How You Can Benefit fromSimpli.fi Acquiring Advantage

A conversation with Simpli.fi CEO Frost Prioleauand Advantage President Ellen Coulter
 


 

Transcript

 
David:
Hello. Welcome. Today’s webinar is all about the combination of two great companies, Advantage and Simpli.fi. I am lucky enough to have the leadership from both companies here to tell us why this is such a great thing. Ellen Coulter is the president of Advantage. Ellen, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ellen Coulter:
Hello everyone. I am the president of Advantage Software. I’ve been working with the company, working with and building relationships with advertising agencies for over 35 years.

David:
Hi, Ellen. How are you today? Doing well? How are you? Good. We also have Frost Prioleau, the CEO of Simpli.fi. Frost, hi.

Frost Prioleau:
Hey, David. How are you?

David:
Good. Tell us just a little bit about yourself.

Frost Prioleau:
Hey everybody. I’m the CEO of simpli.fi. Paul Harrison and I founded the company about 11 years ago, and I’ve been doing this ever since.

David:
All right. Well, I am going to ask you guys, what’s so awesome about this combination of Simpli.fi and Advantage. Ellen, what are you most excited about?

Ellen Coulter:
Well, I’m excited about a lot of things, but after working with this company and getting to know them and how they do things, I’m very excited about working with the team. Basically, joining forces to do something that I think is going to be very special for the advertising agency industry. Together, we are over 400 people strong, and there’s just an abundance of expertise and talent that we can put together for great use to achieve our goals. Now, our clients and our employees are super excited about this, and the future, and the possibility of what we can do together.

David:
Great. How about you Frost? What are you most excited about with this combination of companies?

Frost Prioleau:
Yeah. Well, a couple of things. One, certainly echoing Ellen’s comments on the team, she’s built a great team. There’s a great team at Advantage, and so the opportunity to work with such a talented group is very exciting to us. Then more broadly, it’s really the opportunity to bring a broader set of solutions to really more ad agencies and other media buying companies driving this. We’ve been hearing from our customers for a long time that they’re looking for ways to be more efficient in what they do, to speed their workflows, to reduce [inaudible] ways for them to reduce errors, speed billing, speed collections, drive more efficient reconciliations, a whole host of things. By combining the capabilities of the Advantage Software, that helps agencies with project management, as well as media buying and accounting and reconciliation with Simpli.fi, which is all about more efficient and more effective programmatic media buying. It’s really exciting to bring these two together and really multiply the benefits that we can deliver to our customers.

David:
Thank you, Frost. Ellen, why do you feel that the Simpli.fi Advantage combination is going to be good for Advantage and its customers?

Ellen Coulter:
Well, when the idea was first presented to me, my instant reaction was very positive for a number of reasons. Simpli.fi shares our passion for wanting to help agencies become more efficient and effective, and of course, like Frost said, Simpli.fi does this by optimizing the digital media campaign and really maximizing the efficiency of every dollar spent. They’re a leader in this area. Advantage provides the workflow automation and the streamlining of, not just the media processes, but every agency task, from project management to full accounting and management reporting. We really compliment each other, and I think together we’re the whole package, we’re everything, and I think with it we can really help agencies be all that they can be. Just as important as software, Simpli.fi and Advantage really value and are focused on the customer satisfaction and the customer relationship. We both value that very much, so I really felt that this was going to be a great combination for everyone involved

David:
Frost, what is it that Simpli.fi Can do for Advantage clients from a media buying perspective?

Ellen Coulter:
Right. Simpli.fi’s programmatic media platform or DSP is tailor made to the types of agencies and media buying organizations that Advantage has served for over 30 years now. If you look at the capabilities of our DSP and what we can do to help agencies buy and target audiences that are very appropriate to local advertisers or the ability to optimize campaigns of all sizes, not having to wait for thousands and thousands of dollars to be spent before optimization or effective reporting comes into place. The ability with our connected TV solution to help many of these agencies transition and follow the eyeballs over from linear TV, where they’ve been placing ad budgets, over to streaming or connected TV. We have a very intuitive interface that lets agencies and media planners target the exact same audiences on the connected side. Then very transparent reporting and is totally granular and completely transparent, that helps those agencies out.
We do all this through a self-serve UI. As Ellen mentioned, we’ve got fantastic customer service organizations on both sides. The bottom line, it’s all about helping them help these clients execute better digital campaigns on the Simpli.fi platform, but more holistically, just be more effective and efficient, as Ellen mentioned.

David:
It sounds like the combination is going to bring a lot of new things to both sides for each client. But what about efficiencies improvements? Ellen, does the combination bring those things to your clients?

