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NextMark Spawns Bionic Advertising Systems

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

NextMark today announced the creation of Bionic Advertising Systems, a new division focused on delivering technology that streamlines digital advertising workflow for digital marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

“The new Bionic brand represents our philosophy of delivering advertising technology that combines the strengths of humans and machines,” remarked Joe Pych, CEO of NextMark, and co-founder of Bionic. “Over the past few years, there’s been a battle of man versus machine in digital media. Neither side is winning. Instead of man or machine, the best ‘systems’ of the future will be a combination of both. The recent announcements by AOL,Yahoo!, and Microsoft around Programmatic Direct validate this belief and heralds a new age in digital advertising: the Bionic Age. As the name implies, our new Bionic unit is 100% dedicated to delivering solutions for this new era in digital advertising.”

Launched today, Bionic Advertising Systems will encompass NextMark’s solutions for digital advertising, including the latest Programmatic Direct technologies. Bionic’s software automates the mundane processes of digital media planning, buying, and ad operations. It frees media planners, buyers, and sellers to spend their time on higher-value tasks. It enables digital media planners to find advertising opportunities, gather information, create and send requests for proposals, negotiate with publishers, build media plans, execute orders, and implement their campaigns with the click of a button. With its modern API-driven architecture, it integrates with popular agency tools such as Doubleclick, MediaMind, and comScore. It’s currently integrating with leading sell-side Programmatic Direct technology providers Adslot, iSocket, and Yieldex. Bionic’s Digital Media Planner aims to tie together the many disparate systems used in digital advertising, giving them a single interface that simplifies the way they develop and deliver media plans.

“’Bionic’ is such a great concept for the digital media industry,” added Chris O’Hara, the business unit’s co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer. “A lot of companies in the space think that algorithms and robots are the answer. We know human creativity can be unleashed by automation, and that digital advertising works best when people are empowered by technology.”

Currently, more than forty advertising agencies are using the Bionic Digital Media Planner to create and execute their media plans. More than 900 publishers and networks are using the Bionic Digital Ad Sales System to promote more than 9,000 premium digital advertising programs—the largest directory of its kind, which also powers the IAB’s Digital Advertising Directory.

To learn more, visit the Bionic website: http://www.bionic-ads.com/

NextMark Hires Mark Winberry as Director of Product Management

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Mark Winberry

NextMark today announced it has hired Mark Winberry as its Director of Product Management. In this role, Mark will lead the group that establishes the roadmap for all products, designs the user experience, and ensures the quality of product upgrades and enhancements. His initial focus will be on NextMark’s newest products that automate digital advertising workflow for “programmatic direct” advertising: Planner for media planners at advertising agencies and Compass for ad salespeople at publishers.

“Mark is a great addition to the team,” said Joe Pych, NextMark’s founder and president. “Skillful product management is critical to the success of our new offerings. Frankly, we’re overwhelmed with the fantastic ideas we’re getting from early clients. It’s a huge challenge to combine that feedback with our own vision to quickly deliver elegant solutions. It requires a unique combination of imagination, work ethic, design sense, technical knowledge, and interpersonal skills to be successful.  Mark’s the right guy for this job.”

Mark brings more than 20 years experience in software development to NextMark. Most recently, Mark served as the Senior Director of Engineering for Acquia – a software and hosting company that enables enterprises to efficiently build, deploy and manage hundreds of Drupal websites. Prior to that, Mark was the president of Trebuchet Development – a Software Development & Scrum/Agile consulting business. Prior to that, Mark served in various engineering and management roles at TomTom/TeleAtlas, Microsoft, Vicinity, Tally Systems, and Terra-Map East. Mark holds a BA in Mathematics from Harding University.

“I am thrilled to be joining the world-class team at NextMark,” said Mark Winberry. “The deep marketing automation experience of this team is unparalleled. That experience, combined with the best Market Intelligence database is enabling us to create the foremost media planning experience in the industry. I’m looking forward to leveraging my product development experience to help NextMark customers grow their businesses by delivering them the highest quality marketing automation solutions!”

