MarketBeat.com - Executive of the Year

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Company: MarketBeat.com, Sioux Falls, SD
Entry Submitted By: American Consumer News, LLC
Company Description: MarketBeat.com is an Inc. 5000 financial media company that is committed to making real-time investing information available to investors at all levels. MarketBeat publishes a daily investment newsletter to more than 425,000 subscribers and its network of financial news websites attracts more than 4 million visitors each month.
Nomination Category: Management Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Executive of the Year - Internet/New Media

Nomination Title: Matthew Paulson, President

Tell the story about what this nominated executive has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Describe the impact he or she has had on your organization. Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

MarketBeat faced significant financial headwinds at the beginning of 2016. The company was being compensated at lower rates by its partner display advertising network, the business had just lost a major email advertising deal and competitors began copying MarketBeat's unique marketing strategies. All signs pointed to 2016 to being a down year for the company after strong growth in 2015. These headwinds caused the company's revenue to drop by more than 40% in the first half of 2016.

Matthew recognized that advertisers in the financial media industry were changing their buying habits and would be less willing to spend money on impression-based online display advertising in the future. Instead, they preferred to work directly with advertisers on a performance basis. Matthew knew that he would need to find creative ways to increase the size of MarketBeat's audience and create new publishing channels for the company that could be pitched to advertisers. He implemented a variety of paid advertising campaigns, including the creation of an affiliate program and launched a significant co-registration advertising campaign. He also significantly expanded the company's social media presence and pioneered the use of desktop push notifications in the financial media space--attracting more than 30,000 desktop push notification recipients in the first three months of usage.

Matthew published two mass-market personal finance and investing books in 2016, including The Ten-Year Turnaround and Automatic Income, to drive new reader interest in MarketBeat's content. The success of these two books caused Amazon to rank Matthew as a top-ten author by sales in the business and money category of the Kindle Store. More than 25,000 copies of Matthew's books have been purchased or downloaded to date through Amazon.

Matthew also worked to diversify the company's revenue by growing its recurring subscription offerings. At the beginning of the year, the company offered seven subscription products with overlapping features and benefits. Matthew consolidated the company's product offerings to just three products with clearly differentiated features. He reworked, relaunched and created significant marketing campaigns for each of the company's three subscription products. These efforts grew the company's annual recurring revenue by more than $250,000 in 2016.

Matthew's audience growth and income diversification efforts paid off. His efforts attracted more than 350,000 new email subscribers in 2016 alone. The company's websites received a record 37 million page views. While the company's display advertising revenue run-rate was down by more than $225,000 in 2016, he was able to make that up and more by growing email advertising revenue by 117% in 2016 and subscription revenue by 20% in 2016. Matthew effectively transformed the company from a business that was largely driven by display advertising revenue to a business that is based on recurring revenue and sustainable relationships with direct advertisers in 12 short months.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this nominated executive since the beginning of 2016.

- Matthew's leadership enabled MarketBeat to grow by more 729% between 2012 and 2015, earning the company a spot on Inc. Magazine's annual list of fastest-growing privately-held companies (Inc. 5000). Inc. also recognized MarketBeat as the fastest-growing privately-held company in South Dakota in 2016.
- Matthew instituted a variety of new marketing campaigns which attracted more than 350,000 new email opt-ins and 37 million website page views in 2016.
- Matthew published two best-selling personal finance and investing books in 2016, including The Ten Year Turnaround: Transform Your Personal Finances and Achieve Financial Freedom in The Next Ten Years and Automatic Income: How to Use the Power of Dividend Investing to Beat the Market and Generate Passive Income for Life.
- Amazon ranked Matthew as a top ten author in the business and money category of the Kindle store (as measured by Amazon Author Rank).