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ION Loyalty Rewards and Small Business Saturday

William Mills Agency     SionicMobile

ION Loyalty Rewards and Small Business Saturday

This week I got to sit down with another pair of movers and shakers in the technology and payment processing/ merchant services space in Atlanta.  William Mills of William Mills Agency introduced us to Ronald Herman, founder of Sionic Mobile.  We talked about the cool app the company has developed that gives merchants an elegant way to incentivize their customers to keep coming back to patronize their business.  The Loyalty app is designed in such a way that as customers spend money they earn “ions” they can then redeem at any participating merchant.  I also spoke with Terri Dennison, Georgia District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) about the upcoming Small Business Saturday and Small Business Saturday Night this coming November 29th.

The William Mills Agency has been in the Atlanta area for over 35 years, providing a suite of PR services, with a heavy focus on the financial services/payment processing technology sector.  The company provides public relations, crisis management, brand awareness/marketing strategy, and content marketing.  The William Mills Agency leadership team is heavily involved in the TAG FinTech Society.  FinTech is a group of professionals representing a broad range of financial technologies as well as a variety of roles within the industry, including executive management, solution specialists, sales and marketing, industry entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.  William has worked with 500-600+ innovative technology companies.  Even so, he was particularly intrigued by the model put forth by Ron Herman and his team at Sionic Mobile; so much so he became a member of the advisory board for the company.

Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile markets to smartphone consumers and rewards them for every mobile checkout. The mCommerce company utilizes mobile devices, Bluetooth® beacons and the cloud to connect merchants with nearby, ready-to-spend consumers. The company is the maker and provider of ION — the first, fully digital mobile promotions, gift cards, payments and rewards apps for phones and tablets. Merchants use ION Loyalty® to increase traffic, sales & margins, reduce credit card fees and get good customers back more often.  Users of the ION Consumers use ION Rewards® to earn IONs at every checkout, then spend them like cash on anything at any time at nearly 40,000 retail locations nationwide. The free apps support iOS and most Android devices.

The Small Business Administration provides a host of services designed to enhance the likelihood of success for small businesses in the US.  Their overarching goal is to increase available jobs through helping small businesses (who make up >50% of US business commerce) grow.  I got to speak with Terri Dennison of the Small Business Administration about their initiative to support small businesses through the Small Business Saturday campaign, aimed at encouraging US consumers to include local small business retailers in their holiday shopping.  SBA encourages America to support local economies shopping small on November 29th.  At the SBA, they know small businesses are vital to the growth and prosperity of the American economy. Since the recession, small businesses have created two out of three new private sector jobs… these firms are largely responsible for America’s 10.3 million new jobs that have led to 56 straight months of job growth.  Accelerating our recovery means creating the right environment and implementing the best policies for small businesses to thrive. The entrepreneurs the SBA works with face many challenges, but among the greatest is getting new customers in the door.  That’s why the SBA is proud to be part of Small Business Saturday – it’s a perfect time to promote your business and find new customers. On November 29th, millions of consumers across the country will participate in Small Business Saturday. More than 70 percent of Americans are now aware that two days after Thanksgiving is a day devoted to shopping small.  Last year, nearly half of all consumers who knew about Small Business Saturday…. acted on it … spending an estimated $5.7 billion dollars at local merchants across the nation. So we want to continue this momentum… And we’re asking you to help us promote the message that Small Business Saturday is day when buying gifts for the people we love … supports jobs and prosperity in the communities we call home.

We all have a stake in seeing foot traffic increase on Main Street.  We want to encourage shoppers to seek out unique, handmade gifts they won’t find at a big-box retailer.  And we want to see Internet traffic spike, too, with purchases of “gifts to ship” – and gift certificates from restaurants and service providers.  Everyone can spread the word about Small Business Saturday by recommending their favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter. The SBA is helping to spearhead an effort this Nov. 29 to extend the hours, so to speak, by promoting Small Business Saturday Night.  We know many of our small businesses are local restaurants and food purveyors…After a busy day of shopping, we want to encourage consumers to patronize their local small business restaurants and favorite watering holes.  The SBA is partnering this year with the National Restaurant Association to encourage families who are shopping small to “dine small” at local restaurants Saturday night.  Additionally, we’re encouraging small business merchants to extend their hours so they can take advantage increased nighttime foot traffic on Small Business Saturday Night.  So I hope we can create some synergy in this effort to keep Small Business Saturday going when the sun goes down.  To help in your preparations, I want to direct you to where we have holiday marketing tips, ideas and materials … even for entrepreneurs on a limited budget.  And use our hashtags on Twitter: #SmallBizSaturday for Small Business Saturday and #DineSmall  for Small Business Saturday Night.

