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Mosaic Interactive’s mobile momentum

By LVEDC Staff on August 9, 2012

Matt McKernan isn’t afraid to be his own man. When you get down to it, what higher compliment can you pay a man than that?

McKernan’s raspy voice and mile-a-minute dialogue sounds like he missed his calling as a FM disc jockey. It draws you in like a good book. And listening to him rap about Mosaic Interactive, a company that is devoted to taking an interactive approach to marketing, is like reading a soon-to-be bestseller.

“I totally believe in Mosaic Interactive,” he says during a recent interview in his Southside Bethlehem office. “My chips are all in.”

Those that give advice can be a dangerous thing. They might be egomaniacs, wrong or very, very wise. But McKernan notes he did receive some great advice from a friend.

“He said you don’t want to be bleeding edge Matt, you want to be cutting edge.”

The rationale is simple. If you are bleeding edge, you’re just going to bleed a lot, thanks to copious amounts of mistakes by taking risks that cost you profitability. Taking risks is a necessity to being successful, but they must be prudent. You can bleed a little bit, but it has to be cutting edge.

Educating clients is at the essence of the Mosaic Interactive partnership.

“When you’re working with Mosaic, you’re being educated on the industry,” he said. “How it changes, how it affects you.”

“The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation invested in me first with the KIZ (Keystone Innovation Zone) money we were able to get a small grant,” McKernan said. “…They’ve been very kind to us.”

Much obliged Mosaic. See you in the winner’s circle.

Taking a stand

Matt McKernan’s favorite holiday is Halloween. It’s fitting that Mosaic Interactive came into existence on that date in 2006.

Nine years earlier McKernan started working at the Lieberman-Appalucci Advertising Agency, where he later won a CASSIE award for building the first website where you could rent a truck online for Penske Truck Leasing, increasing net new business by $1 million.  That success was a ticket to a career at Kutztown University three years later where he became the school’s first webmaster.

“I quickly rose through the ranks to become a director, and I was the youngest one at the time,” said McKernan.

Climbing the ladder proved a mixed bag for McKernan who found himself directing creative initiatives instead of actually being, creative.

“I lost that creative feeling and I saw that the industry was changing and becoming more interactive,” he said.

McKernan went for his Master’s degree where in 2001 he began penning his thesis entitled “A Convergence of Technologies” that boldly stated within 10 years a person would have just one device that provided every piece of media.”

“At the time there was no such thing as an iPhone,” he noted. “It became clear, to me, that the internet wasn’t going to come to the masses through a desktop.”

He thought it would be through a phone.

His professors were tough sells. Sure, they appreciated McKernan’s enthusiasm, but thought he may be missing the mark. Still they said go for it, make your dream come true.

“It became very clear to me it was going to come true,” McKernan said describing that light-bulb moment. “Once I realized it was going to come true, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. I was already ahead of the curve.”

He who hesitates is lost.

“I had a really nice job at Kutztown University,” he said matter-of-fact. “I cashed in my 401 (k), paid the penalties, paid the taxes, resigned and started Mosaic.”

Taking flight

If McKernan was so inclined he could get a box of homemade T-shirts made up that say “Mosaic Interactive: Because stealthy, viral video campaigns are so 2000…”

Marketing campaigns have always had to fight to stand out. But make that doubly so today. The market demands that you come up with ideas that are self-perpetuating.

The line between confidence and tomfoolery often dictates success or failure and some people who knew McKernan thought he fell into the latter camp when he left the comfort of a steady paycheck to the great unknown of Mosiac. Undaunted, McKernan paid attention to the one person he knew he could trust: himself. And he knew he was on the right track during the first instance. So with the support of a good woman (his wife) they started Mosiac on a simple, but yet complex premise: The market was about to make a massive shift, and they researched and prepared the technology to meet that shift.

When the iPhone eventually came out, they were already developing Mac software. Making that transition proved challenging, but doable.

“We were able to make that transition from a purely creative agency on web design and internet marketing aspect and moving that to the mobile side,” McKernan said.

And oh what Mosaic can do with that mobile side.

“We can tie in your internet, website and mobile marketing all from one interface,” he noted. “And all three forms of media are interactive and share a common data base.”

Today Mosaic has nine full-time employees who have enough skills to more than pay the bills. They provide a blistering array of services from web design and development, mobile application design and development, SEO, SEM, brand development and print design.

Who are Mosiac’s clients?

Do you have an hour?

Toledo Furniture, the Greater Lehigh Valley Buy Fresh Buy Local, Cool Speak, Culligan, Dixie, Dynalene, Loikitis, Norton Oil, National Pest Management Association, NRA Media, Penn State University….

…and the list goes on.

And this is just the start.

Mosiac Interactive

So who is the perfect Mosaic Interactive client?

“The goal is to put this technology into the hands of every business owner,” McKernan said.

With the convergence of technology, Mosaic can track any person wherever they go at anytime and then present you with advertising based on your actual physical location.

“So say you’re driving down the road and you’re just about the pass Dorney Park and when you’re about five miles out, we recognize where you are and we send a push notification. It’s location-based advertising.”

Mosaic is helping to make advertising a personalized experience.

How to remain competitive?

Mosaic Interactive has a lot on the proverbial ball to offer a client, but how do they stay a step ahead of the competition?

“We have New York abilities right here in the Lehigh Valley and that’s our biggest price-break. That’s how we’re able to make a cost-savings for our clients,” McKernan says. “We know how to build things in a modular fashion that can be reused. Allowing us to make use of a framework can be used over and over again,” he said.

In fact he’s not afraid of a little rivalry.

“If you pitted us against any other application developer in New York City we’d be half the price of what they are and we’re better developers,” he said.

No bragging. Just fact, he says.

How do they stay ahead of the curve?

“We’ve dreamed of things where the technology just wasn’t available and say two years later it was,” he says.

For example one employee got his job thanks to his ability to dream.

“His resume was great,” McKernan recalls. “And he noted that he could also start his motorcycle with his android.”

McKernan was skeptical.

“I told him you “You come in, start your bike with your android and we’ll talk.”

A few days later the guy came in, handed McKernan the phone and with the push of a button…

“The fuel pump pumps, and then the bike starts up,” McKernan recalls with utter amazement. “That was amazing.”

Cutting edge versus bleeding edge

Those that give advice can be a dangerous thing. They might be egomaniacs, wrong or very, very wise. But McKernan notes he did receive some great advice from a friend.

“He said you don’t want to be bleeding edge Matt, you want to be cutting edge.”

The rationale is simple. If you are bleeding edge, you’re just going to bleed a lot, thanks to copious amounts of mistakes by taking risks that cost you profitability. Taking risks is a necessity to being successful, but they must be prudent. You can bleed a little bit, but it has to be cutting edge.

Educating clients is at the essence of the Mosaic Interactive partnership.

“When you’re working with Mosaic, you’re being educated on the industry,” he said. “How it changes, how it affects you.”

“The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation invested in me first with the KIZ (Keystone Innovation Zone) money we were able to get a small grant,” McKernan said. “…They’ve been very kind to us.”

Much obliged Mosaic. See you in the winner’s circle.

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