Reorganizes Media, Technology Group, Hopes to Facilitate 'One-Stop Shopping'
Clearly, the timing of the changes was curious - after all, few high-level games of professional musical chairs are played out in the weeks before the holidays - but Hills says the moves were motivated by little beyond the company's best interests. "We had people in there, but Jim and Ellen were better suited for those roles," he shrugs.
Hills adds that consolidating 24/7's media and technology groups under him makes sense given the company's recent moves, which included a slew of product introductions during the second half of 2003. "We're trying to put a lot of stuff under one roof," he notes. "The idea is to put together a great one-stop package for publishers that are looking for technology solutions to better understand and grow their audiences."
And in assembling packages of this sort - which combine search, media representation, analytics, and more - 24/7 is banking that publishers will choose the convenience of a single provider over a mix-and-match approach. "If you think about the market broadly from a publisher perspective, they're facing a number of things," Hills says. "Their business is growing, fortunately, and advertisers are putting real money into [Web marketing]. But they also want to be in search, to be able to serve different content to different people based on observing behavior on their sites. They don't have time for five or six relationships, and we're the only one that offers it all."
Of course, 24/7 is far from alone in making boasts like these, and Hills' stated goals for 2004 - "making sure our existing customers have the new products they need, and focusing on acquiring new customers" - have the ring of cliché. That said, the company's strategy of hiring sales reps and managers with substantial direct customer experience is a savvy one. "I think everybody expects next year to be pretty solid," Hills predicts. "The confluence of a decent economy and an election year will be good for the marketplace. What companies like ours need are the [sales] people that can translate this into new customers."
Only with smart and personable reps, he suggests, can any tech supplier fully take advantage of the opportunities afforded them: "It's about applying all products practically. Web analytics shouldn't be a science experiment. Everything has to have a practical flavor to it, and that starts with our people."
Alla, previously IDG's vice president of business development, will run sales and customer service for 24/7's technology group. A four-year 24/7 veteran, Kamor's previous post was director of sales and account management.