Catalyst Launches Emerging Media Buying Service

San Francisco-based Catalyst is rolling out a new Emerging Media Buying Service (EMS) that will provide planning and buying expertise for online video, mobile, social media, widgets, and gaming.

EMS is designed to help both agencies and marketers looking to extend their messaging into the five main emerging media categories, said Cory Treffiletti, Catalyst's president and managing partner. "These are the areas where marketers have the least expertise and the most desire to play," he said.

Catalyst has grown substantially in the last 10 months, expanding to seven people focused on strategy and emerging media. The firm has 14 clients and has carved a niche in emerging media, either building businesses in the category or using the category to re-establish brands.

The firm's partners are launching EMS because they have not been able to find partners with adequate cross-platform knowledge, said John Durham, Catalyst's CEO and managing partner. "Our feeling is that emerging media platforms are tactics, and tactics need to be based on a strategy," he said. "We developed the strategy as our core business, and we now have the capabilities to execute the tactics that achieve our strategic goals in emerging media. We are going with the buying service model because it is an accepted model in the traditional world and one that is starting to be accepted online."

Catalyst will work both with agencies and directly with the agency's clients, Treffiletti said. One agency that has already taken advantage of EMS is San Francisco-based Black Bag Advertising, which is focused on performance media buying for their clients, he said. Black Bag handles all of the search, portals, ad networks and standard online media buying. Their agency is well-versed in how to make these types of efforts pay off for their clients, but their team lacks experience and knowledge in the mobile, online video and social media areas.

"Their clients have asked for ideas and insights on how to use these emerging platforms to further build their business, and we fulfill that role," Treffiletti said. "Our specific role is to educate the client on how to leverage online video, mobile and social media to interact with their customers and how they should measure these media vehicles. These are not your typical direct response metric formats. Once we have educated them, we ideate campaigns using online video, social media and mobile; we identify the key metrics for success; and then we buy and manage these campaigns.

"Mobile is very different to manage than search or general display, and online video and social media require different metrics as well--impact, attentiveness, time spent," Treffiletti said. "We implement these campaigns, provide analysis on the impact of these campaigns on their other direct response efforts, and determine success."

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