Special Guests:

William Mills, Owner of William Mills Agency  Twitter 16x16  Facebook  Linkedin  google-plus-logo-red-265px  youtube logo  feed logo

William Mills Agencies

  • BA Communications, Florida State University
  • Member, Executive Committee of Florida State University College of Communications & Information’s Advisory board
  • Has been quoted as an expert for Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Entrepreneur
  • Contributor for numerous publications

Ron Herman, CEO of SionicMobile  google-plus-logo-red-265px  Facebook  Twitter 16x16  Linkedin  


  • Founder and Former CEO, Urban Informatics Corporation
  • >19 years of Executive Leadership roles in Technology Start-up to Fortune 500 Companies
  • Former CEO, Intellione Technologies

Terri Dennsion, District Director, US Small Business Administration Georgia District Office  Facebook  Blogger 2  youtube logo  google-plus-logo-red-265px  Twitter 16x16 

Small Business Administration Georgia Office

  • Former Deputy District Director, US Small Business Administration Indiana District Office
  • MA Urban Studies, Trinity University
  • Recipient: Atlanta Business League 100 Most Influential Black Women, 2006-2008
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle 100 Top Professionals in Banking and Finance, 2007-2011

Marketing Eye, SolTech, Cox Digital Solutions, and Pindrop Security

soltech marketing eye

Marketing Eye, SolTech, Cox Digital Communications, and Pindrop Security

Today, I had the opportunity to feature another four technology companies that help businesses grow and operate more efficiently.  I was pleased to host Marketing Eye, SolTech, Cox Digital Solutions, and Pindrop Security.  Mellissah Smith, founder and CEO of Marketing Eye brought along Veanne Smith, Vice President of SolTech, an innovative Atlanta technology company and client of Marketing Eye.  One of the digital strategy experts from Cox Digital Solutions, Drew Erickson, joined us to talk about why it makes sense to work with Cox Media and their digital team to maximize ROI on investing in a digital marketing strategy.  And Matt Anthony, VP of Marketing for Pindrop Security stopped by to talk about how they help companies avoid falling victim to phone fraud of a variety of types, protecting them and their customers from financial loss.

Marketing Eye is a disruptive marketing consulting firm that delivers small to medium-sized businesses with an experienced marketing team for a small, weekly fee. Their outsourced marketing solution delivers exponential growth to the companies we work with through a strategic approach and clear understanding of marketing strategy, creative, brand, lead generation, public relations, and sales and marketing automation.  Marketing Eye’s model is simple; they provide businesses with a marketing manager and outsourced marketing team dedicated to ensuring that your business achieves its marketing goals. Complete with branding, graphic design, web development, search engine optimization, social media, lead generation and direct marketing expertise – Marketing Eye is the ultimate results-orientated marketing solution in Atlanta.  Whether you need a marketing resource to accelerate your business growth, or a more strategic approached aligned to your business outcomes, Marketing Eye is well known for high performance, technology-driven marketing campaigns that deliver results for their clients.

SolTech is a Custom Software Development, Web Applications Services, IT Staffing and Technology Consulting Company in Atlanta, GA.   The company, now in its 16th year, helps companies fulfill visions of success and goals for growth through custom software development, strategic technology consulting, system integration, application infrastructure support, and staff augmentation. Using proven, structured methodologies to ensure outstanding deliverables, SolTech provides a quality alternative to high-priced consulting firms. Their promise to their staff and clients: to be honest about their capabilities, to stay focused on core services, and to remain committed to delivering quality results. To find out more about how SolTech can turn your company’s ideas into reality now and as you grow, visit their website.   The company is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Sitecore Partner and a Java certified developer.


Drew Erickson, Digital Sales Manager for WSB-TV and Cox Media Group. He consults with clients to develop a strategy for digital marketing, advertising, audience insights and lead generation programs. He’s been with Cox Media Group for over 10 years, all in digital marketing and advertising.  Their staff, comprised of a team of highly-experienced digital marketing experts, work closely with their clients to determine what their goals are.  They review what they have been doing to date to grow awareness of their brand, how effective those measures have been, and come up with a comprehensive set of recommendations that encompasses the variety of media types at their disposal to create a campaign that gives the greatest likelihood the brand gets its message in front of their target customers.  Cox Digital Solutions takes full advantage of today’s mobile technology, enabling their customers to display ads to prospective customers based on geo-location, allowing their clients to be very specific about where and when their message is displayed.  Cox Digial Solutions also leverages their role as a Google Premier Partner to take advantage of the wealth of analytics data available to them to place Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay Per Click (PPC) text and display ads that much more effectively.  They combine these tactics with recommendations for improvements to their clients’ websites to insure the landing page for displayed ads provides the highest likelihood of conversion once a prospective client visits the website.  As someone who has worked with the team at Cox Digital Solutions I can tell you it will quickly become apparent they are invested in your success as an advertiser investing money with them to grow your business.

