Turnkey Solutions for Small Business

When Internet entrepreneurs Nick Grouf and David Waxman decided to launch an advertising agency targeting small businesses, they knew the Web was the perfect place to launch their company. SpotRunner was founded on the idea that the Internet could help make television advertising more affordable and accessible for local businesses and thus put them on a level playing field with larger competitors.

Today, the company focuses on automating many of the more inefficient aspects of the advertising process and creating turnkey ways for businesses of all sizes to access high-quality creative and expert media planning and buying services, Waxman said.

“When we started this business, we talked to local businesses and most thought it was too expensive to advertise on TV,” Waxman said. “They figured it would cost upwards of $10,000. We told them they could buy a cable spot for more like $50 and everyone liked that idea. We basically reset their expectations.”

Local businesses also balked at the cost of creating television ads, he added, so SpotRunner began accumulating stock ads that could be customized. The company purchased Globeshooter earlier this year to expand its ability to customize ads for small, local businesses. And earlier this month, SpotRunner acquired Weblistic to augment the company’s online advertising expertise and offerings. 

“Our objective is to help businesses drive awareness and attract new customers through multiple media channels, in an integrated manner, and online advertising is a top priority for us and for our clients,” SpotRunner chairman and CEO Grouf said in a prepared statement. “With Weblistic, we gain deep online advertising experience, cutting edge technology and a top-notch team.” 

TV and Internet advertising, when utilized together, have proven to be a particularly effective combination, Waxman said. According to Jupiter Research, TV advertising is the number one impetus for people to search for a particular company or product online, surpassing all other forms of advertising, even word of mouth. The acquisition of Weblistic will enable Spot Runner to correlate TV and online advertising with phone- and Web-based responses to provide tracking, analysis and results.

SpotRunner works with local businesses to tailor ad campaigns that often include local cable spots. The ad agency works with local interconnects, individual local cable ad sales teams and National Cable Communications to place ad spots for clients. It’s also building a larger national base with local franchisees.

For instance, SpotRunner created a set of ads that jewelers aligned with Diamond Promotion Services (the national umbrella organization that that uses the tagline “Diamonds Are Forever”) can use for local promotions, Waxman said.

SpotRunner has also expanded its services beyond TV and the Web now offering ad campaigns that include radio and outdoor advertising opportunities. Still, Waxman concedes that TV and the Internet are consumers’ top drivers for effective search advertising.

“We have developed strong relationships with all the major cable operators,” Waxman said. “We work closely with the AEs. Sometimes we connect with the AE. And sometimes a client may already have an AE that we will work with to craft campaigns. We have also had some AEs send customers to us for help with creative aspects of a campaign. It’s a good relationship.”