Last October, Austin, Tex.-based Rollick acquired Avala Marketing Group in Fenton, Missouri. Avala had created a successful niche for itself, partnering with NMMA on the Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Index program and offering automated marketing to OEMs in the boating and recreational-vehicle industries through its Aimbase and CX software.
For its part, Rollick focused on on the RV and powersports segments, with lead-management and marketing tools primarily aimed at dealers.
"Rollick checked all of the boxes and after meeting the leadership team, it immediately felt like a natural fit,” said Steve Pizzolato, founder of Avala Marketing Group, at the time of the acquisition announcement. "Rollick also offers a dealer complement to our OEM strategic positioning and a technical complement to our Aimbase Marketing Automation and CX software.”
Avala Marketing Group became Avala, Inc., a Rollick brand.
Nearly a year later, after plenty of corporate soul searching, the principals have decided to lose the Avala brand name and move forward as Rollick.
“We did plenty of market research and knew at some point we’d have to have one organization and one name,” Rollick president Amit Maheshwari told Trade Only Today. “We asked ourselves if we should name the company Rollick or call it Avala. We realized on the marine side that Avala has a big name. But in powersports, Rollick is much more important.”
Rollick won. “In marine, there might be ten dealers with Avala, but in powersports we have hundreds of dealers who use Rollick,” says Maheshwari.
The acquisition is not a case of a smaller company being gobbled up by a larger entity, says Maheshwari, and then eventually languishing under the new parent. Rollick has not made any job cuts at Avala’s headquarters outside St. Louis, and in fact, has added three employees. He says it’s more of a scenario where two partners have come together to fill in missing spaces in each other’s corporate portfolio.
Rollick focused on dealers in the RV and powersports segments. “We took a dealer-centric view and asked how to do a better job of getting dealers to transact with their customers. We also have big affinity partners like AAA, Sam’s Club, Progressive and Allstate for buying programs,” says Maheshwari.
Besides the national corporate partners, some of Rollick’s founders also worked with USAA and TrueCar on car-buying programs.
Avala was one of the largest collectors of data as part of the Marine Industry CSI program, while also providing consumer research for OEM as well as marketing solutions.
“There was a split between the two at the OEM and dealer levels,” says Maheshwari. “Rollick focused on dealers and Avala on OEM. It made sense to bring them together, like two sides of the same coin.”
Since last year’s acquisition, the two sides have worked towards integration. “We’re pretty well there,” says Maheshwari. “At our client, Arctic Cat, all the dealers are using our integrated technologies, and many marine dealers are now using Aimbase in one form or another. We’re also rolling out our Rollick product, Salesdriver, so dealers can handle leads from our OEM partners. We’re having conversations now with heavy-hitter marine dealers on implementing this technology.”
Rollick also sees opportunities in the Recreational Vehicle sector for the CSI data that it now collects for the boating industry. “Nobody sees the amount of data that we do. We’re actively trying to get those guys involved in some capacity, just like NMMA did with CSI in boating,” says Maheshwari. “We support about 60 manufacturers and would like to expand that relationship to the Recreational Vehicles Industry Association.”
The company, which also has an office in India, continues to grow its headcount. “We’re reaching 100,” says Maheshwari. “Avala had 40 or 50 employees before, so it’s a sizable increase in the size of the company. We’re moving in the right direction.”