Q&A with Randall-Reilly SVP of Digital Nick Reid on Smart Rhino Acquisition & Data Aspirations
Last week Randall-Reilly completed the acquisition of Smart Rhino Labs, which offers recruiting services in the trucking industry. Randall-Reilly, a B2B media, data, and marketing services firm serving trucking, construction, agriculture and other industrial markets will use the acquisition of Smart Rhino Labs to supplement its existing truck driver recruiting business.
Rather than just turn over leads to clients, Randall-Reilly wants to continue to take advantage of the interest they stimulate in the market and assist clients with the follow-up process. Smart Rhino Labs’ recruiting technologies and processes use SMS, email and VOIP phone technologies help nurture candidate interest and move them through the funnel.
The Smart Rhino acquisition will also bring a lot of complementary data to the table and buoy Randall-Reilly’s growing data and data-powered services and platforms. Smart Rhino brings assets and expertise in job distribution, mobile recruiting, high-volume hiring and a owned and operated network of 25 job boards, all of which yield unique data sets. As Randall-Reilly VP of data Prescott Shibles expressed in a recent interview with Publishing Executive, granular and actionable audience insights will be the ground where B2B media companies can gain competitive advantage over massive-scale platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to better serve marketers.
In the following interview, Randall-Reilly SVP of digital Nick Reid explains the motivation behind the Smart Rhino Labs (SRL) acquisition, how it will play to Randall-Reilly’s data strengths, and the company’s optimistic acquisition-based growth plan for the future.
What were the motivations behind the Smart Rhino Labs acquisition?
Randall-Reilly’s driver recruitment business accelerated with the advent of the smartphone. Instead of relying on print publications to generate calls for clients, we began to target our audience using data on channels like Google and Facebook to create efficiency. We see the next level of efficiency gains coming from helping clients do a better job of connecting and converting response. A typical Randall-Reilly client loses as much as 30% of their response from not being able to immediately connect with leads that we send them. The inefficiencies in getting a lead back on the phone after their initial interest can drive that 30% even higher when you consider ROI metrics like cost-per-hire or cost-per-sale.
What were some of the key considerations in the acquisition?
Our strategic plan focuses on acquisitions that give us complementary datasets, new capabilities that solve client pain points, new clients where we already have data or elements that reinforce existing barriers to entry in our markets. Smart Rhino Labs brought all four, but especially the first two.
How does this play into RR’s overall business objectives?
We’ve spent the past 10 years achieving double-digit growth organically. In the next five years, we think that we can further accelerate our growth rates by making acquisitions that open up new budgets and solve new problems to fuel growth. We think this approach opens up far more exciting opportunities for Randall-Reilly than the typical efficiency-driven rollups common in the market today.
SRL adds significant lead nurturing capabilities that leverage both traditional channels like email, but also include SMS and a contact center that offers both inbound and outbound services. By using more channels to create touch points, SRL not only improves response but is able to gain more data points on leads from progressive profiling. Those services also benefit from significant integration, automation and optimization from their machine learning algorithms.
Obviously, there is a lot of valuable data at play with an acquisition like this. What opportunities do you see arising from the full integration of RR and Smart Rhino data?
The immediate impact is that our clients now have access to the most complete database of active & prospective CDL holders in the trucking industry. Depending on whose estimate you use for the total truck driving population, Randall-Reilly can now address 65% to 75% of the total market for truck drivers. The long-term opportunity is to apply Smart Rhino’s lead nurturing processes to the equipment ownership data we have in trucking, construction, agriculture and other industrial markets to help clients grow market share, improve inventory turn and expand operating margins.
What kind of technology integrations are required to support this?
We think we have a great start on this, since our customer data platform (Blueconic) already integrates with our email service provider PostUp, as well as Google, Facebook and the rest of our tech stack. In addition, both companies have strong APIs to connect new applications to our audience data, web sites and execution platforms. The next phase will see us connecting the more advanced technology that SRL used to achieve such great automation and scale.
How do you see this acquisition evolving over time?
The foundation of Randall-Reilly is data, and we want to add new layers of data, new channels to consume the data and services that make the data more actionable. SRL is going to become a huge part of those services we can offer clients to take our data and go activate it for marketing or sales applications.
Denis Wilson is the content director for Book Business and Publishing Executive as well as the FUSE Media and FUSE Digital Marketing summits. In this role, he analyzes and reports on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aims to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.