September 24, 2012
When we think of online advertising, it’s hard not to immediately imagine a sea of cloying corporate logos in your everyday perusings. “The ads take too long to create, they’re boring, and there is no real way to measure their true effectiveness,” explains Mark Douglas, founder and CEO of SteelHouse. “We thought it was time for a change.” In the interview below, he introduces how SteelHouse, a behavioral commerce company, offers retailers a unique real-time marketing platform solution.
Tech Cocktail: How does SteelHouse solve the problem?
Mark Douglas: Well, when we first began, we closed the gap between in-store shopping and online shopping with our Behavioral Commerce technology. But now, we’ve taken an entirely new approach and have begun creating solutions around the consumer. We’re tackling the issue of boring, static display ads by creating an entirely new generation of online advertising with our newest product A2. […] We’re essentially a creative factory, helping brands engage with their consumers, deliver high-quality and high-engagement-rich ads, drive traffic, and then close the sales cycle by reinforcing these ad and marketing campaigns. With SteelHouse, brands can finally create the ads they’ve always wanted to create, while also driving sales, average order values, and conversion.
Tech Cocktail: Could you speak to some trends and major discussions going on in the field of ecommerce in the realm of mobile phones and tablets?
Douglas: We’re seeing that a lot of consumers use their mobile devices for discount shopping on sites like eBay and Amazon, and particularly on items they directly want and know where to find. For example, if I know exactly what I want to buy, I can do that very easily on my mobile device. But if I don’t know what I want to buy, that’s where there’s an issue. […] I think a lot more consumers will use their mobile devices to not just shop online for an item they specifically want, but also to browse and “window shop” for items.
Tech Cocktail: What is the value of getting behavioral data in real time? What will gathering this information instantly allow businesses to do that they couldn’t previously do?
Douglas: The value of behavioral data in real time is that you can communicate with shoppers in the very moment they’re on your site. With our Real-Time Offers, you’re able to offer consumers a deal or incentive based on items they’re currently browsing, items they’ve previously browsed, or even a product they’re looking at in that very moment – which, of course, helps close the sales cycle. And by acting on this real-time data, consumer response rates are significantly higher.
Tech Cocktail: What is the new product that you launched today?
Douglas: We’re launching a new product called A2 (pronounced a-squared) that tackles the issue of boring, poor-quality ads. […] With A2, we really wanted to focus on the quality of ads, and what we’re putting in front of the consumer. A2 allows brands to create gorgeous, high-engagement ads that serve on any device. With these ads, we’re bringing the high quality that brands expect from other mediums like TV and print and putting it into online ads that serve on Macs, PCs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.
Tech Cocktail: What’s the best thing about your job at SteelHouse?
Douglas: I’d have to say, without a doubt, the people and the technology. We have an amazing team, half of which are engineers, including myself. We thrive off being innovators in the ad space and, deep at heart, we’re truly just a bunch of nerds who love building great technology.
SteelHouse was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Los Angeles mixer in August.
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