Lonny Paul has been in the technology and marketing field since the mid-80s. First developing dBase applications on the CPM operating system to implement a multi-source prospect lead tracking system for a chain of five vocational schools, time has evolved to 12 years at a multi-channel retailer with over $3.5BB in sales annually. Through focused efforts to maximize every opportunity technology and common sense can provide — I have developed many successful strategies prior to market conceptualization (English translation: “I can see ahead of the curve”).
Companies need to be proactive in business to save themselves problems down the road. Too many people are simply reactive in today’s business world. It’s pretty easy to identify the obstacles in the way of any business or project. There are easy ways to get past them as well – with a bit of effort and thought. Generally, this lack-of-urgency can result in millions of dollars in additional expense, and may result in multi-millions in lost sales.
During my career I have:
- Developed connected store applications which surpass the industry (patent pending technology)
- Developed world-class events to engage with consumers at the local level as well as create the largest consumer-facing electronics show.
- Developed consumer-facing kiosks to maximize inventory turns and provide expert consumer recommendations
- Created mobile websites with zero IT support through a trusted 3rd party in under 6 weeks with 100% site functionality
- Launched a video production department to support social network and YouTube Marketing resulting in over 120 Million views
- Created Charity Marketing programs which leveraged consumer and vendor dollars to fund a huge marketing campaign and donate >$100,000 to charity
- Developed and launched a rebate processing program to minimize cost and redemption rate
- Integrated multiple payment systems to maximize reach of online customers, reducing transactional cost
- Crafted enhanced content guidelines to maximize SEO and consumer benefit
- Developed ground-zero marketing efforts for a new .com to achieve 60% margins year one
- Developed integrated marketing campaigns for call management systems and extended reporting capabilities
- Developed web-based marketing programs to maximize RPV
- Developed email marketing campaigns which maximize ROI and RPO
- Video host
- Live TV sales on shopping channels
- Technology Radio Host
- Publicity and PR
- Integrated Hollywood marketing campaigns and promotions
About Lonny Paul
Starting my world of technology playing ‘pong’ as a child, I quickly evolved to the typewriter, the electric typewriter, and eventually my CPM based Kaypro II. It was a blessing, I learned PerfectWrite and PerfectCalc and dBase in no time at all! It was amazing what you could do with 16k of memory. Coordinating efforts and designing/implementing marketing and prospecting CRM in dBase and “Q&A,” the school chain had ‘state of the art’ technology, for 1983.
In an attempt to expand my marketing knowledge, I worked for a couple of years in the direct marketing telesales industry. I liked to be working all the time, even as a teenager, and in order to fill my time, I picked up a side job to run a local group of inventory specialists for the company “RGIS.” This involved the use of a very interesting and ahead of it’s time device which would hang from a belt and allow for the continious entry of product counts and pricing as well as the optional ability to utilize the more ‘advanced’ devices when they were released, allowing us to capture full product information from the Musicland inventory label, allowing the company to actually update their inventory file based on actual product data. The data was actually transmitted via a telephone modem built into the device for such specialized applications. This was my first ‘whizz-bang’ experience – and I liked it.
After trying my hand at new, state-of-the-art ‘multi-channel marketing firm’, I become the IT director after a few months of getting familiar with varied areas of the company’s operations. Advanced Data-Comm was formed by two college profesors who had been running a research business conducting telephone surveys for companies at their college. Branching out into a full multi-channel marketer, Advanced Data-Comm was on the leading edge of technology in the late 80s with their advanced scripting platform for both inbound and outbound calls, providing full automation to the human process. Real-time call directives and interactive data capture with output utilized to supplemental direct-mail efforts were a very powerful technology at the time. During my tenure with Advanced Data Comm, I developed marketing campaigns for The March of Dimes (Cross-channel phone and mail program for the Mother’s Walk); PepsiCola (developed inbound call system to utilize direct mail data to provide inquiry pre-populations and cross-referenced with SIC data, each client was approached from a different marketing perspective based upon system input from the operator during the call.); Ball State University (alumni fundraiser) ; the American Medical Association (update to physican databases pertaining to speciality and type of practice.).
After being introduced to the world of SDL (Source Definition Language – based off of Forth, this language was extremely efficient and allowed us to run over 100 standard Wyse terminals with real time interactive processing on a single 386 processor. Digiboards provided serial connectivity.), I was recruited by the software firm who’s installation we utilized. I quickly became a lead developer, installer and trainer for projects from MBNA (Pre-qualified application calls) , Philip Morris (standard cigarette usage surveys with “friendster” type technology), and installations for the multi-site telecommunication specialist Ron Weber.