Matt Anthony is the VP of Marketing for Pindrop Security.  I was fortunate to link up with them via Twitter and looked into what they do.  Prior to that I knew phone fraud occurs but I didn’t realize that it’s not only still going strong, it is as Matt put it, “a growth industry”.  Thieves have become experts at “social engineering”, meaning they are adept at personifying an authentic customer in an effort to obtain sensitive data from a helpful call center agent.  This puts any business that possesses sensitive information at risk for significant financial loss.  Pindrop Security has developed technologies that enable their client businesses to determine with a high degree of accuracy that a given call to their call center is likely a fraudulent attempt to breach their system.  The process of evaluating voice, originating device, and geographic location happens as quickly as 20 seconds into the call.  This means Pindrop Security customers are able to terminate those calls or lock down the account that the caller is attempting to access to prevent the theft before it happens.  This means that Pindrop Security clients are able to avoid significant  financial losses and potential legal issues that arise when their systems are breached, allowing sensitive data to be stolen.

Special Guests:

Mellissah Smith, Managing Director/Founder of Marketing Eye  Facebook  Twitter 16x16  Linkedin  Pinterest  feed logo

Marketing Eye

  • Founder/Owner, Insomnia Marketing and Communication
  • Founder, Marketing Eye Magazine
  • Author, “108 Ways to Market Your Small Business”
  • #2 Marketer to follow on Twitter, >47,000 followers on Twitter, >11,000 connections on LinkedIn
  • Hundreds of thousands of readers follow her blog

Veeanne Smith, Vice President/Founder of SolTech  Facebook  Pinterest  Twitter 16x16  Linkedin


  • Former VP, Computer Management Services/Computer Associates
  • Former Professional Services Manager, Computer Task Group/ctg
  • CS Advisory Board Member, Kennesaw State University
  • BS, Computer Science, Illinois State University

Drew Erickson, Digital Solutions Manager, Cox Digital Solutions/ WSB-TV  Twitter 16x16  Facebook  google-plus-logo-red-265px  Linkedin

Cox Digital Solutions

  • Former Owner, Drew Erickson Productions and Marketing
  • Former Sales Account Manager, Cox Radio
  • Former Digital Web Master, Cox Radio
  • IAB Digital Media Sales Certification, Interactive Advertising Bureau



Custom Software Development, Technical Recruiting & Staffing, Mobile Application Development, Hosting & Hardware Support, Strategic Consulting


SowGrow Public Relations and Dimensional Solutions Managed IT Services

Talking Public Relations with Stephanie Richards, MA, of SowGrow Public Relations and Managed IT Services with Mike Remy, CEO of Dimensional Solutions Managed IT

PR services IT services

Mike Remy of Dimensional Solutions Managed IT Svcs and Stephanie Richards of SowGrow Public Relations

This week we’ll learn how a good PR expert can help a company get exposure in local and national media outlets that helps expand their brand’s reach and recognition.  Stephanie Richards founded SowGrowPR in 2006 and focuses on B2B businesses in need of getting their stories told.  She has successfully obtained media coverage for numerous clients across a wide range of media outlets including, Sold, and Selling Power, numerous speaking engagements at industry trade shows, and more.

Mike Remy, CEO of Dimensional Solutions Managed IT explains their ala cart menu of service options available to their clients.  This lets the customer choose only the elements of outsourcing they need to achieve the highest level of IT reliability, troubleshooting, help desk services, security assessments, and more.  By providing an in-depth free consultation with their client they are able to identify problem areas and help their client company reduce fixed costs, helping to prevent downtime or catastrophic data loss.  They give the small to medium company the ability to have large company IT performance without an onsite IT department.

Special Guests:

Stephanie Richards, MA, CEO/Founder of SowGrow Public Relations  Linkedin  Twitter 16x16  google-plus-logo-red-265px

  • Over a decade of experience in Public Relations
  • Author of numerous published articles on the topic
  • Numerous accolades from clients and media representatives for her quality of work

Mike Remy, VP, Enterprise Solutions of Dimensional Solutions Managed IT Services  Facebook  Linkedin  Twitter 16x16

  • Over 20 years of experience in enterprise/IT solutions
  • Self-funded, launched and ran his first IT company for 12 years before selling the business
  • Accomplished pilot and photographer