5 Questions for Steve Glauberman, CEO, Enlighten

  • by April 18, 2006
Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Enlighten is an interactive marketing, Web development, data analytics, and strategic consulting firm that counts among its clients Audi of America, Sony, Hunter Douglas, Amgen, and Comerica. Over the past 18 months, Enlighten has focused on expanding its roster of interactive marketing services by integrating media, search, and acquisition marketing approaches with Web development, analytics, and other destination marketing capabilities. OMMA got the latest on the firm's offerings in an e-mail Q&A.

Tell us a bit about Enlighten's interactive marketing and media offerings.

>>Enlighten is one of the few independent agencies delivering fully integrated Web development, interactive marketing, data analytics, and strategic consulting services. As the Internet continues to mature as a marketing channel, I believe that interactive agencies must have the ability to design, deliver, manage, and measure consumers' entire online brand experience.

How does Enlighten partner with agencies to provide solutions for marketers?

>>While Enlighten has developed broad Internet channel marketing capabilities, we regularly work with traditional advertising agencies, media properties, event marketing companies, and specialized providers for services such as game development, promotions, and sweepstakes. In some cases, Enlighten creates the overall campaign idea and we enlist our preferred partners to execute certain components. In other cases -- Audi of America, for instance -- the client already works with multiple agencies and we all collaborate to create and implement the most innovative and integrated campaign possible.

What trends have you seen recently with regard to what marketers need from online media and marketing?

>>The demands of many Enlighten clients -- Audi, Comerica, Hunter Douglas, Pulte Homes, MGA Entertainment, Nickelodeon -- are representative of broader trends in the marketplace. Brand marketers want more of everything: more accountability, insight, integration, big ideas, and results. While it's certainly not a panacea, the Internet channel plays a vital role in delivering on all these fronts. That's why you see more media and marketing dollars flowing online. That's why you see investment in analytics software and Web measurement growing. And that's why you see some of the most successful multichannel campaigns leveraging the Internet as the primary integration platform. There's simply no other medium suited to providing insight and adaptability across the consumer's brand experience.

You're described as a "contrarian" in background material. How so?

>>I started Enlighten in 1983 when I was 26. As an entrepreneur I've always thought that making money was the easy part. Having fun in business is the real challenge. I built Enlighten with the idea that you could create a great company that produces great work without following the MBA rule book in terms of organizational hierarchy, change management, or even business strategy. In fact, I often ask my colleagues to adopt the philosophy, "Do good, be good, have fun." These are the pillars that make us who we are as an agency. We hire bright, talented individuals and we expect them to pursue their craft with excellence, devotion, irreverence, and integrity. If we can't create great work and have fun along the way, then we need to try something new.

What next-generation digital marketing services are you working on now?

>>Enlighten recently launched a new practice group dedicated to the selection, migration, and implementation of Content Management Systems. These tools are a critical component for creating a truly flexible and cost-effective digital marketing architecture. And with respect to Rich Internet Applications, Enlighten will soon launch a practice group dedicated to leveraging new technologies, like Ajax, that enable the development of interfaces that are technically robust, easy to use, and experiential in nature. If you look at the entire Web 2.0 phenomenon and the growing role of consumer-generated media, RIAs are a foundational element in the way individuals now create, connect, and participate online.

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