Case Study: 


Google Shopping Key to Driving Non-Brand Performance  

About Wasserstrom

The Wasserstrom Company, which began as a local, family-run business, has steadily grown to become one of the largest restaurant suppliers and distributors of foodservice products. Wasserstrom carries one of the most diverse and comprehensive product lines in the foodservice industry, offering products such as dinnerware, storage items, kitchen and cooking supplies, bakery equipment, catering supplies, and custom fabricated stainless products. With more than a century of experience and a team of over 1,200 dedicated associates, Wasserstrom remains a family-owned and operated company offering unparalleled products and services.

Building a Relevant and Profitable Strategy

Wasserstrom selected to work with Adlucent in June 2010. They were looking for a partner who could help them profitably grow their revenue from paid search using a strategy that aligned with their specific business model and goals.

Wasserstrom has two primary customer segments: their corporate customers who have established accounts with Wasserstrom and tend to be reoccurring customers with large order volumes, and their “public” customers who are the primary targets of their PPC advertising. Aligning these unique targeting goals with Adlucent’s advertising efforts has been a key part of the relationship.

Wasserstrom first launched with only paid search 
text ads and quickly added Google Display Network advertising. After two years of growth and developing a strong relationship, Wasserstrom tasked Adlucent with adding and developing their Product Listing Ads (PLA) program in anticipation of the end of free Google Shopping advertisements.

Key Contributing Factors to their Success

Alignment of goals. Given the two different—yet important—customer segments that Wasserstrom caters to, Adlucent had to take full advantage 
of their flexible technological architecture to develop appropriate account management and reporting schemes that revolved around Wasserstrom’s objectives. This has allowed Adlucent to drive targeted revenue growth and understand performance of different creatives,
 bid management tactics and keyword trends within these different customer segments.

With Adlucent, Wasserstrom has driven 81% year-over-year growth of the “public” revenue—revenue driven primarily through non-brand channels. PLAs have been key to this growth in 2012, and a greater place of investment for Wasserstrom. On average, Wasserstrom’s PLAs have garnered subustantially higher average CTRs (136%) and CVRs (118%) versus non-brand text ads.

Eliminated waste throughout accounts. Adlucent’s performance-based compensation incentivizes the company to not only increase total revenue, but to constantly monitor and identify inefficiencies and direct those resources to more efficient uses. Adlucent also utilizes micro-segmentation of products and performance data, which allows account teams to understand account trends and quickly adjust their massive portfolios of keywords to capitalize on new opportunities.

Key waste-eliminating tactics utilized include a focus on using exact-match while closely monitoring broader- match keywords, fast search query analysis to best understand consumer intent and quickly identify and negate non-revenue driving terms, and then daily bid optimization to ensure keywords are maintained at their optimal positions.

Finding the right messaging that resonates with target customers. Adlucent has leveraged three key messaging activities to attract new customers and increase conversion and AOV, including: close alignment with Wasserstrom’s merchandising calendar, promotion and content testing in ads and structured landing page tests.

Achieving 102%
Year-over-Year Growth

Adlucent has been able to drive triple-digit year-over-year revenue growth for Wasserstrom while maintaining a consistent cost of sale. Through year two, average year-over-year revenue growth was 102%. Year three is off to a very positive start with near 50% growth in revenue over year two.

Extending the Value of Demand Intelligence

The consumer demand data and analysis collected by Adlucent is regularly shared with Wasserstrom and is used to determine future promotions, messaging efforts and merchandising decisions. This amplified level of sharing and feedback has led to a strong relationship between Wasserstrom and Adlucent and years of sustainable revenue growth.

About Wasserstrom

The Wasserstrom Company, which began as a local, family-run business, has steadily grown to become one of the largest restaurant suppliers and distributors of foodservice products. Wasserstrom carries one of the most diverse and comprehensive product lines in the foodservice industry, offering products such as dinnerware, storage items, kitchen and cooking supplies, bakery equipment, catering supplies, and custom fabricated stainless products. With more than a century of experience and a team of over 1,200 dedicated associates, Wasserstrom remains a family-owned and operated company offering unparalleled products and services. 

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Michael Griffin

Founder & CEO

As the founder of Adlucent, Michael brings over 12 years of experience in strategic search engine marketing (SEM), bid optimization, consumer demand intelligence and retail analytics.

Michael is a leading thinker and innovator in retail SEM and drives the technology and overall business strategies for Adlucent.

His first venture into the online retail space was in managing paid search for where he helped grow revenue by 300% year-after-year eventually becoming Amazon's largest worldwide partner in search.

Michael built Adlucent as a bootstrapped company and has grown it into a profitable business accustomed to achieving 75-100% year over year growth. Adlucent's growth has been highlighted in the Inc. 500 and the Austin Business Journal's Fast50 listings, and the company's culture has been honored as an AdAge Best Place to Work and an Austin American-Statesman Top Workplace.

