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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of September 3 - 9, 2003

Features

People are secret to Marketron's success

The mountains donít hurt either


By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer

Although Marketron International is based in Burlingame, Calif., the Hailey branch of the international software development firm is the brain behind what is scheduled to be a multi-million dollar, seven-year contract.

Marketron entered into a contract in June with the National Broadcasting Company to provide software management products designed to help NBC improve its advertising revenues.

Marketron International employs 250 people, including 120 who work in Hailey. Company leaders say it is the mountain lifestyle that keeps employees around. Employees say it is the job environment that helps them stay.

"I have a big city job in a resort town," said documentation manager Nancy Malko, who grew up in the Wood River Valley and moved to the Seattle area after she graduated from The Community School in Sun Valley. She hadnít planned on coming back but the job with Marketron helped turn her toward home.

"I am never bored," she said. "(My work) is brain challenging."

The Hailey operation is divided into several parts.

There are the software developers who build products to link sales traffic and business departments.

The office is also the base for an implementation team of travelers who go onsite to install Marketron software and instruct new users. There is a state of the art customer service center on the main floor of the office building on Empty Saddle Trail, near Albertsonís in north Hailey.

Because Marketronís product is delivered electronically rather than on trucks out a delivery bay, systems consultants are always on hand to help users break in software or iron out any problems they may be experiencing.

"With their permission I can go into a clientís computer and actually work on their problems. I can shadow a user and see what they are doing," said application manager Jamie Trevino. He first came to Sun Valley for the skiing, was part owner in a pizza restaurant, and is now staying for a job he feels is applicable anywhere in the country.

On Trevinoís computer screen is a graphic representation of a television stationís programming in North Carolina. He can select any segment highlighted in a number of colors to determine, like using a T.V. Guide, whatís showing. He can go deeper to see what the advertising requirements or restrictions are during a particular segment, and if the station in question is getting paid by an advertiser. Everything is connected. The systems remove the layers of paperwork formerly shuttled between departments.

"When somebody calls our support department, they donít call because their mouse doesnít work," said Mike Jackson, Marketron CEO based in Burlingame. "In our case the (customer support) is used so a station can make more money."

Therefore, it is important to try and keep good personnel who understand the industry and the technology, he added. "We have a very capable group up there of highly intelligent people."

Veteran software engineer Doug Cleven, who has been with the company for over 20 years, agrees.

"The people who work here are very intelligent and loyal," he said. "It is one of the reasons we came here, and we are staying."

Cleven is also an avid cyclist, who trains for grueling races like the "24 hours of Moab" mountain bike race in Utah. Obviously, outdoor opportunities are part of the reason people are staying in the Wood River Valley.

"The key to Marketron is our customer base and our talent," said Marketron marketing director Lauren Carpenter. "People are well-rounded. They know the industry and can communicate with the customer."

The company even has a branch called Marketron University, where it trains instructors and provides continuing education for experienced software users.

Marketron came to Hailey in 1972 from San Mateo, Calif., when founder Jerry Cronin decided the Wood River Valley was a good place to draw talented people. Marketron became Marketron International in 2000 when a small group of investors, led by Jackson, joined media management operations TvScan of Birmingham, Ala., REP-PAK of Toronto, Canada, and Marketron Inc.

"In 2000, the company was a skeleton of what the company is now," Jackson said. "The people in Hailey were critical to the success of getting the NBC contract."

If a station chooses a Marketron product, field managers travel to the clientís offices to set up the system and begin training the users. The one thing Marketron does not do is manage programming content.

But, as Marketron works to revolutionize the broadcast industry--replacing the paper files linking various departments--the company expects to adapt their tools to aid in streamlining future programming, said Jackson.

"The company is doing extremely well," he said. "We have a competitive advantage because of our people."

 

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.