The focus at Vocus is growth -- Gazette.Net


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After so far doubling its sales this year, a Beltsville social marketing and software company looks to grow its workforce by more than 450 by year’s end.

Vocus plans to hire people in all areas, focusing on its sales and marketing and recruiting sectors, said CFO Steve Vintz. He said recruiting has taken on a larger strategic role at the company.

As more businesses turn to social marketing, their demand increases for software that can help them navigate web channels, like the ones Vocus offers, he said.

“With a strong product in hand and a big marketing opportunity, we’re expanding our sales force,” Vintz said. “Our assets walk in and out of our door every day.”

Vocus has been working with the county’s Economic Development Corp. on both a career fair it held Thursday and the expansion, said Gwen McCall, president and CEO of the corporation. The corporation helped Vocus find its Beltsville location.

“The county is extremely excited about Vocus,” McCall said. “Many of these are high-level positions with high salaries. “We’re excited about what this means for residents in Prince George’s as far as new jobs. It’s definitely a win.”

The company racked up a net loss of $16 million in the first half of the year, versus $2.6 million in the prior-year period, but revenues rose to $78.5 million from $55.5 million.

The company ranked 489th on Deloitte’s list of the nation's fastest-growing technology companies in 2011, along with 17 other Maryland businesses. Vocus saw 140 percent sales growth during the last five years. The company employs more than 1,200 people.

Part of Vocus’ growth this year comes from the 150 jobs connected with its acquisition in late February of iContact, a Raleigh, N.C., provider of email and social marketing software.

Vocus started its push for 450 new employees in the first quarter, Vintz said, adding that the company is well on its way of meeting its goal this year.

“The world’s changing. Everything’s more socially connected than before,” he said. “People make decisions based on brand experience. It’s not about what you can say about yourself but about what customers are saying about you.”

A 2012 survey of 3,800 marketers revealed that 94 percent use social media and 83 percent said they view social media marketing as important to business, according to the Social Media Examiner, an online trade magazine in Poway, Calif.

The survey also showed 58 percent of the businesses that have used social media marketing for more than three years have improved sales and 72 percent have gained new partnerships. Thirty percent of businesses surveyed outsource their social media, up from 28 percent in 2011.

“There’s an enormous marketing opportunity and we think it’s possible to take a significant share in the market,” Vintz said.

lrobbins@gazette.net