Michael is frequently tapped as an expert on the strategies that foster high converting online traffic to drive successful e-commerce. An active member of the Research Committee, Michael participates in driving industry research and sharing results with retailers. Michael's work and perspective have been featured in major media outlets, including The New York Times, Inc. Magazine, the Search Insider and TechCrunch.

Prior to founding Adlucent, Michael attended the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a PhD in analytical chemistry where his thesis focused on advanced analytics for medical diagnostics. Michael is the recipient of the prestigious Watson Fellowship and received his BS degree from Davidson College.


Ashwani Dhar

Chief Client Officer

Ashwani Dhar is an experienced executive, entrepreneur and venture capitalist bringing sales, marketing, business development, and funding experience to Adlucent.

At Adlucent, Dhar is responsible for customer acquisition and overall client success.

During his tenure, he has expanded the company's customer base five-fold while achieving an industry-leading client retention rate. Ashwani has been also responsible for Adlucent's positioning and go-to-market strategy. He pioneered an innovative performance-based model that aligns Adlucent's compensation with its clients' success.

Prior to Adlucent, Dhar was responsible for revenue generation, market positioning and the ultimate business success for successful startup companies like Iconixx, Agea and Trilogy. Ashwani also founded and managed DC International, an international consulting company that focused on the emerging markets of Latin America.

Dhar began his career in strategic consulting for healthcare clients with APM and technology & operations consulting with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). Dhar also served on the Board of Directors for Bigfoot Networks, Robot Genius and Perception Software through investments from his venture capital firm Venio Capital Partners.

Graduating from the Jerome Fisher Program for Management & Technology at the University of Pennsylvania, Ashwani earned a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the Moore School. He also holds an MBA from Harvard University.


Tim Ozor

Vice President of Engineering

Tim has over 25 years experience designing and developing high performance software machinery. Tim leads all technology development and operations in the role of VP of Engineering.

Tim's responsibilities also include all data integration, tracking, reporting and analytics utilized by Adlucent.

Since joining Adlucent, Ozor has driven the development of Adlucent's leading edge BuyerPath™ application and analytics platform, which is being utilized to effectively and efficiently manage millions of keyword and product ads for some of the largest online retailers in the world.

Tim's body of work includes Unix operating system development, object oriented middleware design and large scale Web application architecture. Ozor was instrumental in the development of Austin-based Vignette's ground-breaking content management system which served as the core product for Vignette through its IPO and eventual sale to Open Text. Tim was one of the first developers on board at Vignette and was employee 15 at what came to be one of the most successful IPOs in the Austin high-tech industry. Prior to Adlucent, Ozor led the design and development of the highly acclaimed National Transcript Center, which provides a secure electronic trading system for the exchange of student transcripts.

Tim received his BS degree in Computer Science from Clemson University in 1986, and has been committed to achieving higher and higher levels of software mastery ever since. When he is not building industrial strength software, Tim enjoys windsurfing, rock music, and maintaining the lowest carbon footprint and body fat levels possible.


Brian Vogel

Head Coach - People & Culture

As Head Coach, Brian’s charge is to guide managers and Adlucites to their full potential. With 20+ years of experience as a HR executive and NCAA Division I Athlete and Coach, he instinctively relies on his vast experience in leadership development in business and athletics to bring forth leadership and business enablers.

Prior to joining Adlucent, Brian held various HR executive leadership positions at Verizon and USAA. More recently he led the HR functions at Austin-based FirstCare Health Plans and Campus Advantage. He played a pivotal role in the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE to form Verizon, one of the five largest mergers in the 1990s. During the merger he directed team of 10 employees who orchestrated placement and /or displacement of 6,000+ staff. In subsequent roles key accomplishments included implementing a third party HR administrative solution valued at approximately $750K annually at Campus Advantage and instituting scientifically based recruiting processes resulting in a 33% improvement in average time to fill for key positions as well as a 20% reduction in turnover. He has also served as a Senior HR Consultant for vcfo and currently maintains his own business performance coaching practice ~ Sundog Coaching Group.

He holds a bachelor's degrees in business administration from University of Notre Dame where he concentrated in Marketing and was co-captain of Men’s Swimming and Diving team. He also has a master's degree in business administration from the University of Illinois where he concentrated in Human Resources at the nationally renowned School of Labor & Employment Relations.

When not coaching, Brian spreads his free time between trying to stay fit doing CrossFit and mountain biking, enjoying quality time with his two daughters Gracie and Elle, and serving as a business consultant to Little Helping Hands, the renowned Austin non-profit he helped found with his wife, Marissa.