The former CEO of Epsilon’s e-mail division has finally landed at a new firm, almost exactly a year after he was ushered from his post with the database marketing giant under curious circumstances.
Al DiGuido will be chief executive at Zustek, a 110-employee e-mail marketing outfit with operations in California and India. The firm was recently acquired by private equity firm Investcorp Technology Partners, which intends to buy up digital marketing companies of various stripes with the goal of assembling a full-service interactive offering.
DiGuido, who writes a column for ClickZ, said Zustek’s services will eventually include SEO, SEM, site development, media planning and buying, creative, analytics services and CRM. As those capabilities are layered on through merger activity, he added, the acquired companies will be assimilated under the Zustek brand. Ultimately the firm aims to offer clients a soup to nuts acquisition and retention tool that will allow them — DiGuido hopes — to reduce the number of their agency relationships from four or five to one.
“It all really feeds the need I keep hearing from marketers,” DiGuido said. “They want an organization to serve as the general contractor. We’ll help them acquire customers, house them, retain them…. Down the road we’ll be able to give them analytics across the board.”
Despite Investcorp’s focus on growth through acquisitions, DiGuido said the company is not pursuing a roll-up strategy; he sought to distance Zustek from “folks out there that don’t know a lot about the market” yet are nonetheless buying up digital shops at great speed.
“You have to have the right people, the right technology, the right culture,” he said.
Zustek began as a unit within OSI, an Oracle database integration firm, and was spun off into its own company in 2001. Clients of its flagship eBizmailer product span numerous verticals, including travel, entertainment, hospitality, packaged goods and finance. Individual accounts include Time Inc., Sony, Park Place Entertainment and Live Nation. The firm maintains headquarters in Garden Grove, California and other offices in San Francisco and Hyderabad, India.
DiGuido’s return to e-mail marketing comes a year after he was relieved of his position as CEO of Epsilon Interactive under circumstances that took the industry by surprise and were never fully explained either by Epsilon’s leadership nor DiGuido himself. His departure was accompanied by a reorganization of Epsilon that did away with the Epsilon Interactive brand and saw the departure of three non-senior executives. DiGuido had been with the firm since 2005 when Epsilon acquired Bigfoot Interactive, where he had been CEO.
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