Connecting with Bill Sobel

Eric Bader made company history last summer when he became the first CMO at San Francisco-based RadiumOne, a firm that builds software to automate media buying. Bader has been around the advertising block, so to speak. He's a veteran of adland, a community weblog and advertising archive, and has worked at Ogilvy & Mather, MediaVest, BrandinHand and Initiative, where he was chief strategy officer from 2010 to 2012.

But that's not all, folks: He's also CEO and founder of a startup called Mobilize, which creates, hosts and manages mobile applications and web sites for various customer interactions — from merchandising and transactions to CRM, loyalty programs, in-store and shopper marketing and promotions, social marketing and events.  

But his main task now, according to a story in AdWeek last summer, is to explain RadiumOne's "value proposition in a crowded marketplace of startups that claim to be able to spin social data into gold for marketers."

Connecting Customers and Brands

Eric Bader

Sobel: Tell me a bit about your career in media, marketing and advertising — and what you have learned about consumers and brands along the way.

Bader: My greatest interest in marketing is the relationship between the consumer and the brand. Although my career has spanned advertising, media, digital strategy, mobile and ad-technology, every role I’ve played has focused on the mechanics and dynamics of that relationship. I've been trying to lead brands into the newest media to determine how they can make a profitable business model and build consumer relationships.

Mobile is a good example. Around 2007, it was becoming clear that consumers were interacting with brands via mobile and devices were adapting to consumer behaviors – less about talking, more about computing and discovering information. That’s entirely new territory for brands, so a partner and I started BrandinHand, a mobile marketing company, to help brands navigate what was a very messy and hard-to-understand business opportunity.

Sobel: Let's dig a bit deeper into your experience launching BrandinHand, ”one of the first full-service mobile marketing and media company that serves global brand marketers, partners with agencies, and assists emerging media companies.” Tell us about that, as well as your reasons for leaving.

Bader: My partner, John Hadl, and I started BrandinHand because marketers were underserved in mobile media buying and mobile strategy. We knew the principles of brand and direct marketing could be applied to the ways consumers were behaving with devices – at home, “out-and-about” and at retail. We knew that brands wanted to understand how to help, reach and build relationships with consumers in contexts, times and locations that had not been as well served by other available media.

In 2010 John and I agreed mobile media planning and buying should and could be integrated by agencies into their digital planning and buying. A specialty agency wasn’t what brand marketers needed anymore. We sold BrandinHand to a digital agency that needed a mobile media capability. We honestly never expected it to live more than a few years, but it was necessary during the gap when no one else was addressing these marketing problems and opportunities.