Jim Porçarelli, Active International

Jim Porçarelli

Editors' Note

As Chief Strategy Officer, Jim Porçarelli brings nearly 25 years of advertising and strategic marketing experience from agencies such as MediaCom and the former DMB&B (now part of Publicis).

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 do you define your role within Active and its leadership team?

My job is to be Active’s eyes and ears in the marketplace – not just the current marketplace, but to project where the market is going. The other component of the job is to understand what are the best practices that a brand must have in place to not only compete in the marketplace but to outpace the competition.

How do you work with CMOs who may be concerned about using corporate trade?

In the past, this industry has worked primarily with financial executives. It was a logical approach because in theory it was easier to sell the finance person who would legislate participation by other divisions of his or her company.

But the world has changed and Chief Marketing Officers and Brand Management Executives are more budget compromised than ever before. The finance department in most cases can no longer legislate that they participate in certain programs if it isn’t going to directly impact their business.

We’ve changed how we go to market by including the marketing and media executives at the beginning of the conversation because these are the end-users of most of our products and services. We’ve also done a better job of articulating the model and measurements for success that are most relevant to them.

What’s different in your approach for reaching marketing and media executives?

I came from the advertising world where ideally a bond forms when you win new business. That agency becomes an extension of that brand. While we can’t expect to have the exact same relationship as their agency, we do try to create a relationship based on trust. We endeavor to collaborate with the brand’s agency, and the marketing and media executives at the company very early in the process. It is an inclusionary process. We’re not looking to compete with or replace a client’s agency. In reality, if we bring additional funds to the table through our trading model, the agency gets to execute more of their innovative ideas, which further solidifies their client relationship.

In terms of Active’s global footprint, have you been able to create a consistent, seamless messaging platform or is there a need to develop different approaches for each of the individual markets?

As we’ve grown, we’ve become more aware of the value of an international brand and a consistent experience by those who work with us. We also recognized the need for flexibility in the local markets. So we have developed an umbrella strategy that every market around the world can easily fit under while translating the business model specifically for the needs of the individual markets. Active intends to bring value to every trade and every relationship.•