Penton's purchase of EyeTraffic points to bigger moves on the horizon

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Penton Media announced earlier this month that it has acquired EyeTraffic Media, a marketing services agency based in Washington, D.C. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal presages a larger move by Penton, which is expected to announce a new, companywide approach to marketing services in April.

“Our senior team has felt for some time that a marketing services offering—including online lead generation for our clients—was a critical component of our growth agenda,” Penton CEO Sharon Rowlands said in a statement. “EyeTraffic forms the cornerstone of such an offering.”

Kim Paulsen, senior VP-marketing services at Penton, will oversee the integration of EyeTraffic. Digital Directions asked her about the deal and Penton's commitment to marketing services.

Digital Directions: Why make an acquisition instead of building this internally?

Paulsen: I think we wanted to be sure we brought on the best in the market at building out the services that our customers are really clamoring for. We wanted to jump-start in a much bigger way than just building it organically.

Digital Directions: What specifically does EyeTraffic bring to you right out of the box?

Paulsen: We have done a lot of homework in looking at our customers across the board and what their needs are in terms of being successful in today's environment. Their websites are their biggest pain point. They built these websites and nobody comes. So our intention in the acquisition of EyeTraffic is we want to help our customers do a great job of building their own Web engines and their own lead-management care mechanisms, and of providing the right information to sellers. Our job as publishers is to bring buyers and sellers together at the right time when they're ready. Our mission with EyeTraffic is to help provide services that companies really need to compete in the online marketplace today. They are search engine optimization and social media experts. They also are very strong in online lead generation, pay-per-click, paid search marketing—all the things that help companies show up better in social media and on search engines.

Digital Directions: Outsell says the majority of marketing budgets are spent on a company's website. Did that factor into this focus on providing online marketing services?

Paulsen: Yes, believe me, I studied that [report] forever. We realized that we needed to help companies take advantage of what we can offer by helping them do a better job with their websites. Our intention is to bring in the services with market knowledge. A lot of people provide these services, but where we think we can really help a company is we understand the market. So let us help you do better content, better acquisition strategies, better lead nurturing. Let us help you get the right people with the right keywords onto your site. Let us help you figure out who's talking about you, and let us help you figure out what to say.

Digital Directions: How do Penton's magazines, trade shows and digital properties fit into this strategy?

Paulsen: They're obviously the cornerstone of why we feel we can help a company. If we move into digital services, on more of a service level with EyeTraffic, then we're going to utilize our brands, our marketing engines, our magazines and websites to tie the two together. So they are the reason I feel we have the right, so to speak, to help companies.

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