Right now there’s a cutthroat battle between social marketing platforms to represent the world’s biggest brands. In hopes of seducing dollars from offline and clients from competitors, social marketing platform FanBridge has just hired former Buddy Media’s GM of lifestyle brands David Dowd. Previously the head of branded content biz dev for Google, his experience courting fashion, retail, luxury and other companies there and at Buddy Media will give him the edge as FanBridge’s new VP of brands.
Selling big brands on the future is tough. There’s plenty of social skeptics still clinging to TV. Many companies aren’t shifting their whole marketing budgets to digital, but that’s the direction the money is flowing. Be it Buddy Media, FanBridge, or their many competitors, those who can lock down trend-setting clients and get positioned for the coming wave will surf their way to multi-million dollar contracts.
For background, FanBridge powers digital brand promotion with custom landing pages, branded apps for social network Pages, and an email marketing platform. Dowd will be managing the latter, FanBridge’s Social Digest, which lets web celebs and brands automatically send an email of their top content like photos and videos to their email list each week. Dowd is tasked with getting more brands using the product, and paying for ad space on the digests sent by other clients that reach 8 million people. [Update: We've learned it's been a while since David Dowd worked at Buddy Media, though FanBridge told me he was "hired from" the competing social marketer.]
“Branded entertainment is a massive, $51 billion market” says Dowd. He’s not the only one who sees it, judging by the massive rounds social marketing platforms have been raising. Buddy Media raised a $54 million Series B, Vitrue took a $17 million Series C, Wildfire snagged a $10 million Series B, and thisMoment pulled in a $7.3 million Series A. In comparison, the $2 million FanBridge raised a year ago seems small, but it was already cash-flow positive at the time. All these companies are constantly vying to sign “The World’s Top 10/100/1000 Brands”, so expect more shuffling of people like Dowd that come packing direct relationships with sought-after clients.