Cogit Spending Big Bucks to Acquire Clients

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On the heels of its Jan. 4 announcement that it's closed a fourth round of financing valued at $14.15 million, Cogit.com announced it will use the majority of this capital to launch a major marketing campaign in March, as well as to increase its sales staff.


The thrust of its campaign will be to target the roughly 500 to 2,000 decision makers who are accountable for the Web's top e-commerce companies rather than blanket the Net and traditional media with its brand name.


Cogit, which signed an exclusive deal with the Polk Co. to use its offline database of customer profiles, is battling industry giants 24/7 Media and DoubleClick for marketshare. 24/7 struck a similar deal with Naviant Technologies and DoubleClick with Abacus Direct Corp. All are attempting to integrate offline data gathering for online marketing efforts.


The 3-year-old company, which had never advertised before, will spend "50 percent of the company's money" on marketing, according to Peter Corrao, CEO at Cogit.


"In 1999 we got our products out. Now we're taking the products we've got and growing our market base," he said. "With a BTB application, its tricky thinking how to get to decision makers. We're not trying to get to the IT guys, we're trying to get to the marketers in companies."


To reach the CEOs and vice presidents of marketing that fill out this narrow primary audience, the company plans to run a highly targeted offline campaign. "We'll use direct marketing, phone calls and trade shows where we can really zero in instead of broadly stating the message," said Corrao.


The company will use its own lists as well as lists from outside vendors for the direct mail pieces.


Cogit, San Francisco, also will invest in print campaigns in many of the industry trade publications. It will run a number of banner campaigns to increase the company's visibility. At press time it had yet to select an advertising agency.


Corrao is aiming to have 200 client accounts as a result of the efforts by the end of the year. This is up from the 14 accounts it had at press time.


The company's infrastructure should also grow dramatically this year. It will grow from four salespeople to 20 in 2000.


Cogit.com's products include RealProfile.com, a subscription-based application that allows e-commerce site owners to profile their customers' demographics and lifestyles. It also offers RealTarget, which delivers real-time targeted offers to consumers visiting clients sites. Corrao said the company will be unveiling new applications in 2000 as well.


Corrao isn't likely to make any big announcements regarding acquisitions in the near future because the company's "money is really slated to expanding the existing product category and growing the company into a top-notch e-marketing services firm."
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