As a short aside, installations of any call-center are complex, the best story I can tell, however, is when in the middle of a call-center installation the primary client (TelcomUSA) of the call-center is bought by another telecom (MCI). Not only does the install have to proceed, I had to immediately meet with MCI to modify all existing campaigns to promote the MCI products and services in lieu of the prior TelecomUSA. This was not only required for that location, however two additional locations – requiring code and database upgrades before the days of DSL-speed lines.
After a brief move with the family to Minnesota, I took on a short stint working in Rochester for the Kroger Corporation. At Pace, I developed and implemented PAL based applications (Paradox database engine) on multi-user PC configurations for FDA required inventory management and logging, bio-lab applcation for collection of analysis and integrations with standard serial scales and other devices for automatic data collection. Furthermore, the first “LAN” was implemented within a workgroup to share common data with databases used by all parties.
During this venture, Ron Weber contacted me for a customization to software applications on their installed systems. As the company had pending legal isues with the software vendor, I became the companies primary support vehicle. Working via a 2400 baud modem on a Wyse terminal, I provided remote support and software development for then clients Philip-Morris and AOL.
During an on-site installation visit in Clear Lake – Paul Mohr (one of the founders of the DMA) solicited me to come to work for the company headquarters on the East Coast to manage the overall IT operations of the company as well as breathe new llife into the development efforts for new clients and programs.
Ron Weber was a welcome change after so long in the midwest, being on the East coast was exciting with all the concrete and highways and being in the ‘big city.’ Wow – that was a long time ago! After settling in and fixing the immediate issues, I was tasked to develop an automated integrated reporting structure to allow multiple sites to provide data via a dial-up connection so that aggregate reports for all call centers, programs, coaches and agents performance, sales and activity data can be reviewed in a short turn around. This was part of the contractual obligations the software company had made and was unable to deliver on.
Building on flat text file data imported and massaged and summarized via Paradox, then exported into Access for final report printing and presentation. Not so bad for a toolbar-run macro in access. This sytem would produce reams of reporting daily and was achieved without any extensive invenstment in additional technology or software.
During my stint with Weber, I was once posed a question of ‘who would survive’ when it came to two clients which were in the same business – they were both ISPs and the owner felt it was a conflict. I clearly answered ‘AOL’. I’m sure there are days that that statement comes back to visit realizing the the retained client, Prodigy, is – um – where are they?
In the hustle and bustle of New Haven, Connecticut, I was doing a little consulting, I developed a POS application for a friend who was looking to expand his then tiny pawn shop. Pawn shops, as ‘sleazy’ as they may seem, are actually very a fairly complex business – balancing the law with business needs and ensuring people’s merchandise isn’t sold incorrectly, etc. Ad the pawn shops work faily closely with the local police department. One of the first things that I realized is that the City of New Haven was still requiring that 11×17 ledger pages were completed for each transaction. This itself, I found amazing. There was no ability for searching, identifying patterns, nothing. Well, this project brought automation for the first time to inquiries. The police suddenly were ‘hanging out’ more often, asking the client for various searches. It turns up that they were able to usually find what or who they were looking for – without the paper “journals” and instead carried off their printed reports each week with a smile. This was then further developed into a multi-user system and developed entirely in PAL, using a run-time version of Paradox long forgotten. Installed within two shops for one client, one shop for another, and a courtesy copy was provided to the City police department for data aggregation purposes and flexibility in searching for ‘lost’ items.
Yale University School of Medicine. I had performed several projects in the School of Anesthesia and School of Epidemiology. Data collection and analysis controls, data hygiene and analysis was the name of my game working in primarily NIH funded studies in the Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. This was a great time. New Haven is a great town and allowed me to have a somewhat ‘college experience’ after my time had come and gone.
From there, a stint with Industrial Acceptance Corporation (family business owned by the first night club owners) led to development of online credit applications, automated credit report acquisition and analysis, and CRM-type tracking tools.
My next project would involve helping friends (who were one of the pawn shop owners) wanted me to put together an online pet store. The family had run a chain of over 30 stores on the east coast at one time. They had moved their focus to a superstore long before Pets.com was even a reality. But they had no idea what to do.
