New CMO at Vonage Will Make 'Aggressive' B-to-B Push

Ted Gilvar, Former CMO, Says 'Vonage Means Business'

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Ted Gilvar
Ted Gilvar

Ted Gilvar -- former CMO at Monster Worldwide -- last week was named CMO at Vonage, which provides cloud-based communications services to consumers and businesses.

He succeeds Barbara Goodstein, who left the role in February.

Over the last 18 months, Vonage has been snatching up companies in the b-to-b communications space.

In November 2013, it acquired Vocalocity, which provides cloud-based communications services to small and medium businesses, for $130 million. Last November, it bought Telesphere Networks, a provider of unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) solutions to larger enterprises, for $114 million. And in March, it announced plans to acquire Simple Signal, which offers UCaaS services to small and medium businesses, for $25 million.

The acquisitions are part of a larger effort by Vonage to attack the business market with cloud-based communications services.

In the following interview, Mr. Gilvar discusses how Vonage plans to differentiate itself in this competitive space.

Advertising Age: What are your top priorities as CMO?

Mr. Gilvar: We've made a concerted effort to expand our strategy -- and have acquired three businesses in the last year -- to address the business market. So we're taking the same cloud communications services that we've offered to consumers through VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology and are now bringing them to businesses.

So the first priority is to really make sure people understand that Vonage means business. We are targeting 40% revenue growth in business services this year, and we want to make sure we deliver against that.

Secondly, we want to sharpen the meaning of the Vonage brand. Everyone thinks of Vonage as a telco or a phone company -- it's really an internet company that delivers communications service. This allows us to delivers great quality service at a more affordable price. So those things allow the brand to be a bit of an underdog and take on that pioneering strength, and now we will do it in the business market.

Ad Age: How will you differentiate the Vonage brand in the telecom space?

Mr. Gilvar: The communications sector is obviously very competitive. We want to make sure individuals and businesses understand that our products and services have tremendous value. The VoIP technology and our rich set of products and functionality really provide great tools for people to communicate with. Given how important communication is to businesses, we think that's a great value proposition.

Ad Age: What types of marketing programs and ad campaigns are you working on to communicate this?

Mr. Gilvar: We're working on a new campaign, and I can't tell you all the details of the campaign at this point because it's still formative, but what I can tell you is that we will highlight what makes us different very directly.

Because it's a very important objective for us to get everybody to understand that Vonage means business, we'll be very aggressive in what we do. We will use a combination of TV and other media that is appropriate for the b-to-b audience to make sure we get the word out to a lot of prospects, and we will be loud and proud in what we do. It will be very integrated -- from brand marketing to digital marketing to the user experience on the web.

Ad Age: You did some Super Bowl commercials at Monster, and Vonage has done Super Bowl commercials in the past. Are there plans for a b-to-b Super Bowl commercial?

Mr. Gilvar: It's not something we're planning on right now due to the timing of the launch, but (b-to-b) is an important priority for us, and we will support it extensively.

Ad Age: What is the timing of the launch, and what exactly are you launching?

Mr. Gilvar: Over next several months, we will be announcing our commitment to serving the business audience. We're not launching a brand new product or set of products -- it's really a marketing launch to let everyone know that Vonage means business.

Ad Age: Do you plan to review your existing agency relationships?

Mr. Gilvar: No, we have no plans to do that at this time. We are working with FCB Garfinkel on our brand work, and we work with Horizon for our media.

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