Mark is already on the job working to deliver version 2.4 of Planner, which is scheduled to be released next week.

Collaborate without fear with NextMark’s Digital Media Planner

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

nextmark-v1-3-versioning

NextMark today unveiled advanced collaboration features in its Digital Media Planner system. With this upgrade, digital media planners can collaboratively develop digital media plans without fear of losing their work, which is common using today’s solutions.

More than 80% of digital media agencies still use Microsoft Excel to produce their digital media plans. While flexible and easy to use, Excel has a long list of weaknesses that contribute to the high cost to create and execute a digital media plan. Some of Excel’s biggest weaknesses are it’s lack of support for collaboration and version control, which causes lost productivity.

Excel spreadsheets are stored in a file format. As such, only the latest actively saved version is available.  If you forget to save your changes or your machine crashes, your work is lost.  If you and a co-worker unknowingly work on the same Excel media plan at the same time, your work will be lost if he saves his changes after you save yours.  Or you will clobber his work if you save changes work after his. Either way, valuable work is lost. The problem gets worse when you use email to share your Excel media plan because having many files in different places compounds the problem. Good luck trying to merge changes from two or more Excel files; this tedious task takes forever and you’re almost guaranteed to lose some of the work.

Even if you somehow manage to avoid all the file versioning landmines, it’s practically impossible to keep track of all the changes made during the planning process.  When your client asks you “how did this line get into the plan?” you won’t find the answer in Excel.

NextMark’s new Digital Media Planner (v1.3) solves these problems. With Planner, you get the flexibility and usability of a spreadsheet plus a powerful collaboration system. That’s because with Planner your work is always saved securely in cloud database storage with built in collaboration controls:

  1. When you start working on a media plan, you get a lock on the plan so nobody else clobbers your work.
  2. If your co-worker tries to work on same plan at the same time, he sees a warning that you are working on it and is prevented from making changes until you are done.
  3. Your changes are saved immediately as you make them. You don’t even have to hit a save button! (If you’ve ever used Google Docs, you know how handy this can be.)
  4. You can see a complete history of changes to the media plan: when the changes were made and who made each change.
  5. You can easily compare two versions of your media plan and see all the changes highlighted.
  6. If you make a mistake on your plan, it’s easy to revert back to a prior version.

Basically, you’ll never ever again have to deal with a bunch of out-of-synch versions of your media plan. And you’ll never lose your work again.

If you work for an agency that deals with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance or just wants better management controls, the built-in audit trail and comparison features are a godsend.

And, despite all the power of these advanced features, Planner is super easy to use. Even easier than Excel!

Don’t you think it’s time to finally ditch Excel? Want to learn more about how NextMark’s Planner can help you? Request your free access here.

NextMark Opens New York City Office

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

nextmark-nyc-office-door

NextMark, Inc., a marketing and advertising technology provider, today announced it has opened an office in New York City. The new office, located at 53 West 36th Street, will be managed by recently hired Chief Revenue Officer Chris O’Hara and will be used primarily for sales and service.

“More than ever, having a daily physical presence in New York is important to properly serving our clients,” said Joseph Pych, NextMark’s CEO. “About half of our worldwide client base is in New York and the surrounding metro area. Although we’ve served New York well over the past 12 years, it’s clear we have to ramp up in response to demand for our new products for digital advertising.”

Since its launch less than 3 months ago, more than 75 agencies have started using or are in the process of being set up on the NextMark’s new Digital Media Planner system.

NextMark Hires Chris O’Hara as Chief Revenue Officer

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Chris O'Hara

January 29, 2013 New York, NY – NextMark, Inc. today announced it has hired Chris O’Hara as Chief Revenue Officer. In this newly created role, Mr. O’Hara will lead NextMark’s marketing and sales departments, and manage NextMark’s new regional office in New York City.