Ellen Coulter:
Oh, yeah. Absolutely. From a high level point of view, the combination means that Simpli.fi media buys are going to be fully integrated with Advantage workflow, which means that it’s going to save the media buyers and the agency in general, just a ton of time. The integration will virtually eliminate any manual or dual entry of orders and invoices, which of course eliminates costly errors that come with manual anything. Anything manual is not good. But what’s more exciting, is some of the things that we’re developing to actually make things better, to automate more for the media planning and buying professionals. Just a couple of things off the top of my head, are we’re adding a new media mix and rate template. What that does, it automates the proposal process and even make suggestions on what would be a good performing buy for the agency. It’s got things like push button budget allocation, it’s got electronic RFPs, and a few other tools that are designed, again, to help agencies have better performance, really, for their customers. Again, it’s all about efficiency and I think efficiency ultimately leads to profitability for the agency.

David:
Frost, what are the efficiencies to be gained by Simpli.fi’s clients from Advantage’s product suite?
Frost Prioleau: Yes. Simpli.fi serves a broad range of clients. Many of them don’t have great processes internally, or they’re working with disparate systems maybe for project management, for media buying, and for accounting, and so the ability for Simpli.fi’s clients who might be working with disparate systems to move to an all-in-one platform that’s highly integrated with the Simplif.fi DSP is really Advantage. It’s really the things that that Ellen was talking about as far as easy workflow. [inaudible] this concept of integrated omni-channel workflow that automates the processes that agencies go through and eliminates all of this double keying and manual operations that can lead to errors. Those are really some of the things. I think we should also just think about the reporting as well, the ability to integrate in a more tight [inaudible] the Simpli.fi reporting, it’s very granular, very complete, into one package over Advantage is also a big benefit.

David:
Awesome. Ellen, I know that advantage has other media partners. Will you continue to support other media systems?

Ellen Coulter:
Yeah. Absolutely. Advantage has always been a very inclusive system. We have strong integrations with many different media partners and not just media partners, but other partners that our clients want and need to use to get things done. That’s not going to change. Our goal is to streamline media workflow and management of just about everything too, and that means to be more inclusive, not less inclusive.

David:
Frost, how will this combination help our clients with visibility into their media and operating metrics?

Frost Prioleau:
It’s really about gathering more data on their media spends all in one place. Many independent agencies are swivel chairing from system to system [inaudible] aggregating on Excel spreadsheets or other ways. Different metrics around their media spends, different KPIs, et cetera. By executing campaigns through the Advantage platform across all their channels, and then integrating that reporting back in the Advantage platform, they’re able to have all that information in one place, which really helps both the time spent aggregating this and gives them a much more clear, complete view of their media spend.

David:
Awesome. Going forward, Ellen, what is the focus of Advantage?

Ellen Coulter:
Well, we’re going to continue to focus on what we’ve always done, and that’s providing automation in all key areas of agency operations. Everything continues. With the latest versions of our software and the latest iteration that’s called AQUA, we’re actually simplifying the entire process, the automation process, all across the board and we’re adding some great new features at the same time. Just some examples are we’re finishing up our creative proofing and markup tool, which is for the creative side of the business and keeping everything under one system. We’re also working on a brand new web-based payment manager program called Advantage Pay. That’s really going to change the way agencies pay their vendors and allow them to take full advantage of the things that automating and managing your cashflow can afford you. At the same time, we’re simultaneously working on this product called Digital and Media Campaign Manager.
Now, that feature is actually going to close the gap when it comes to actualizing media campaigns, reconciling them, rolling balances forward, things like that. Again, saving time for both the accounting and the media staff. We have lots of other things in the works, but we’ll just keep on going, and hopefully, adding even more to help our customers be more efficient

David:
Frost, what’s the long-term vision for the combined companies?

Ellen Coulter:
Yeah. Ellen hit on much of it. But really, the combination is about providing [inaudible] solutions and help agencies and other media buying organizations perform better through automation and integration. There’s a lot that goes into that. There’s all the processes that agencies execute. Looking at how we can automate I think… Help automate those, Ellen touched on a lot of those. Then the other really huge opportunity in front of us all is to help agencies make this migration, again, as I mentioned, from linear TV ad spend over to connected TV. Tools that help them… Especially on the Simpli.fi side, tools that help these agencies create audiences, target audiences, deliver media across all the best media sources, and then pull back in reporting and KPIs that their TV advertisers are interested in. This combination, which really is, if you think of it, about integrated omni-channel workflow is the direction we’re going. Super excited to be working on it with the team at Advantage.

David:
Well, it all sounds like a really good deal for everybody. The combination of these two great companies, the advantages for both sets of clients, the new efficiencies and the opportunities, I think it’s a great thing. I’d really like to thank you guys so much for spending some time with me today. You-all have a great day.

Ellen Coulter:
Thanks so much for the opportunity.

Frost Prioleau:
Well, thanks, David very much for hosting us. Really appreciate it. We’re super excited about the work we’re doing with Advantage going forward.

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