Jay Habegger is the co-founder of OwnerIQ. Jay was previously the CEO of Bitpipe and has significant experience working in digital media at companies including Reuters. We recently spoke with Jay about his current role.
The Makegood: Jay, you are very active in the Boston startup community, having founded two companies and being an active angel. What attracts you to entrepreneurship?
JH: Many things attract me to entrepreneurship, but probably the two most important are the energy that comes from having your mind 100% engaged in an activity, and the satisfaction that comes from helping an idea become a thriving business with employees, customers and a life of its own.
I can’t think of anything more engaging than creating and running a startup. Every day brings a diverse set of problems that need solving, and every problem is at least a little educational. Many people play extreme sports to get that mental focus and sense of “flow,” but running a startup produces it all day every day.
And as you solve those little problems one by one, you are building something that is valued by all sorts of people and does something that may never have been done before. Seeing that change over the long term is an extremely satisfying feeling. Every year I do a retrospective on the progress made in the past year and I’m always surprised at just how much change we produced by solving problems day in and day out.
The Makegood: As the co-founder of OwnerIQ what market need did you see that motivated you to start the company?
JH: The opportunity that I saw then is the opportunity I see still: enabling advertisers to run better-performing and more efficient campaigns by using data on consumer interaction with brands and products to choose the right people to see their new messages. We call this Ownership Targeting. We built a platform in the beginning, and we improve it constantly in order to execute as well as we can on that simple vision. As is common with startups, we underestimated what was necessary to make this vision a practical reality. Happily, we also underestimated how important our fundamental idea would become for marketing. I’m pleased to say that we now have hundreds of top brand advertisers using the power of Ownership Targeting to improve their advertising programs, and that simple idea keeps leading us to bigger and bigger opportunities.
The Makegood: What initiatives can marketers expect to see coming from OwnerIQ over the next year?
JH: We have a slew of new offerings in the development pipeline that will build on our recent introductions. In late 2011 we launched our Co-Operative Exchange, CoEx — the first platform that enables manufacturers and retailers to leverage each others’ audiences in order to run effective online co-operative marketing campaigns. Recently we launched Branded Audiences, which, for the first time, enable advertisers to run a campaign against the audience that visits the website of a specific brand – for example, the audience of an online retailer. This is a revolutionary concept in online advertising: We’re using the brand of a non-publisher in order to aggregate and define an audience, and enable an advertiser to reach that audience. Later in 2012 we’ll extend this concept to search, enabling advertisers to execute campaigns against a brand’s audience in much the same way that ordinary search campaigns run today.
The Makegood: Are there any recent successful campaigns that you can tell us about?
JH: At any given moment we’re running campaigns for hundreds of advertisers. And, since most of our business each month comes from our existing customers who opted to renew, the campaigns are clearly working. Most major brands are using OwnerIQ in some capacity to help their marketing objectives.
Some of the more interesting campaigns, however, include our new product offerings such as our Co-Operative Exchange, or CoEx, and Branded Audience Networks. For example, Abt Electronics and Crutchfield, two big online electronics retailers, have both gotten good results retargeting consumers who have visited manufacturers such as Kicker Audio. We love facilitating data-sharing between manufacturers, many of whom haven’t even thought about how to reach consumers who visit their sites to do research, and online retailers, who otherwise wouldn’t know that a particular online visitor had already been researching a particular product. That kind of information enables the retailers to offer a great deal. Everyone wins.
The Makegood: Thanks, Jay.