Vendasta has acquired MatchCraft from Advance Local, which publishes newspapers and associated websites and is owned by Advance Publications. Advance bought MatchCraft in 2014. MatchCraft was formed in 1998, the same year Google was founded.
For most of MatchCraft's history it has worked with channel partners focused on selling advertising services to small businesses (SMBs) – initially paid-search but now across digital channels. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The following is a Q&A interview with Vendasta CEO Brendan King about the acquisition and why it makes sense for both companies.
NM: Why did Advance Local sell MatchCraft?
BK: Given the demand for marketing technology solutions in the market, Advance Local decided the timing was right to find a strategic buyer for MatchCraft that could support its next phase of growth. Advance Local will remain a client of MatchCraft and is excited to continue working with the MatchCraft and Vendasta teams in the future.
NM: Why did Vendasta buy MatchCraft?
BK: As local businesses begin to open their doors again, we’re seeing higher demand from our partners, and advertising spending is projected to grow. We’ve learned that marketing without advertising is really only half of the equation, and have been looking to get into advertising technology for a while. But building advertising technology is hard. It requires subject matter and technical knowledge, and it’s a very dynamic space. Something like this would have taken time. Bringing MatchCraft to our customer base accelerates this timeline by at least five years.
MatchCraft had all of those key ingredients: a talented team of industry experts with enterprise sales and software knowledge, a fantastic AdTech platform, and a large set of loyal enterprise customers. The best part is that we’ve been friends for years.
We’re fortunate to be continuing that friendship in an exciting way for our collective partners and their clients. This partnership will bring MatchCraft’s enterprise-grade AdTech to our partners in due time. At the heart of it all is a desire to better serve the local experts in our communities so that they can help businesses in their area reach, attract, and retain customers.
NM: We assume you will continue to service existing MatchCraft customers and markets. Is that correct?
BK: MatchCraft will continue to operate as an autonomous company, and their customers and markets can expect “business as usual” when it comes to the integrity of the products and services they provide. As the year evolves, we will pursue opportunities to connect our robust MarTech and AdTech platforms.
NM: Will you sell directly to advertisers or offer MatchCraft's capabilities to existing customers on a white-labeled basis?
BK: Neither Vendasta nor MatchCraft sell directly to the advertiser (ie. a small business). We work by empowering channel partners with the tools they need to serve their local business clients.
We intend to integrate the MatchCraft and Vendasta platforms. Both are offered today on a white-label basis and we will continue to support this. We anticipate a Vendasta platform integration that will deliver enterprise-grade advertising technology to our partners. The extent of the integrations will be more evident come mid-2022.
NM: Which market segments will you target?
BK: Our vision is to take MatchCraft’s enterprise-level platform and bring it to thousands of mid-market agencies, ISVs, MSPs, and media companies.
Similarly, MatchCraft’s enterprise customers will have access to an end-to-end platform to market, sell, bill, fulfill and deliver a complete stack of digital solutions--from advertising to marketing to e-commerce, productivity, and everything in between--at scale for the local businesses they serve.
NM: What was Vendasta doing for paid media/PPC in the past?
BK: We used the native tools directly and relied on third parties to offer advertising services to our partners. We will continue to grow and support third-party services.
Now, in addition to offering digital advertising as a service, we will equip our partners with a robust AdTech platform should they decide to keep the advertising in-house.
NM: How much of the MatchCraft team is being retained?
BK: All of them! And we intend to grow both our teams.
NM: What else is important to understand about the deal or its benefits?
BK: At the highest level we are building an ecosystem around the supply, demand, and distribution of technology and services for SMBs.
- SMBs have the demand for SaaS products and services like AdTech, MarTech, productivity - everything they need to run their business.
- Vendors have the supply of products and services those businesses need.
- The way SMBs obtain these is via distribution that comes via our channel partner customers including agencies, media companies, managed service providers, and telcos -the companies SMBs trust.
Local businesses and our partners looking to attract and retain customers rely on a digital marketing stack to ensure they have all their bases covered. Customers today are increasingly flocking online to find what they need, and businesses need to be there to help them. Business owners need to ask themselves: Do customers know about you? Can they find you? Do they trust you? Do they like you? Will they convert? And will they remain loyal? The affirmative answers to those questions are delivered through advertising, listings, reputation management, social marketing, and websites.
Our partners have always been hungry for digital advertising because it represents the starting pistol for any customer or client. If they don’t know about you—well—it can all end there. It’s a big reason why we’re excited to get rolling on our plans with the MatchCraft team.