Mobile messaging firm aims to bolster A.C. renaissance

File photo Atlantic City's casinos had a strong month in September.

MudShare, a small commercial-grade contact management and direct mobile messaging platform in Galloway, will have a big impact on the growth of Atlantic City, David Cerrone said.

“Atlantic City is one of our first big destination (cities),” Cerrone, owner and chief technology officer of MudShare, said.

Having been awarded a contract not to exceed $600,000 late last year from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, MudShare will be providing geospatial marketing services to better assist Atlantic City in attracting tourists.

“We plan to help the city discover who, exactly, is visiting, as the city’s ultimate goal is to communicate with their visitors to give them incentives to return,” Cerrone said. “Location data is the big catchphrase today — a lot is based on where you currently are at.”

Cerrone, having worked in technology his entire life, always is working to build and improve what capabilities are available to clients, he said.

After temporarily leaving school to pursue an opportunistic career in technology, Cerrone started and managed his own background verification services company at the age of 29 before selling it to a competing Fortune 500 company in 2004.

He then started and managed a political technology services company focused on CRM, mobile and Voice over Internet Protocol — while becoming the first in his family to graduate college — before selling it in 2012.

That, Cerrone said, is when he truly started building out the technology for what would become MudShare.

“It started simply as a way for two professionals to easily share contact information,” he said.

Though it took years to perfect the technology, MudShare’s revenue has more than quintupled after its first full year in business in 2017, Cerrone added, with less than a dozen employees.

“We’re all about building out and aggregating data to then message people, whether it be for political- or consumer-based purposes,” Cerrone said. “Any way you can think of to communicate and collect information — texts, emails, calls, social media, surveys, polls, door-to-door canvassing — that is really what we are all about.”

With nearly 40 percent of MudShare’s business being in the political space — “the industry is cyclical and also provides us with great (corporate) contacts, too,” Cerrone said — and clients across 33 states and counting, MudShare is all about compliance and privacy.

“We make sure that everything we do, especially when dealing with data and communications, is legal and secure,” Cerrone said.

While geospatial marketing services remain controversial, Cerrone said MudShare is acting no differently than any other mobile application or internet search engine.

“You ever search for car tires on Google and all of a sudden you start seeing advertisements for car tires on Facebook? Most people are used to that sort of thing by now,” Cerrone said. “However, we hugely emphasize transparency and give consumers full knowledge of what is happening, as well as options in which to opt out.”

MudShare’s contract with the CRDA will allow the company to tap into data sources generated by mobile devices and applications to identify consumers and build databases for Atlantic City based on users’ habits, Cerrone said.

“We have the technology to aggregate such data and make it useful in ways that other vendors may not,” Cerrone said.

The data would be owned by the CRDA and could be used for destination marketing campaigns via text messages, emails, automated phone calls or voicemails, as well as social media advertising.

“For restaurant week advertisements, for example, or discounts for beach concerts,” Cerrone said.

MudShare also is currently in talks with other destination cities in Texas, Georgia, Ohio and Nevada, Cerrone said.

“We’ve got half a dozen sales cycles in various stages,” he said. “For you to market to anyone, you have to know who your demographic is.

“We’re just helping cities better understand theirs to better incentivize people to visit.”

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