360i Veterans Join Ecommerce Firm Profitero and Hope to Support Brands Amid Disruption

Bryan Wiener is now CEO, and Sarah Hofstetter is president of the company

Sarah Hofstetter and Bryan Wiener photographed in 2018 for Adweek's Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year. Sasha Maslov for Adweek

Key insights:

Bryan Wiener and Sarah Hofstetter have joined Profitero, an ecommerce analytics platform, as CEO and president, respectively.

While ecommerce has been on a steady rise for years—Amazon was founded more than 15 years ago, after all—the coronavirus pandemic has put its growth rate into overdrive.

Consumers were already going online for more and more of their shopping needs, but the reality of life under quarantine has changed and expanded those needs, especially as it pertains to necessities like groceries and household items. All of a sudden, due to the unprecedented global crisis, people are afraid or unable to enter brick-and-mortar shops.

These are the kinds of disruptive environments ad veterans and entrepreneurs Wiener and Hofstetter live for.

They did it together at 360i as well as independently in several roles related to startup growth and digital marketing before and since. 360i, which they led for over a decade, is credited with breaking ground in social media and search-based marketing, perhaps most notably with Oreo’s “Dunk in the Dark” Super Bowl stunt in 2013.

“In general, the story of our careers has been loving disruptive industries and disruptive environments,” Wiener said. By capitalizing on change driven by consumer behavior and then helping marketers catch up, meet customers and transform their businesses, they’ve found an exciting and valuable niche.

Now, they’re headed into a new adventure with Profitero, a company that’s poised to help brands navigate one of the biggest disruptions the economy has seen in decades.

Founded in 2010, Profitero uses unique technology to glean information from thousands of retailer websites in dozens of countries to help clients understand where opportunity lies within the massive, messy world of ecommerce.

“The technology at its simplest form allows you to be able to get that line of sight into your product, your placement, your promotion, your price, across 8,000 retailers in 50 countries with hundreds of data points,” Hofstetter said. “And that lets you make very informed decisions about how to drive your business forward. And that, I think, is just so freakin’ cool.”

While it’s impossible to know now what the lasting effects of the coronavirus-related slowdown will be, there are definitely some clues, and an accelerated adoption of ecommerce is one of them, Wiener said.

While analytics companies have been around to support brands looking to optimize their placement in supermarket aisles, ecommerce provides unique challenges for brands. “Things are literally changing minute by minute,” Wiener said. And because things move so fast, brands need more than just information—they need recommendation engines to tell them how to adjust their product placement on a day-by-day basis.

Failing to keep up with these changes can result in a huge “misalignment” between consumer behavior and marketer readiness, Hofstetter said. In a study Profitero conducted with Kantar from September to December, only 17% of more than 200 brand leaders surveyed said they felt their companies were “ahead of the curve” when it comes to ecommerce.

And now, it’s all happening at once. This uptick in ecommerce was “something that was going to be happening over the course of five years,” Hofstetter said. Instead, Wiener added, it’s happened in about five weeks.

Wiener and Hofstetter departed from Comscore, another analytics company, around a year ago, citing differences with the company’s board. Hofstetter sits on the board of Campbell Soup Company, and Wiener is on the board of Cars.com.

@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.