Aside from surviving years in the ad agency business, I co-founded the online marketing site MarketingVOX, produce the ad:tech conference weblog and publish the award winning (seriously) advertising news and commentary site Adrants. Oh, and then there's AdGabber, a social networking wite for the ad industry.
Highlights with Details Below
Department and Operation
Built and launched the media planning and buying operation for Leo Burnett Technology Group while employed by Starcom Worldwide. Leo Burnett Technology Group (formerly TFA) was acquired by Leo Burnett. TFA had no media operation in place and I was brought on via Starcom, Leo Burnett’s media company, to build and run the media operation for the four Leo Burnett Technology Group offices (Austin, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco). Responsibilities included interfacing with both Starcom and TFA financial operations as well as participating in all new business pitches for all four offices. After this period, operation was then handed to Starlink, a division of Starcom set up to offer the capabilities of Starcom to small- and mid-sized agencies.
Based on my success, I was retained by the Boston office of Leo Burnett Technology Group to build this media capability in-house while Starlink took over for the other three offices. Grew billings from $0 to $38M and fees from $0 to $2.5M.
Client and Brand
Developed, positioned, and launched two high technology clients for Leo Burnett Technology Group and one Beer Company for Harpell. From the preliminary research and account planning through the development of messaging and final positioning, these companies were all provided a platform from which to launch their marketing communications programs.
As an example, for Mobilocity, a wireless consultant and implementer, it involved primary research into the needs and expectations for wireless solutions as well as the determination of who the likely buyers of these services are. It involved a competitive analysis of brand positioning, competitive spending, and market segmentation of all potential competitor companies. And finally, it involved the translation of these findings into a concise positioning and creative to accomplish this positioning.
PC DOCS was a company well known in the document management space. At this time, document management was transcending into the new space of knowledge management. Many document management companies were known for simply organizing the flow of paper. Knowledge management was all about controlling, sharing, accessing information and collective intelligence for both tangible (words and numbers) as well as intangible (thoughts, notes, meetings, conversations).
PC DOCS had the systems in their technology to master the control of the tangible and pretty much control the intangible. The challenge was not only convincing the audience of PC DOCS' abilities but to explain what knowledge management was in the first place. KM involves a new mind set of truly sharing corporate information for process to work. That was the biggest hurdle. One that was more easily conveyed when we were able to get across the message that collective knowledge has a value and if a company has value it is therefore seen as valuable by its customers, investors and Wall Street.
My role was in exploring the KM space and convincing PC DOCS that, if they wanted to survive, the must transcend into this new category or risk being seen as a paper filing system with no added value to a company’s business model.
Awareness and Stock Price
Tyco International is a large holding company with many subsidiaries in many different business categories. It wasn’t always this way. At the time of my involvement, Tyco was primarily the parent company to Grinnell, a fire sprinkler and valve and piping company.
As we now know, among other things, Tyco is much larger, much broader in scope. Knowing the desire of Dennis Kozlowski, CEO, to aggressively acquire companies as a means of rapid growth, my role was in convincing a very lean and very minimalist marketing organization that marketing can play a key role in increasing awareness and stock price – two extremely important aspects for a company on an acquisition track.
The research into this area resulted in their authorizing a $1.5M budget for marketing to the business community and Wall Street. A rather small sum for a Fortune 500 company but, for a company that had never advertised before, it was quite an achievement. The research provided showed a direct correlation between the amount of money spent on marketing and the equity a company had with their constituents. As well, it showed that increased spending also has a direct correlation to stock price. So for Tyco, increasing their awareness and their stock price enabled them to become the conglomerate they are today. Or rather, the conglomerate they were before Dennis Kozlowski and the rest of the management decided to steal millions for their own personal use.
Information Builders was an old-line data warehousing company. Most people knew who they were but they could not grasp how this old company could fit into the newly defined e-commerce space and how it could benefit their company’s e-businesses.
For years, Information Builders had marketed only to Information Technology titles, their assumed typical buyers of technology for corporations. Information Builders could not see that top management was taking a more important role in the selection of technologies that could positively serve their business mission. The importance of technology had risen so high in the minds of the CEO audience that it was now consuming over 10% of their time. Without awareness to this group, technology companies would have a very steep hill to climb.
I demonstrated that CEOs and other CxO titles define the direction of their companies and the processes that must be in place to accomplish those goals. CxOs are intimately involved with defining a business need and approving any implementation that will affect that need. With technology’s ability to deeply affect a company’s operation, the goal was to convince Information Builders that it is less of a technology issue and more of a business issue. The communication had to change from speeds and feeds to the business benefits that Information Builders could bring to a company.
Research was conducted to support this thesis and then presented to the client. With hesitancy, Information Builders agreed with the thesis. A campaign was then created and budget allocated to deliver this new message to the CxO audience. Information Builders never before did this and the results were incredible. Awareness among the CxO audience increased 30% within a year.