Worldwide Pet Supply
I jumped in, leverging the power an early eCommerce platform. I built a big site, rich in keywords, meta tags and far ahead of all other SEO efforts. Site included the ability to order both dry and LIVE goods online. New pictures of the coral, fish, crabs – it was a first! One of the few companies at the time to offer online selection, shipping and choice of even LIVE aquatic creatures. Shrimp, clams, coral and fish were going through the mail in endeavors with the shipping companies in an area they were not familiar for the consumer delivery model. I remember DHL’s Sales Rep on the phone with corporate, explaining “they want to ship people fish for their fishtank and insure them.” Working hard to catch the eye of every web searcher, I worked extremely hard at site optimization which would result in high search engine listings. This effort even met the attention of the media, Catalog Age magazine used my efforts as an example for search listings and I started to become known in the industry.
Catching the eye of the CEO of TigerDirect when searching for items building a 300 gallon fishtank in his new office, I received a call from TigerDirect over the course of several months, resulting in a consulting gig and turning into a long career, hardwork and dedication to creating one of the best shopping sites on the web – driving revenue at multi 100% growth.
Seeing the hard work pay off in incredible growth over the five and 3/4 years at TigerDirect was very rewarding. This reward has extended into case studies with PayPal, television performances on the Shop at Home network hawking laptop and desktop computers and other electronics, regular national radio show appearances with Dave Graveline on ‘Into Tomorrow’ and Craig Crossman on ‘Computer America.’ Speaking at eTail conferences during search optimization day roundtable sessions, I attempt to spread the word of using ‘common sense’ when doing business online, feeding pricing engines and optimizing yourself for searchability. I tend to not hold back, telling people they are ‘stupid’ for doing certain things – and I have no regrets. It’s all in the best interest of business!
In 2006 as the CEO of EyeServe Media Networks, Lonny assisted in directing the Internet Marketing Startup towards greatness, ensuring stability, proper CRM solutions to manage clients and projects without fail, and ensure to provide clients, both publishers and advertisers, the ROI that they wish to achieve and a constant “upgrade path” to tweak proprietary ad serving technology to continue to better increase conversion.
Returning to TigerDirect in the winter of 2006, I now accepted the role of Director of Interactive Media. In this role, I am flexing the power of Web 2.0 and video for further consumer content and branding opportunities. Since January 2007, over 5000 ‘TigerTV‘ and Com.puter.TV segments have been conceived and produced and delivered to the web. This will continue to expand in various formats and offerings and I can only guess at what can come next, culminating with over 120 million video views.
Next, I wore the hat of Director of eCommerce for CompUSA. This is a long-established brand interwoven with the fabric of America.
Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives
In 2010, after 10 years as a Director with Systemax Technology, I have been promoted to the Vice-President of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives. Still responsible for Retail 2.0, PR and Corporate Giving, and the annual Charity PC Race.
In 2011, I decided that there was a need for mobile sites which provided full-site functionality, and without IT support to make it happen. After speaking with all the providers in the space, I worked with Branding Brand to bring up 4 eCommerce mobile sites in under 12 weeks. The end result is 4 perfectly operating mobile sites with FULL website functionality – without 1 call to IT.
In 2011, in an attempt to measure the impact of “hyper-local” on SEO and other search results, I launched “Downtown Miami News.” This site now achieves readership of nearly 33% of the target audience, achieving success, and providing incredible experiences to my personal life.
The Retail 2.0 concept continues to develop, with a recent application developed to assist consumers in choosing the right television based on their viewing habits and physical space in which the TV will be placed. This concept is live in 1 location with pending chain-wide implementation.
My goal is to create engaging, ahead-of-the-curve applications and web experiences which allow the consumer to receive good recommendations based on actual desires. Whether a novice or expert, the process must produce an appropriate response. Plus, full in-store analytics which allow the merchant to better understand consumer behavior is now reality with my current retail implementations.
In 2012, we launched a new expo, called the “TigerDirect Tech Bash” which is one of the few consumer-facing electronics expos. In 2013, we held our event at the Marlins Park, with over 12,000 attendees… The goal is to create the largest consumer-facing electronics show annually, with the next event planned for November 7, 2014.
2014 and beyond
I have retired from TigerDirect and am now working as a consultant for a number of firms.
Always opinionated and sometimes acting clairvoyant as to upcoming market trends and changes – I continue to work on innovative forward-looking projects which are ahead of the crowd and pushing the enevelope.
