Social ad startup Unified just announced that it has hired Calvin Lui as its president and chief strategy officer.
Lui was formerly president and CEO of online ad startup Tumri. He also served as chief operating officer for Internet marketer Connexus and SVP of sales and marketing for Ticketmaster. At Unified, Lui says he’ll be looking at companywide strategy, as well as corporate and business development. He’ll report directly to CEO Sheldon Owen, who will oversee day-to-day operations and sales.
Today is Lui’s first official day on the job, but he’s been advising the company for the past year, and I met up with him earlier this week to discuss his new role. He said he signed up because there’s a huge opportunity here, with social media transforming user behavior, and as a result, “Marketers at this point are really ready for enterprise technology solutions.”
That’s where Unified comes in, with tools that brands and agencies to manage social ad campaigns.
The company likes to tout the fact that its executive team has enterprise experience and isn’t just a bunch of ad guys (it has ad experience too). Now it looks like the real enterprise tech giants are getting interested in the market, with Oracle acquiring Vitrue and Salesforce acquiring Buddy Media. Lui says Unified has a slightly different focus than companies like Buddy, which have built tools for “owned audience management” (i.e., helping companies engage with their Facebook fans), rather than a “holistic” solution that also includes “paid management” (namely, ads).
As for what’s coming next, Lui notes that Unified has been on the market for about a year now. He says that first year was about the “proof of concept” — while “the second year is really about investment in the technology.”