Few business stories resonate with the themes of growth, innovation, and leadership as vividly as Ironmark’s latest acquisition Deliver Media. This Tampa-based company uses first- and third-party data and predictive analytics powered by Machine Learning (ML) to launch powerful multi-channel marketing campaigns. CEO Sean Johnson’s journey from entry-level sales to CEO and now, the Chief Strategy Officer with Ironmark shines a light on the power of data analytics and predictive analysis in transforming services for successful brands. 

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Tampa, FL, Deliver Media is the go-to partner for franchises like Domino’s Pizza looking to leverage customer data and predictive analytics to better understand how to interact with customers to foster deep relationships that lead to repeat business. The addition of this well-established organization, with its own sharply honed areas of marketing expertise, into the Ironmark portfolio, will unlock unprecedented opportunities for clients to drive return on invested marketing spend. Their goal is to help clients leverage their first-party data to make better marketing decisions and supercharge performance.

From Insights to Impact: Data-Fueled Explosive Growth

Founded as a modest print company, Deliver Media began by offering small-scale marketing solutions, such as producing two-color door hangers for local businesses. Sean Johnson's entry into the company in 2002 marked the start of an unprecedented era of growth and innovation. From these humble beginnings, Johnson and his colleagues embarked on an ambitious mission to grow sales and expand beyond the Tampa market, transitioning Deliver Media from a small print company to a data-driven multi-channel marketing agency. 

Under Sean's leadership, Deliver Media saw a staggering 500% growth in six years, working with over 4,000 franchises. This transformation was fueled by a clear vision to leverage the first-party data customers had in their sales systems, unlocking opportunities to offer more sophisticated products. 

The People, The Data, The Necessity

Three core components have driven Sean throughout his career: the people, the data, and the necessity. With a company comprised largely of friends, family, and those who became friends through working together, Johnson highlights the importance of relationships in making successes sweeter and failures more manageable. This close-knit group’s dedication was a testament to its collective commitment to reinvent Deliver Media.

Further fueling Sean’s passion is his fascination with data. He thrives on treating data as a puzzle, positioning clients in a way that gives them a competitive edge. The ability to strategize in the front end and witness the tangible ROI on the back end is incredibly rewarding.

The decision Sean made over a decade ago to acquire Deliver Media was spurred by necessity. In 2013, faced with a company showing signs of financial mismanagement, Johnson took a leap of faith, investing his entire net worth to secure the company’s future. This bold move was motivated by the security of his friends and family employed at Deliver Media, marking a significant turning point in the company’s trajectory. For Sean, it was a very stressful yet very rewarding decision.

The Acquisition Journey

The acquisition of Deliver Media by Ironmark is far more than a business transaction; it's a strategic alignment of values, culture, and vision. Sean’s experience with M&A has been a mix of dramatic successes and learning moments. In 2014, the acquisition of ImageBoard marked a significant milestone, expanding Deliver Media's digital expertise and client base.

However, not all acquisition attempts were smooth. A potential acquisition with another company between 2017 and 2019 fell through at the final moment, leading Deliver Media to refocus on organic growth. This pivot proved to be a blessing in disguise, propelling Deliver Media to achieve remarkable growth in profit and revenue.

Meeting Jeff Ostenso, the CEO of Ironmark, marked the beginning of a new chapter. Their shared values and mutual respect for each’s company culture made the integration a harmonious process. Sean saw in Ironmark a kindred spirit, where the importance of people, challenges, and opportunities echoed his own beliefs. Deliver Media spent nearly 14 months on its due diligence before confirming that the acquisition by Ironmark made complete sense.


Decoding Tomorrow: How Predictive Analytics Will Continue Giving Data a Voice

With the acquisition complete, Sean is poised to bring his expertise in data analytics and predictive analysis to a broader platform at Ironmark. His journey from an entry-level sales position to a pivotal leadership role serves as an inspiring testament to the power of vision, dedication, and strategic innovation.

The seamless merging of Deliver Media with Ironmark exemplifies the transformative impact of leadership and data-driven strategies in the modern business landscape. This new union promises not only to continue serving clients with a data-centric approach but also to explore new horizons in the marketing industry, setting a benchmark for others to follow. 

Click below to read the full announcement on our recent dual acquisition.


Written by Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley oversees the digital marketing client services team as well as the marketing strategy division for the company. Since joining the company in 2016, she has increased Ironmark’s digital presence by over 700%, establishing a new lead generation mechanism for the sales team. A certified inbound marketing professional and HubSpot agency partner, Kingsley has been helping companies transform their marketing function into fully diverse and streamlined growth engines since 2003. With agency and client-side work under her belt, Kingsley’s strategic experience spans both the B2B and B2C sectors. Prior to joining the Ironmark team, she served as in-house marketing director for several non-profit organizations. Kingsley is an honors graduate of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
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