Digital marketing agency Three Ships has spun off its search engine optimization business into a new 35-employee company, Demand Signals.
The primary driver of the move, said Demand Signals CEO Justin Helmig, is that “the agency side of the business and the technology platform side of the business are just different businesses. As we present ourself to the market, it’s hard to do that with a single brand.”
But that’s not the only brand change for Three Ships. Its digital marketing business, which likewise has about 35 employees, has been rebranded as CRISP.
The Three Ships brand hasn’t sailed into the sunset, however. Instead, it’s become an incubator for new products and business ventures, the first of which is a startup customer acquisition business called 3S Ventures. Three Ships, which was founded in October 2009, also is the parent company of CRISP and Demand Signals.
The Demand Signals business got its start in 2014 when Three Ships decided to develop its own search engine optimization, or SEO, software after becoming dissatisfied with what was available on the market, said Helmig. Helmig, a former executive at StrikeIron, previously was managing director of the SEO business within Three Ships.
Demand Signals, which has more than 20 clients, touts that its technology is able to predict how high a company’s content will rank in Internet searches.
“We have a predictive platform that’s based on data science,” Helmig said. “We’re really focusing in on the analytics portion of it, focusing in on hardcore math to help our customers drive SEO traffic.”
In addition, Demand Signals offers SEO services, including writing content designed to perform well in searches and doing an “SEO audit” to ensure that a company’s website and other content are up to snuff.
Although Demand Signal clients can choose just to license its software, all of its current roster of clients also utilize the company’s services. That, said Helmig, demonstrates that clients value them.
Helmig declined to disclose Demand Signals’ revenue. Its clients include HealthMarkets, a nationwide health insurance broker with more than 200 offices nationwide, and Kool Smiles, a chain of pediatric dentist offices.
Demand Signals is currently based in two downtown Raleigh offices a block away from each other. But it plans to move in two weeks into the former Manpower building at Oberlin Road and Wade Avenue in Raleigh, which recently was acquired by a group that includes Zach Clayton, the CEO of Three Ships.