Network Effect

Early in my career at ISM, I was having dinner with our CEO Kent Heyman who compared our business to what Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) did in 1973 by nationally televising the Atlanta Braves.

This was the first time I had thought about our business at that scale. Our company is in its infant phase – like the early days of cable television – where we are working to grow our digital out of home network to attract advertisers and convince them to take a leap into something less familiar than rotating outdoor billboards.

We at ISM Connect are focused on the sports and entertainment spaces where tribes gather to celebrate the things they love most. It is here that advertisers can connect with their audiences. Until now, those advertisers haven’t had the crucial measurement tools required to target their ideal customers. By utilizing our audience analytics engine, we are able to tell advertisers what types of people are most attracted to their message, and through AB testing we can help them develop the perfect campaign for each tribe.

Now that the tools are fully developed, we are scaling our networks and aggressively growing them every day. We first got traction in the motor sports community, but we have quickly grown our network into Minor League Baseball, conferences, trade shows and concerts. We need large enough networks to provide real scale, but also significant diversity to provide value for a growing portfolio of brands.

The struggle in the 70’s to convince advertisers to invest in cable television is no different than our desire for brands to stop buying commercials and move to experiential advertising. Now the question to be answered is what content is valuable enough to attract eyeballs and not just excess signal that quickly turns into white noise in the background.

I believe that influencers will be able to impact our market as significantly as they have on social media, but they will be forced to throw jabs more often and throw right hooks less frequently (See this blog about Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook). If a brand is able to connect the right influencer with a dedicated tribe in their favorite environment, they will be able to grow market share in a measurable way that has never been possible before at live events.