ePrize Continues Its Mobile Growth With Mozes Acquisition

1/29/13Follow @XconomyDET

The Pleasant Ridge, MI-based interactive promotions company ePrize has announced its second major acquisition in 12 months, a move that represents the next big step in its plan to ramp up the mobile portion of its business.

ePrize didn’t disclose the terms under which it acquired Palo Alto, CA-based Mozes, but did say it will retain Mozes’ employees and offices in Palo Alto and Nashville, TN. ePrize CEO Matt Wise says his company was interested in Mozes because it was a leader in the mobile, cross-platform engagement of live audiences at sporting events, concerts, and during live television broadcasts. Mozes has lead campaigns for Live Nation, Ford, Coca-Cola, and the American Idols Live Tour.

The acquisition “fits into the broader picture of what ePrize is trying to do—engage consumers and connect with them between the online and offline world,” Wise explains. “This helps connect brands to consumers in the offline arena.”

More Americans, especially those in the coveted 18-to-25-year-old demographic, are connecting with the Internet primarily through handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones. Wise describes it as a “watershed time” for consumer behavior, and one that is dramatically affecting the way consumers connect with ePrize’s online marketing and promotions campaigns. “Eventually,” Wise says, “mobile will be the majority of our business.”

But digital engagement is also moving into a space where social media plays an ever-growing role, necessitating engagement that can cross platforms and bridge the gap between cyberspace and, as our hacker/programmer friends like to call it, meatspace. Wise says the day is coming when shoppers will be able to walk into a store in the mall and interact with even the music being piped through the speakers using their mobile devices.

Wise notes that the fourth quarter of 2012 was “huge” for ePrize’s clients, with a marked upswing in marketing campaigns that incorporated text messaging. By the 2013 holiday season, he expects text-message marketing will be a mainstream practice. “Marketers want to close the loop using social media and customers’ handheld devices in the store, which means they can start to track the efficiency of promotions. I expect that to pick up in 2013, too.”

In January 2012, ePrize acquired the Chicago-based Cellit, which helped ePrize increase its mobile CRM (customer relationship management) presence. In August, ePrize itself was acquired by the Greenwich, CT-based private equity firm Catterton Partners in a deal worth undisclosed millions—and one that was reportedly lucrative for local investors, including Quicken Loans‘ Dan Gilbert. Now, with the acquisition of Mozes, Wise says ePrize’s platform is further bolstered as the company heads into the mobile-dominated future. “The acquisition is a testament to the concept that we have to connect offline and online, because that’s what marketers are demanding,” he adds.

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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