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Conductor’s web presence management service wants to kill the typical online marketing formats. And yes, it still wants to get paid while doing it.

Curing Business’s ‘Addiction’ To Paid Media

| 11:14 am

Seth Besmertnik, Conductor’s CEO & co-founder

Seth Besmertnik, the CEO and co-founder of Conductor, has been making the very bold statement about putting a stake in the heart of “paid media,” i.e., the basic form of advertising. But what does he really mean by that? And can he back up that goal –particularly when it comes to helping local businesses attract more in-store traffic from search? Besmertnik sat down with GeoMarketing and made his pitch.

GeoMarketing: What is Conductor? What was the genesis of the company?

Conductor is the undisputed leader of web presence management, inspiring marketers to break their addiction to paid media and create great consumer experiences through digital marketing. When we founded the company, we recognized that there was a need to provide businesses with the kind of insights that enabled them to easily understand how they appeared on Google and what they needed to do to optimize their performance. That’s really how Conductor was born. We’ve since re-casted our vision to go beyond Google and empower our customers to truly own unpaid channel across the web.

How are you different from other companies who offer SEO and some form of web presence management? What’s the key differentiator?

It’s true that there are thousands of companies that offer SEO services. In fact, many of them are our customers. What we do is take a technology approach to the SEO problem. We’ve built a platform that in-house teams and expert agencies can leverage to measure their SEO performance and build a playbook to grow their overall exposure in places where you cannot buy people.

What kinds of clients do you work with? Marketers directly? Through agencies? Or both?

Our clients run the gamut of industries in B2B and B2C across all verticals – finance, education, e-commerce, technology, publishing, and more. We also have a large agency partner base – as we help them achieve their goals faster and more profitably. What connects all our customers is one thing…they aggressively believe that reaching their customers organically is important and they are willing to make the hard investments to do so.

Do you primarily work with national brands? Or do you also serve independent SMBs as well? If both, what are the differences in need and service there?

The cores of our clients are those who want to boost their web presence nationally and internationally. That includes existing national brands as well as emerging and mid-market customers who are looking to grow very quickly. The biggest difference between the two is that larger brands are often more focused around the communication and reporting that an enterprise company needs, whereas the smaller companies tend to center their efforts around maximizing their growth and scale.

How do you see the opportunities and challenges evolving for Conductor in the rise of cross-screen marketing? Does Conductor’s lack of reliance of cookie-based data and tools give it a distinct advantage in the crossover from the PC-based web to mobile?

Absolutely. Having your primary marketing metric be focused on trying to effectively cookie different devices across various locations creates a serious challenge for marketers. It requires you to try to retroactively stitch together what’s already happened based on information that is chained together with relatively weak links. What’s more – it only tells you what has happened, but doesn’t give you much insight into what can and will happen. Finally, it only tells you about the experience of your customers and your site; it doesn’t give you any insight into your competition and what they’re doing to steal your market share.

Conductor Searchlight focuses more strategically on the visibility of your brand — what we at Conductor call your Web Presence. Thinking about the conversations happening across the web on social, search and through content marketing, you can discover your visibility, identify the competition and take action to reach customers – whoever they are and wherever they are in their buyer’s journey. That makes Conductor Searchlight a powerful platform to have at the disposal of your organization.

What’s your sense of the opportunities/challenges in meeting the needs associated with online-to-offline marketing?

An increasing number of consumers are doing their research online, no matter where their actual purchase occurs. If you’re in the market for a new car, chances are you’re looking up reviews, pros and cons, specifications, recommendations etc. on a website. If you’re in the market to purchase software, you’re also going to be online, gathering more information, comparing pricing and checking out video testimonials. Thus the biggest challenge facing brands is to recognize where the conversation begins and to engage consumers online from the start and ensure that they are involved throughout the buyer’s journey.

What are Conductor’s growth plans for the latter half of this year: additional funding? acquisitions? geographical expansion? large-scale hiring?

We continue to expand our team, opening new offices and hiring aggressively. We’ve added more than 30 people in the last 90 days. We truly want to help as many companies as we can because we’re passionate that this makes a difference and is a better way of doing marketing. Until it stops being fun, we’re going to shoot for the moon.