Chapter 21

Hipcricket Weathers the Recession

Although they didn’t always grab the headlines, such successes as the one seen in Baltimore were common for Ivan Braiker and his Hipcricket colleagues. By 2009, Hipcricket ran compelling demonstrations with mobile phones, injected the measurability-of-mobile story into its sales materials and pitches, and gave jittery marketers and advertisers confidence that their dollars would be more trackable and work harder when used in conjunction with calls to action inserted into media that they were already employing.

As a result, Hipcricket became the go-to mobile provider for broadcast companies with increased business from Clear Channel among others. Hipcricket also saw a pickup in assignments from brands and agencies, in large part because it had moved to become a full-service company that could bring clients broad and deep offerings that ran from strategy to a gamut of products and services, including mobile advertising, mobile Web, and analytics.

The business advanced but Tom Virgin, Hipcricket’s chief financial officer, was in search of even more traction.

“I think I was frustrated because every year has been the ‘Year of Mobile’ since we got here,” he says. “I think we’re still waiting for the ‘Year of Mobile’ but it’s looking better. It was frustrating for a while, then we figured out it was the same for everybody in mobile, and, in fact, because of the downturn in the economy, it was the same for a lot of people in a lot of companies. ...

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