James, formerly European managing director at Acxiom, and CEO, Digital, of Starcom Mediavest Group, will be in charge of Verve’s international business.
James will report to Verve CEO Nada Stirratt, who is nearing her first anniversary since taking the helm of the New York-based company. Stirratt and James both previously worked at consumer data company Acxiom.
Hiring Spree Continues
Aside from that experience, James has also served as CEO, Digital, of Starcom Mediavest Group. Bringing on James to lead its global expansion follows a string of notable hires over the past several months, including former Nokia exec Dr. Mark Ollila as GM/chief of staff of Verve’s innovation and new products group, and Gian LaVecchia to the role of VP of client strategy and development.
More recently, Verve brought in location tech veteran Mike Cottle in as VP, business development. Cottle, who took a brief stint at geo-data player Mapsense and left after that company was acquired by Apple, is charged Building out Verve’s content and technology partnerships worldwide.
Cottle’s large location industry experience includes having formerly worked for location-based service provider deCarta, where he spent 10 years as VP of worldwide sales. An early provider in location-based services going back to the mid-1990s, Uber acquired deCarta in March to enhance its own internal mapping abilities.
Local And Global
Last month, Verve released a white label self-service ad program that promises local businesses the same geo-targeting capabilities that its enterprise and agency partners currently have.
As the demand from global marketers to reach hyperlocal consumers via online-to-offline marketing has risen, Verve and a number of other companies in the space have worked to plant their respective flags in Europe. In February, for example, analytics provider Factual named former PubMatic exec Rob Jonas as its first SVP of Revenue in February and charged him with helping to build out its international business.
In tapping James to lead international, Verve cited eMarketer estimates that mobile ad spend will exceed $100 billion globally this year.
More specifically, U.K. smartphone penetration reached 74 percent in 2015, with British consumers “spending over four-fifths of their mobile time on apps, rather than browsers – driving demand for engaging, tailored experiences at their fingertips,” Verve said.
In shifting its focus to the U.K. to start its international expansion, James pointed to a number of similarities between the U.S. and U.K. markets. For one thing, smartphone penetration is reported to be the same and the increase in app versus browser usage is promising.
Also, 70 percent of U.K. TV viewers use their mobile phones while watching TV, highlighting market readiness for additional mobile experiences. “We know that there is a high need for the solutions we provide, whether offered as a managed service or a self-serve platform option for local businesses and the local agency partners that support them,” James told GeoMarketing.
“Fueled by our accelerated growth in the U.S., we are extremely bullish on bringing our robust capabilities and strategic perspectives to mobile marketers across the global arena,” said Verve CEO Nada Stirratt, in a statement. “In the U.K., we are seeing marketers and publishers embracing Verve’s proven, smarter, data-driven approach to mobile marketing, and we are only at the beginning of this surging global demand curve.”