3 Months After GSI Buy, eBay Expands Digital Agencies

Three months after being acquired by eBay, GSI Commerce is expanding its digital marketing capabilities and winning new business. GSI is known primarily for its e-commerce services for Toys ‘R’ Us and other major brands, which prompted eBay to pay about $2.4 billion. The company also operates two agencies: True Action Network, a full-service digital shop, and SilverLign, a digital design content boutique in San Jose, Calif.

hendellUnder eBay’s ownership, True Action has taken on the marketing chores for several of GSI’s e-commerce clients. In late August, for instance, Dollar General signed on to “leverage the agency’s broad range of performance marketing services,” says Reuben Hendell, CEO of True Action and SilverLign (pictured).

True Action, with five offices in London and the U.S., has also won a handful of (undisclosed) clients directly and consequently has been on a hiring binge. Together the agencies now have 400 employees, says Hendell, with the bulk working for True Action. Its major clients are Toy ‘R’ Us, GNC, Aeropostale and Dollar General.

True Action is also negotiating with eBay to handle some of its digital marketing needs, says Hendell.

True Action’s expansion from e-commerce and direct marketing into engagement marketing is the engine behind its growth. “Our focus is to use analytics, branding, mobile, display and other digital tools to get browsers to become buyers,” says Hendell. “We address our clients’ holistic business needs and provide tight integration of demand generation and shopping experiences. Our goal isn’t just engagement. Our goal is to get people to buy things.”

Hendell joined the agency a year ago after six years as CEO of MRM, the digital arm of McCann Worldgroup. In addition to his agency role, Hendell serves as the chief strategy officer of GSI’s marketing services division. He declined to comment whether eBay is considering spinning off the digital agencies as a separate unit.

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