Old-Fashioned Relationships, New-Fangled Technology
RSN Digital Helps Clients with Customized Apps and Beacons
Rich Gentile, founder and CTO at RSN Digital Inc., knows all about change. In the past two plus years, the fast-talking, forward-thinking U.S. Army Sergeant First Class realized it was “now or never” to jump into the world of digital marketing.
Publishing a direct mail coupon magazine throughout New York and New Jersey for more than 20 years, Rich has watched how digital marketing has become an important strategy for companies of all sizes.
“It is obviously easier for the mid- to larger-sized businesses to afford comprehensive digital marketing efforts, but not the same for the small businesses,” Rich says. “With us, the mom-and-pops can now consider getting into that market, especially since traditional marketing like direct mail is getting more cumbersome.”
In the past, Rich recalls, he could watch a local contractor place an ad or buy a mailer and get near-instant results. “Fast forward 24 years later, a simple mailed ad inside a magazine or newspaper can eat up almost any small business’s budget,” he says.
The idea to break into digital came in 2015, when market pressures and competition made direct marketing less lucrative for his clients. That’s when he decided that he had to learn everything he could about digital marketing.
“Around that time, I realized I had to build an application that could feature all my clients and their deals,” Rich says. “It was almost the fourth quarter of 2015, and I knew that 2016 would be make-or-break for our clients.”
He knew an app that featured his clients’ coupons and deals would prove that digital marketing was the future. “The application quickly became the talk of the town,” Rich remembers. “And we also found that it opened up a different conversation with our clients, as well as introduced us to certain types of companies that wouldn’t normally be in our wheelhouse.”
While the application was a success, it was not RSN Digital’s turning point. “The turning point came when an agency that was handling one of the area’s larger supermarkets called and inquired about us creating a custom mobile app for them,” Rich says. “I listened to what their needs and goals were, and I realized it was our ‘sink or swim moment.’ ”
After a long talk with his son to come up with a plan, Rich realized that he could grow and shape the application niche. “It was an enlightenment of sorts—my niche in the market.”
RSN Digital officially launched in 2016, and this strategic marketing company is now giving small businesses throughout the tri-state area affordable growth opportunities with custom mobile apps and proximity beacons. Construction companies, real estate agencies, local eateries, doctors, lawyers, movers and grocery stores are now calling on RSN Digital to help create stronger customer engagement and brand awareness. Creating strong relationships with clients through technology is RSN Digital’s only focus.
Strengthening Customer Relationships
Their customizable apps can be used on any mobile device and features a proxy beacon—a small device that sends out a controlled signal every second of the hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to any Bluetooth-enabled mobile device.
“It does sound funny to say that our apps and beacons are driving successful and fruitful relationships, but it’s true,” Rich says. “I mean, what’s more personal than creating a push notification that goes straight to the business owner’s clients’ phones? How many times have you been in traffic or at a light wondering what new store was going to open in that new plaza that just went under construction? If you received a notification letting you know who was ‘Coming Soon,’ what would the likelihood of you telling someone, then them telling someone? That’s the value of beacon technology.
“Back when I first started my first company selling advertising,” he continues, “I would not just sell the ad, I would offer an intercept program. If you purchased this we would print 1,000 flyers with the offer from the ad. The weekend after the ad hit homes, I would have someone standing in front of the store handing out those flyers trying to create more traffic for that merchant. Back in the day that worked well, but we are in different times now. Now, imagine having that same message being sent to every passerby’s phone from opening to close for a cost less than a ream of paper?
“This technology can open new worlds for our clients,” Rich says. “And what’s so great about it is that a lot of business owners are the older generation like myself. They don’t know much about technology, but they believe in it. They know they need it to be successful, and we’re there to give them the options to make the right decisions.”
Soon, more companies in the tri-state area followed suit, including THE MAX Challenge, Livoti’s Old World Market, J.Costa Construction, Precision Tech Home Services and many more. “With a little nudge, these guys took the ball and ran with it,” Rich says. “Once they saw the results, they couldn’t let it go. And they are still our clients.”
Persuade, Change and Influence
Disruption is part of the RSN strategy: creating messages that can persuade potential shoppers or browsers to walk into that store to take advantage of that exclusive offer. “Changing their behaviors comes over time with smart messaging that will influence their decisions on where to eat, shop and play, Rich says. “Our over 20 years of experience in analyzing market target audiences is where we thrive when called on for strategic messaging.”
Robert Gentile, Rich’s oldest son, joined the company in 2017 after college and has just recently taken on the role of Project Manager. Robert also serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. He brings the twist of that millennial feel to the organization as well as the great team that he helped put together over the last few years. “It’s funny, walking into our weekly update meetings and there is Rob, Charlie, Tom, Cho and Ryan,” Rich says. “It was like yesterday they were all running around my backyard after school and now they are the understructure of RSN, working endless hours to ensure every project is perfect.
“What I enjoyed about our first apps is that they became a community project,” Rich says. “Creating an app is such a team effort because we create something that is the embodiment of that company and its people.”
“My team understands that the final product is a reflection of both our business and the client’s business,” Rob says. “Having a vision of our client’s image in the marketplace and staying in budget are always our goals.”
RSN Digital continues to move forward, adopting technology and nurturing old-school personal relationships. “I love and believe in the process and experience,” Rich says. “If you have a good product, treat your clients with respect and are honest, you’ll always be successful.”