Business development managers keen to boost their agency’s online advertising sales successes might look to Chicago for advice on the best data to use. Forget stale data from focus groups or TV ratings surveys from Nielson.Co. Networked Insights, a young ad tech company based in the city’s West Loop, uses “data in the now” to help agencies and advertisers make fast decisions about the direction of a campaign.
From math to marketing
Company founder and CEO Dan Neely hatched his idea seven years ago while living in Madison, Wisconsin. An actuary with a degree in risk management, Mr. Neely has brought his love of data to Deloitte and helped launch the internet insurance firm Esurance before setting up Network Insights, which uses cutting edge technology to whiz like lightning through data arising from vendors on more than 80 million conversations every week. Then it categorizes and stores the data it’s collected, giving clients a clear picture in the here-and-now of what their clients think about their products, where they’re chatting about it and what else they’re interested in. You don’t need to be a top-level business development manager to know that this kind of data is gold-dust.
Last year in San Francisco, when executives from Apple Inc. were launching the latest iPhone, Neely was sitting at Networked Insights with marketers from Samsung watching immediate reactions on Facebook, Twitter and a raft of forums and blogs scattered across the web. That data led Samsung to create its highly effective, full-page “It doesn’t take a genius” response ads, highlighting the Samsung S3’s advantages of over the iPhone.
Investors have noticed. Networked Insights now includes names like Proctor & Gamble, Kraft Foods Group Inc. and MillersCoors LLC as customers and it’s fast become name of Chicago’s quickest growing digital startups. It’s raised the princely sum of $29 million in venture funding, $20 million of which came from Goldman Sachs and currently employs 140 staff.
Neely is tight lipped about revenue but points out that his company has grown five-fold in the last two years alone. It’s been making a profit for the last year-and-a-half. And it looks set to continue on an upward curve, even though the analytics space is a crowded one. Interested business development managers might be tempted to give Mr. Neely a call.