SMB reseller WebVisible went through difficult changes last year, downsizing from 320 to 130 employees and retreating from an ambitious direct marketing program. But it has kept core partners intact; key members of the CEO’s installed executive team have stayed intact; and the company has aggressively ramped up its technology program. It is now poised for sustainability and growth, according to CEO Ron Burr, who took over from co-founder Kirsten Mangers last September.
“We made some expensive mistakes on the direct business,” says Burr, former head of NetZero, who joined WebVisible last year. “We took our eye off the ball on our partner business. But now we are refocusing on our channel partners.” In addition to keeping key accounts such as McClatchy and BT, WebVisible recently won the account for Recruit, a $10 billion Japanese company with 12 media properties.
Burr notes that all through the strife, the company has maintained revenues of roughly $25 million. Roughly 70 percent of revenues were U.S. based, and 30 percent were international. This year, the ratio should be 60 percent U.S., and 40 percent international. There should also be 10 percent revenue growth in 2011.
The growth is partially attributable to the rollout of a more efficient, cloud-based tech platform, and new technology that allows the company to “understand the effectiveness of particular keyword structures in a campaign, and how they concert to action by consumers, whether phone calls or clicks. The tech results in a 30 percent increase in effectiveness,” says Burr. WebVisible is also focused on providing customers a centralized database for local advertising, whether it is tracking Groupon, clicks or e-mail marketing. “It all needs to co-exist,” says Burr.
“The interesting thing about the pure plays in this space … ReachLocal, Yodle and WebVisible … is that nobody’s made it to profitability,” adds Burr. “That’s the tack we are taking now. Run this company profitably with a viable business strategy.”