“Chris is the ideal person for this role,” said Joseph Pych, NextMark’s President. “We were overwhelmed with 102 applications for the job. Chris stood out from the rest of the pack because he’s not only got the right sales management skills, but also has extensive industry experience and the right ideas to lead our new growth in digital advertising.”

Mr. O’Hara was most recently Chief Revenue Officer for Looksmart, a search advertising technology company. Previously, Chris has held senior roles at TRAFFIQ, Reviewed.com, MediaBistro, and Nielsen. Chris is a member of American Business Media’s speaker’s bureau, the IAB’s Networks and Exchanges and Sales Executive Committees, and a contributor to industry publications including Business Insider, eMarketing & Commerce, Econsultancy, AdMonsters, MediaPost, The Agency Post, Adotas, ClickZ, iMediaConnection, DigiDay, and AdWeek.

In addition, Chris has published extensive research on the ad technology space, focusing on platforms and technology solutions that drive digital advertising. His recent publications include “Best Practices in Digital Display Media” (Econsultancy, March 2012) and “Best Practices in Data Management” (Econsultancy, December 2012).

“When I saw the NextMark offering, I knew I wanted to join the team,” said O’Hara. “The industry is finally ready to apply real technology to the problem of buying premium guaranteed media, where more than 85% of digital display media spending still resides. NextMark’s tools are the best I have seen, and I am looking forward to getting into the market and giving agencies a way to immediately see improvements in the way they plan and buy media.”

Mr. O’Hara’s hire is effective immediately.

NextMark Aims to Replace Excel With New Digital Media Planner

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Scottsdale, AZ – December 2, 2012 – NextMark, Inc. today unveiled a new system for automating digital media planning workflow at advertising agencies at the iMedia Agency Summit conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. The new system is called Digital Media Planner.

According to NextMark’s research, it costs agencies more than $40,000 per campaign in labor costs to create and execute a digital media plan and executing a digital media plan involves a tedious 42-step process. One of the main reasons for the high cost is the use of Microsoft Excel and manual processes. It’s a process that’s ripe for automation. The promises of workflow automation are to save time, eliminate mistakes, reduce transaction costs, increase agency profitability, and increase employee morale.

However, purpose-built workflow automation systems have so far failed to gain widespread adoption among advertising agencies. A survey of 65 digital media executives at the conference revealed that 80% (52 of the 65) still use Microsoft Excel and manual processes to create media plans while only 20% use a workflow system.  The four main reasons for failed adoption of workflow system alternatives to Excel cited are: too cumbersome, too limited in functionality, too expensive, and not integrated.

NextMark is aiming to replace Excel in the digital media planning process with its new Digital Media Planner system. The Planner is designed for independent digital advertising agencies, but can be used by agencies of all types and sizes. The system is accessed through the web as cloud-based software running on an enterprise-class SAS-70, Sarbanes-Oxley compliant platform.

Joe Pych, CEO of NextMark, unveiled the Digital Media Planner system and demonstrated the its main features at the conference including: importing from comScore Key Measures output; accessing advertising program details such as placements, inventory, rates, and audience profile via its data cards; creating a media plan using an intuitive spreadsheet interface; and exporting to Google’s DFA Ad Server. Mr. Pych indicated the system is available for free.

“Our goal for is to make digital media planning easy,” said Mr. Pych. “It seems like fighting windmills, but it’s about time someone replaced Excel because it causes so many problems and widespread unhappiness among digital media planners.”

Initial reactions to the Planner among conference attendees were positive. “My media planners are going to hug me for bringing this back to them!,” said Melissa Hodgdon, Vice President, Media Director of Engauge.

More information about NextMark’s Digital Media Planner is available on NextMark’s website at http://www.NextMark.com/dmp.

NextMark hires Weiping Liu as Director of Software Engineering

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

We’re happy to announce that Weiping Liu has joined the NextMark team as our Director of Software Engineering. In this role, Weiping will be leading the software team in building software for buying and selling media for advertising. He’s joining us at a very exciting time – just as we’re putting the finishing touches on a brand new product – a digital media planning system (we’ve yet to come up with a fancy name for it).

