Performics, Zenith, Moxie Create Partnership

Daina Middleton of Moxie

Performics and Zenith will combine search offerings with social marketing company Moxie Interactive to create a services suite focused on sales and social marketing. The move puts Daina Middleton, senior vice president of Moxie Interactive's intelligence division, in the president's seat at Performics, effective April 1.

Nick Beil, chief executive office at Performics, the search marketing agency of VivaKi, will remain on board as Middleton makes the transition to president. Following the transition, he turns his attention to leading operations for the VivaKi Nerve Center.

"More clients are asking for consolidated efforts, especially for campaigns that run online," Middleton says. "There's no one formula on the correct way to align around a client. It's really based on individual needs."

Middleton will wear "two hats" until finding a replacement. This will make the transition easier, she says.

Today, Middleton oversees Sunao, a division inside Moxie that includes research and insight, emerging trends, market innovation, and marketing analytics. She has developed a passion for "participant marketing." Before joining Moxie in 2008, she held the position of global director of advertising and interactive marketing for Hewlett-Packard's $28 billion Imaging and Printing Group.

Beil -- along with Tim Jones, Zenith U.S.A. chief executive officer and Joel Lunenfeld, Moxie Interactive chief executive officer -- spearheaded the alliance. Performics will continue to operate as a separate brand, while working with the other two companies.

Brand names and client relationships remain the same. It's almost like executives who understand the combined efforts have been shuffled around to offer the services as a package deal.

Advertisers struggling to combine more than one digital media should find the partnership refreshing. The move takes search engine marketing beyond the desktop and into social media, mobile search, customer relationship management (CRM), and eventually into services supported by real-time search in Twitter feeds and on television sets. Clients through Zenith will have a chance to hit markets through local digital advertising, rather than traditional TV and radio broadcast buys.

The future of search must combine social and CRM, according to Lunenfeld. "Search must propagate and capture the conversations from prospective and existing customers," he says. "Search is an incredible direct-response vehicle because it allows you to capture people who ask for something, but it needs to move beyond that by pushing out others' opinions to create more demand."

The trio wants to cross-cultivate the world of search and engagement marketing, link back-end infrastructure and systems "where it makes sense," and share research and lessons learned.

Lunenfeld points to AKQA, a digital agency, which purchased SearchRev in 2007 to compete with pure-play search companies and full-service agencies as a similar partnership.


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