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Baltimore digital marketing company acquires Silicon Valley agency

Baltimore, MD -- 04/23/2014 -- The R2integrated office is one downtown office that glows in the dusk in a view from the pedestrian bridge between the Renaissance Hotel and Pratt Street Pavilion which crosses Pratt Street Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) [] (_DSC2709.dng)
Baltimore, MD -- 04/23/2014 -- The R2integrated office is one downtown office that glows in the dusk in a view from the pedestrian bridge between the Renaissance Hotel and Pratt Street Pavilion which crosses Pratt Street Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun Staff) [] (_DSC2709.dng) (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

R2integrated, a Baltimore-based digital marketer, has acquired the largest marketing services agency in California's Silicon Valley as part of its CEO's aspiration to establish his company as a national name in the growing online industry.

"My vision is to build a nationally recognized, multi-office, national marketing powerhouse headquartered here in Baltimore," said Matt Goddard, CEO and co-founder of R2integrated, as the company announced Thursday that it has joined forces with CatapultWorks, located near San Jose.

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"We finally found a company that we believe is the right fit," said Goddard, adding that another acquisition could be coming in the spring.

R2integrated, with offices on East Pratt Street, and CatapultWorks combine to create an operation of about 200 people and $30 million in revenue with offices here and in St. Louis, Seattle and Northern California.No layoffs or transfers are planned as part of the acquisition.Terms were not disclosed.

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"We're excited to work with the great folks at R2integrated," said Tom Beck, president and founder of CatapultWorks, a 20-year-old company with some 90 employees and clients including Chevron and UnitedHealthcare.

He said the CatapultWorks name likely will be phased out eventually.In his new role, Beck said, he would report to Goddard.

The two companies promote businesses in an array of digital forms across a variety of platforms, analyzing information on consumers and customizing their client's pitch accordingly — a technique called "cloud marketing."

Goddard said CatapultWorks' strength in developing brands would complement R2integrated's other strengths, as "people don't come to us for the brand."

An acquisition has been in the works since late 2012, five years after R2integrated was launched, Goddard said. He and co-founders David Taub and Chris Chodnicki started working with investor ORIX Private Equity to find a suitable company to buy, looking at 25 or 30 companies before deciding on CatapultWorks.

They began talking with CatapultWorks executives about six months ago.

"We wanted comparable capabilities to us, but different," said Goddard, whose company's clients include Under Armour, Hershey's, Microsoft and MasterCard.

The move comes as this form of marketing is growing with the expansion of social media and increasingly sophisticated analysis of consumer behavior online. Companies such as R2integrated and CatapultWorks use the data to target customers individually as they use smartphones, tablets and computers.

"There are literally a thousand new technology software platforms and tools," Beck said. This relatively new marketing universe provides "a whole new way you can drive messages."

Anil K. Gupta, the Michael D. Dingman chair in strategy, globalization and entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, said this expanding field draws on the work of the "high priests," as he calls the tech giants Microsoft, Apple and Google, who made technology so readily available.

"This is part of a broader development," Gupta said. "Technology today has become so ubiquitous and so accessible, and increasingly less and less expensive, there is a huge opportunity for technology creators."

Gupta said R2integrated's move to establish offices around the country makes sense, as their work would involve a lot of contact with their clients, and there's only so much that can be done through email, phone and video conferencing.

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"The more creative the task, the more the need for communication with the client," he said.

Goddard said there may be another acquisition to announced in the next 60 days.

"As an entrepreneur, you can have a small, local business and be very successful, or you can build something big" said Goddard, who, like his partner Taub, grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Towson University.

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