Weiping has more than 20 years experience building software. As a hands-on manager with a keen focus on shipping, he’ll fit right in with our lean, maker culture. Prior to NextMark, Weiping has worked with some of the great software companies here in the Upper Valley such as TomTom, isee Systems, Tally Systems (Novell), High Performance Systems, and Concepts NREC. Weiping holds a Master’s Degree from Dartmouth College and a Bachelor’s Degree from Beijing Normal University.

 

 

Media Magnet v2.1 gives you Goldilocks and Training Wheels modes

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Media Magnet has been winning praise among digital media veterans because it offers a fresh alternative to the much-maligned RFP process. It just got even better with version 2.1.

Early this morning, our superstar development team rolled out another set of improvements to Media Magnet. Altogether, version 2.1 includes 14 improvements that make it even easier to use.

Goldilocks Mode

As we’ve reviewed these new features, the one customers like the most is the counts in the category selector. It’s a simple but powerful tool. As you see in the screenshot above, each category now displays how many media programs are in the given category. This is helpful in creating a consideration set that’s not too big, not too small, but just right. Goldilocks would love this!

For example, in the Arts & Entertainment category, there are 1,389 media programs… that’s a big category! Maybe it would be a better strategy to pick a sub-category like Humor that only has 51 media programs to refine your consideration set. It all depends on what you and your client need.  The nice thing about this feature is it gives you more insight as you are creating your campaign. So, you can make more informed decisions.

Training Wheels Mode

We’ve also introduced a new “training wheels” mode (that’s what I call it). Previously, when you posted a new campaign it would instantly go live. That’s super-efficient, but sometimes it makes sense to have a review before releasing it. That’s what this new feature is all about. Now, when you post a new campaign we’ll review it with you before it goes out.

With this feature, you don’t have to worry about an embarrassing misfire. It also makes it easier to kick the tires without going live with a campaign.

More to come

We hope you like the new features. Please let us know how we can make it even better!

NextMark Upgrade—Faster Media Updates

Friday, July 13th, 2012

With the successful upgrade of the NextMark Direct Marketing System (to version 7.16) last night, our customers will find that the system is easier to use than ever.  We listened when you told us you needed a better way to enter Selects.  Now, thanks to the Extended Selects Editor interface, users can quickly add/edit Selects and related details on a single page linked from the Selects panel of the Data Card Wizard.

Extended Selects Editor

For digital advertising program publishers, we added the ability to record targeting traffic as percentages so that you no longer need to convert percentages to quantities as part of the editing process.  This reduces the time you spend on data maintenance and allows you to focus on creating complete and compelling data cards to promote your properties.

Traffic Targeting in Percents

We know that reports drive your business as well as your internal processes—and with that in mind, we continued to extend reporting by adding a variety of new fields in several data sources, including Account Type, Created By, and Assigned To.

For details on these and other improvements, see the release notes.

Now available: an “air traffic control” system for managing digital media RFPs and proposals

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Media Magnet version 2.0 is now available. This upgrade introduces an “air traffic control” system for media planners at digital agencies who want to easily manage all their digital media RFP’s, RFC‘s, and proposals in one place. The improvements include:

1) Alerts and Invitations – This new section gives you 20/20 visibility into who has received alerts and invitations.
2) Contact list – For each alert sent, now you can see who got it.
3) Program list – For each publisher, now you can see a list of their properties that match your criteria.
4) Block button – Now you can block a publisher from submitting a proposal. This is handy in cases where you are already dealing with them in some other way or just don’t want to get a proposal.
5) Unblock button – If you change your mind about someone you’ve blocked, you can easily unblock to allow proposals
6) Invite others – This new button enables you invite others to submit proposals for your media plans. It’s effectively an RFP but a lot easier.
7) Status – Now you can see the status of every alert and invitation you’ve sent.  You can see if your RFPs have been viewed or responded to

Here’s a sample screen shot showing these new features:

To get you free Media Magnet account, go to http://www.nextmark.com/media-planning/media-magnet/.