Expanding Reach and Relationships

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC  |  March 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of NGN.

Over the past decade, hundreds of companies have benefitted from TMC’s (News - Alert) Community program, attracting a laser-targeted group of potential customers who are looking to learn about a specific topic area. TMC populates these communities with thousands of articles per quarter – which in turn attracts millions of interested viewers a year to our sponsors.

Sponsors can then offer these viewers more information about themselves – offer them coupons, a chance to visit them at a trade show or road show, or whatever else they are looking to communicate to this group.

The most common question I am asked lately is how to build online communities. Moreover, companies in many new industries ask constantly about how TMC can help build these content-generated microsites for them.

As a result of these requests, we are now making these online communities available in multiple industries, and we have a new free webinar you can attend titled “Building Communities Online: Reduce Marketing Spend While Boosting Sales, Search and Social Initiatives”. You can attend on March 30 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST.

I think you’ll find this webinar quite valuable, as it will cover how to improve your marketing ROI by integrating results currently driven by search ads, SEO, social media and thought leadership into one integrated campaign. The webinar will also cover:

·       how the concept of targeted marketing has evolved;

·       how to build a news-generated, search optimized community online;

·       how your online community is more cost-effective, and powerful, than search click ad campaigns;

·       the common reasons why some online communities fail; and

·       why it is essential to partner with a respected editorial team when building your community.



On an altogether different note, last month at ITEXPO the rumor on the street was that PAETEC may be doing a deal in India soon since Chairman and CEO Arunas Chesonis (News - Alert) was in the country. Well it seems if this is the case it comes on the heels of another purchase – XETA Technologies, which was just picked up by the company.PAETEC (News - Alert) sees strong synergy here as XETA is a large reseller of Avaya, HP, Juniper, LifeSize and Mitel (News - Alert) gear, with a strong focus on the health care, financial and retail markets.For XETA, the move makes sense, as its long-term chart looks like the Manhattan skyline just after the Empire State Building was built – basically, a massive valuation around the Y2K/dotcom time frame when most companies were installing new gear. Other than that, it has been mostly in the $2 to $3 range for the last five years or so. As of this writing, the stock is up $1.58, or 41 percent to $5.42.

So for XETA an exit makes good sense and for PAETEC, it gets a chance to add to its cloud services as XETA offers managed solutions in security, training, telephony management, end user support and more.Still at a P/E of 41, the valuation of a company making most of its living rolling trucks seems high. But then again a pure-play cloud company like Salesforce.com (News - Alert) trades at a sky-high 244 times.

For PAETEC, this purchase is about expanding its reach and relationships as well as the managed services aspects of the deal. Moreover, the company has a large new channel that will carry the Allworx product line. Chesonis says that this move is partially motivated by the vertical markets XETA focuses on: hospitality, education, health care and government. But this is enough verticals to make the company a horizontal reseller. Sure, manufacturing is left out, but what sane businessperson is focusing here if he or she doesn't have to?This move is smart for both companies, and so far PAETEC's stock is up 3 cents to $4.15, which means the street probably likes the news, or they don't think it is big enough to make a big difference.According to Chesonis, another reason for the purchase was to bring the company's Quagga business – an acquisition it made on June 8, 2010 – and make it national overnight. Moreover, the fact that XETA is located in Tulsa where the company has one of its large data centers was a factor in making this deal more attractive.Chesonis also confirmed the rumor I heard at ITEXPO about a potential India deal. He went to Mumbai recently with some board members potentially to do a deal that he says could be in Canada, the U.K. and/or India. The goal of this would be to support current customers in the U.S. As he explained, he couldn't tell me if anything is imminent, but he did say this was his first trip to India and the best part was the food.

Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi