Dean Wilson, Active International

Dean Wilson

Editors' Note

As Managing Director & Vice President International, Dean Wilson draws on his previous experience as Managing Director of U.K. Operations and running Active Australia. He previously held various commercial roles at Television Sales and Marketing Services Ltd, Channel Four Television Corporation, and ITV Digital.

Company Brief

Pearl River, New York-based Active International (www.activeinternational.com) is recognized as the global leader in corporate trade, providing financial benefits to Fortune 500 companies in virtually every industry. Founded 27 years ago, the company acquires excess assets – including surplus inventory, real estate, and capital equipment – at up to full wholesale value in exchange for cash and/or a trade credit, which is used to offset future operating expenses. Active has led the industry in the development of new standards of excellence for the acquisition of assets, the effective remarketing of those assets, and the provision of an efficient means for its clients to use their trade credits. With offices in 16 countries, Active has created more than $1.5 billion in cash savings for its extensive client base since 1984.

How developed is Active’s business in the U.K.?

The barter industry as a whole is highly developed in the U.K. It’s a common business practice and is endorsed by blue chip advertisers as well as the ad agencies that have been quick to recognize the benefit we can bring to their clients. They recommend us and bring us into relationships with their clients.

Are you also competing with those traditional advertising firms? Have they come into the space?

There is only one ad agency that has entered the space; all other agencies outsource barter activity through a company like Active.

What is the value you bring, especially to the blue chip companies?

You have two main value propositions: the first one is that we can restore value to any excess or underperforming assets, so that might be something like slow moving stock or distressed inventory; the second is, advertisers can use their product to pay for their advertising.

Does it cross most industries or are there specific industries you are most focused on for growth?

It crosses most industries. If there is a media or marketing spend, then there is a value proposition from Active. Manufacturers and retailers are always a strong base for us, but the travel industry has been fruitful for us as well.

You are also responsible for Australia. Where do you see the opportunities for business in the Australian market?

We have been there over 10 years and have built some long-term relationships with media vendors and agencies, and within the past year, we have significantly invested in building a stronger and new team in Australia.

The economy in Australia has been good for many years; it hasn’t suffered the global recession primarily because China buys so many minerals and iron ore from Australia.

Corporate trade is starting to grow in Australia. Two competitors from the U.K. entered the marketplace a year ago, but we’re so firmly established there that they’re finding it harder than they thought to get a foothold. Australia is a small market and relationships and trust go a long way.

Is the messaging consistent in Active’s markets around the world or is it directed at the local markets?

The essence of what we do in creating value mainly through advertising spend is consistent, but how you describe it, sell it, and work with it has to be local. We take our core concept and make it relevant in that market.

What makes a market the right one for Active and how broad do you foresee opportunities globally?

We first take into consideration the size of the advertising market in a particular country.

Second, it’s focusing on countries that have high consumer spends so there is a requirement for manufacturers and retailers to be in that market.

Third, we look at opportunities for clients across borders. As the global marketplace becomes more connected, our footprint offers a significant advantage in that companies can work with us regardless of where the headquarters are located.•