Commentary

Underground Elephant Trumpets Performance-Based Marketing

For my second weekly start-up profile, I'm returning to Southern California, my own stomping grounds -- and an appropriate choice of words for a profile of Underground Elephant, a three-year-old performance-based digital marketing company based in San Diego.

UE is centered on analytics-based technology that delivers qualified leads in social media and elsewhere for clients in the education, finance, and insurance industries; founder and CEO Jason Kulpa notes that "we're not compensated per click or per impression, we're compensated per valid inquiry." The company's NeoKeo 2.0 platform, unveiled less than two weeks ago, uses proprietary algorithms to analyze online media by its areas of quality, cost effectiveness and revenue maximizing optimization, with ad retargeting based on customer intent.

According to Kulpa, "We have a pretty good snapshot of not only someone who might be interested, but someone who will actually complete" an advertised opportunity -- say, a nursing degree or home mortgage application. As a result, "businesses are connected with the highest quality leads at the lowest possible cost." Kulpa said UE also controls "the media and content from soup to nuts. We don't outsource any part of the process." That includes "buying media, display advertising, social media, and handling content. We also have organic content traffic that's being generated from our own sites."

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Unlike some other tech companies, UE isn't shy about the hardcore quantitative analytics at the heart of it business: the background wallpaper for the Web site is a bunch of fairly complex-looking mathematical formulas. Indeed NeoKeo boasts a number of quantitative capabilities, including data mining, data-warehouse-driven analytics, individual performance metrics, and real-time visitor statistics. It collects data at all points of the lead generation and sales cycle, and helps clients with dynamic, multivariate, and A/B landing page creation. "We get daily feedback from our clients on every piece of data we send to them, and we optimize feature data and feature messaging in real time," says Kulpa.

Interestingly, Kulpa says he built the company to its current size (with projected annual revenues of $25 million this year) with "zero debt, zero seed money, and zero outside investment." He also proudly notes that Underground Elephant was voted one of the ten best places to work in San Diego by The San Diego Business Journal.

2 comments about "Underground Elephant Trumpets Performance-Based Marketing".
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  1. Andy Smith from ABC Corp, October 20, 2011 at 8:37 p.m.

    Well Really!!. He has a lot of awards, Best admired CEO, his CTO has the top IT professional.
    His firm is the best company to work for.

    90% of his employees are fresh out of school. who get paid about 30K per year ( which is nothing as per the industry). His Company's attrition rate is about 70%. He has no employee who has completed 5 years of decent experience in the industry. As a CEO his people skills are below average. Keola, the CTO of the company do not have any technical skills. They has an application which is written by fresh graduates and he is marketing the platform as proprietary. THe CEO is on drugs. The company won't las longer then few years in the market with its strategies. They are not here to stay.

  2. Wilson Cordon from Allstate , March 28, 2013 at 1:51 a.m.

    I have been working with Underground Elephant for about a year and am really pleased with the results. The staff has been courteous and easy to work with and I would recommend them.

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