Somethings, they are just common sense.
I hope you enjoy my rants, raves and tales of drama through the eyes of my twisted perspective on technology, the world and any topic you can imagine. You are notified that postings on this blog are my personal thoughts, not those of any organization, company or individual with which I am affiliated.
Drop me a line anytime – I’m more than happy to reply. me (at) lonnypaul (dot) com.
Recent Speaking Engagements
- Future Stores Keynote 2013 Speaker
- Video Commerce Summit August 2012
- Intel Latin American Retail Executive Conference – July 2012 “Retail and the Failure to Innovate”
- Etail Latin America 2012 (May 2012)
- eTail Canada Conference, May 2011
Keynote Speaker, Industry Panelist
- Next Generation Customer Experience, May 2011, Keynote Speaker: Retail 2.0
- eTail Latin America Conference, April 2011
Industry Presenter, Off-Site Retail 2.0 Tour
- CES 2011, January 2011
Media and Analyst Presentations of Retail 2.0
- eTail Latin America, March 2011, Keynote Speaker: Retail 2.0
- eTail Canada, May 2011, Keynote Speaker: Retail 2.0
Patents / Legal Decisions
- Display Stand with Integrated Interactive Kiosk Feb 2011
- Computer system and methods of dynamic product content display and synchronized distributed programming (Retail 2.0) Oct 2011
- TigerDirect, Inc. v Thomas Ku (.NZ Domain Complaint) June 2010
- MSN UK: Top 10 Weekly News Items Commentary, July 2012
- WPLG 10 Miami “New technology improves home security” (Feb 2012)
- Where Your Gadgets Go to Die (Ad Week) Jan 2012
- TigerDirect, CompUSA and Circuit City mobile sites add commerce Internet Retailer (Oct 2011)
- Systemax mobile retail sites are finally adding commerce Smart Brief (Oct 2011)
- Navigating the Stumbling Blocks to Rebate Redemption Deal News (Sept 2011)
- Systemax to Expand Tiger Connect Sections, Adds Circuit City Product Consumer Electronics Daily (Jan 2011)
- Video at CES: Samsung, Vizio and Systemax Dealerscope (Jan 2011)
- Systemax Adds New Interactive Displays TWICE (Jan 2011)
- Systemax on next Phase of Retail 2.0 Dealerscope (Jan 2011)
- TigerDirect.com is bringing its online appeal to real-world store in Dallas Dallas Morning News (Oct 2010)
- Perdue attending Jefferson opening Athens Banner-Herald (Oct 2010)
- Systemax Opens First TigerDirect.com Store TWICE (July 2010)
- CompUSA makes a return with a new concept Houston Chronicle (Feb 2010)
- CompUSA makes a return with a new concept iTech News (Feb 2010)
- CompUSA to open its biggest U.S. store in Chicago next month Chicago Tribune (Jan 2010)
- Joe’s the latest defunct retailer resurrected online Oregon Live (Dec 2009)
- TigerDirect.com and CompUSA to Host 12th Annual Build Your Own PC Race for Charity at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show Tech Talk Radio (Jan 2009)
- Re-Charging Consumer Electronics Chromatography Online(Dec 2008)
- CompUSA Repairs Laptop After New TAP Company Refuses Consumerist (Aug 2008)
- CompUSA Says They’ll Make Sure Your TAP Service Is Honored Consumerist (Aug 2008)
- Sears, Wal-Mart Face FCC Fines Over Digital-TV Rules Bloomberg News (April 2008)
- CompUSA Chooses PayPal for eCommerce Payments Business Wire (Mar 2008)
- Com-Guard, Inc. Announces Purchase Order From Wintergreen Systems, Inc. Red Orbit (Feb 2004)
- TigerDirect Sues WhenU.com For Deceptive Advertising Tactics Find Articles (Dec 2002)
- Broadband Wireless Networking Products Now Available At Twice the Speed From TigerDirect BBW Exchange (June 2002)
- TigerDirect speeds up payment time with new electronic check service Internet Retailer (March 2001)
- TigerDirect.com Announces Shopping Agreement With America Online PR Web (Dec 2000)
- TigerDirect.Com Named Best Consumer Site of The Americas PR Newswire (July 2000)
- TigerDirect.Com Achieves BizRate.Com’s Gold Star Status (June 2000)