Malone Makes Interactive Move

Ohio Shop Sees Deal as Competitive Edge
CHICAGO–Malone Advertising’s top executive thinks the shop’s majority stake in Zeris Interactive is key to pulling ahead in the Ohio market.
“Zeris has true back-end capability,” said Fred Bidwell, president and chief executive of-ficer of the Akron agency. “They have the ability to create real customer management functionality into their Web sites.”
Malone earlier this month announced its plans to buy a major stake in Zeris, which has offices in Raleigh, N.C., and Hudson, Ohio. Malone also has offices in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Zeris will eventually move its Ohio operation into Malone’s headquarters in Akron’s Advanced Esatomer Systems building, Bidwell said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Bidwell acknow-ledged that Ohio shops have not been on the cutting edge of interactive marketing, which is why he thinks the Zeris deal is important.
“We’ve looked for a while to add a Web capability,” Bidwell said. “We did not want to just add Web designers. Web design has become a commodity.”
Zeris’s systems will go beyond Web-site design to develop ways to link each contact a customer has with a business, Bidwell said. K