Strongmail Acquires Two Digital Agencies, Forms 'ThreadMarketing' Social Unit

As it seeks to broaden its offerings to capitalize on the social media explosion, email service provider StrongMail Systems has acquired digital agencies Conversa Marketing and Magnetik. The two firms, which have worked together on strategy and design for some time, will be combined with existing StrongMail employees to create a standalone unit within the company known as "ThreadMarketing." One focus will be using email and social venues for customer relationship management (CRM).

Michael Della Penna, CEO of Conversa and a StrongMail board member, will head the new group -- moving off the board and becoming a StrongMail executive vice president. Magnetik founders Will Kunkel and Doug Steinberg will serve as creative directors. The group will be based in New York, the home of Comversa and Magnetik. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. Conversa clients Castrol and, among others, will now shift over to ThreadMarketing.

Conversa has core competencies in customer relationship management, seeking to use social media to improve lifecycle connections with consumers, partly through Facebook and Twitter. Magnetik is focused on creative for emerging and traditional interactive platforms.

Email service providers have been increasingly making acquisitions and building in-house systems to swiftly move beyond email delivery roots into the social and mobile spaces -- though they are looking to bring analytics capabilities from email to the emerging channels.

StrongMail CEO Sam Cece stated that "email remains the critical foundation for nurturing each customer relationship," but there is a need for "mastering the various digital marketing channels.

ThreadMarketing head Della Penna has previously sreved as the CMO at Epsilon, where in part he led lead-generation operations. He stated that "when looking at how the online marketing world has evolved over the past two years, the importance of having a single view of the customer has never been more important."

Based in Silicon Valley, StrongMail is backed by venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital and Evercore Ventures.

StrongMail is tabbing the new unit as "ThreadMarketing, a StrongMail company."

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