Featured Startup Pitch: A new agency model: Digital BrandWorks acts as both digital marketer and ecommerce sales manager

By Editor March 17, 2014

Jeff Mariola, Digital BrandWorksBy Jeff Mariola, Digital BrandWorks founder and CEO

Elevator Pitch: We are an Inc. 500 digital consultancy that executes ecommerce and digital marketing initiatives on behalf of our clients. We provide digital channel management, marketing, and business intelligence services for our clients that increase revenue, protect margin, protect retail relationships, and augment team needs.

Product/Service Description

Digital BrandWorks is an Inc. 500 digital consultancy which increases revenue and margin, improves distributor and retail relationships, and provides best-in-class resources for its clients. By doing this, we increase revenue and margin, strengthen retail and distributor partnerships, and support our clients with best-in-class resources.

Our service lines include:

– Ecommerce channel management services

– Digital channel strategy

– Marketing services

– Business intelligence services

My growing team at Digital BrandWorks are experts in delivering results for our partners. They are an enthusiastic and growing bunch of Chicago-based, digitally savvy, and ecommerce-oriented team members who passionately care about their work, our clients, and surpassing expectations.

Screenshot from Digital BrandWorks' New Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Score service for ecommerce retailers.

Screenshot from Digital BrandWorks’ New Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) Score service for ecommerce retailers.

Founders Story

Until last year, I had spent my entire 28-year career working for various divisions of Rentokil Initial, a large British corporation that was founded as a pest control company in 1925. Over the decades, the company branched out into other areas, including plantscaping, which is the division where I spent most of my time with the company. I became CEO of that division, and made many improvements which included many service and product enhancements.

Initial Tropical Plants was rebranded as ‘Ambius, a division of Rentokil Initial,’ which today offers a full spectrum of services to enhance interior space for the hospitality, healthcare, retail, and commercial industries. The company’s services include ambient scenting, interior landscaping, holiday décor, decorative wall art, and fresh fruit and flower deliveries to businesses in 18 countries in Europe, North America, South Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.

I had a major life goal of owning my own company, so in 2009, I attempted to do a management buyout of Ambius. The recession stalled this effort, but I didn’t give up easily. I decided that if I couldn’t make the buyout happen by July, 2012, I’d leave the company and venture out on my own. In the end, it didn’t work out, and Ambius and I mutually agreed to part ways.

I have been very active in Vistage, a CEO networking group, and through that connection I met a co-founder of BuyHappier.com, an ecommerce site that specialized in selling various manufacturers’ end-of-life products. I became an investor in BuyHappier.com, and in the fall of 2012, that co-founder, Aaron Miller, who was eager to tap my management experience, invited me to come into the company as CEO. As CEO, I nurtured the business and developed the digital consultancy, Digital BrandWorks.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Digital BrandWorks is active in digital marketing, public relations and event-based marketing efforts that enable the company to drive brand awareness and drive leads back to our sales team. Because we rely on higher-touch solution selling, we learn a lot about the prospects we are engaged with in order to develop the right solution for their needs.

Market Opportunity

Digital BrandWorks’ target includes all manufacturers that don’t sell perishable goods, and mid-sized retailers who are looking to protect their brand, maintain their margin, and sell more online. The market size for our services includes all non-travel and perishable manufacturers that conduct ecommerce.

How We Differentiate From the Competition

The fact that Digital BrandWorks can sell and manage products for our clients in the marketplaces is a differentiator. We are the only digital consultancy that executes ecommerce.

Business Model

Our business model relies on multiple streams of revenue, but primarily derives revenue from service fees billed to clients at an hourly, fixed fee or retainer rate, depending on the scope and type of engagement required.

Current Needs

We are currently seeking additional Angel or private investors as we continue growth initiatives in 2014.

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DigitalBrandWorks logoHeadquarters: Chicago

Founder: Jeff Mariola

Investors: Aaron Miller, Leo Friedman

Year Founded: 2013

Employees: 18

Twitter: @DBrandWorks

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/buyhappier-com