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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009 12 years ago

Inventing a Market

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Triad Digital Media is thriving off of its novel approach to online advertising. By placing ads on websites where people already plan to spend money, Triad's clients get a dramatically higher return on their advertising investment.
by: Alex Walsh Web Editor

Triad Digital Media is thriving off of its novel approach to online advertising. By placing ads on websites where people already plan to spend money, Triad's clients get a dramatically higher return on their advertising investment.


The main office of Triad Digital Media in Tampa displays all the signs of a company excelling during the recession.

On the walls, a client list of epic proportions: Sony. Dell. Wal-Mart. Best Buy. CVS. Several feet from the entrance, a 76-inch projection screen displays at the front of one of many conference rooms.

Behind the front desk, a young woman says she started with Triad seven months ago. “Obviously the company has grown a lot,” she says.

Obviously.

This is what a company with 677% growth in revenue from 2005 to 2008 — and a double-digit increase in sales in 2009 — looks like.

Triad CEO Greg Murtagh's business is driven by an innovative approach to e-commerce. He's invented a platform for advertisers that gets them between five and 100 times more responses, or clicks, than the competition.

Instead of displaying ads on any website, Triad directs its clients to advertise on Web sites where visitors are already planning to spend money. Says Murtagh, “We deliver a marketing message to a consumer right as they're about to make a buying decision.”

Murtagh used a credit card application as an example. Would you expect a consumer browsing the latest news at Yahoo! Business to be interested in applying for a credit card right then and there? Compare that to someone at bestbuy.com, perhaps getting ready to spend hundreds of dollars on a computer.

That strategy is working for Triad. Murtagh says the industry average for clicks on online ads is around a tenth of a percent. His company gets its clients clicks at a rate between 0.5 and 10%.

When the Wal-Marts and Best Buys of the world are spending billions on web advertising, that boost in results is worth a lot of money.

For Triad, that means a lot of growth. Murtagh expects to add between 5,000 and 10,000 additional square feet to his business.

Even with that expectation, Murtagh makes it clear that the company is in Tampa to stay. “I think it's a great place to be,” he says, citing the area's warm weather and tropical setting as major attractions for employees.

And while benefitting from its proximity to USF, as well as Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Murtagh says his company pulls top talent from Boston and New York, getting young people that are “dying for an opportunity,” as he puts it.

Murtagh points out that his company provides people in the online advertising industry a unique chance to work with the biggest advertisers brand names, all while living in a beautiful part of the country.

The company does have multiple offices, though, and for one reason. “Sales,” Murtagh says. “You've got to be there.”

While the Tampa headquarters has the largest staff at 120, Triad also has about 25 employees in the Bentonville, Ark. area (for Wal-Mart, of course). Other offices are located in Sacramento and Los Angeles in California, Dallas, Texas, Seattle, Wash., and Orlando.

Murtagh fully expects growth to continue — perhaps resulting from, rather than in spite of, the down economy. He points out a strong company's unique opportunity to gain market share while others struggle as a reason why the best companies will continue to spend money on advertising. “Smart retail marketers spend more in a down economy,” he says.

If Murtagh can continue his business' success, perhaps those companies will spend those extra advertising dollars with Triad.

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