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Direct Agency of the Year: MRM blends technology, creativity

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MRM, New York, the digital and direct agency of McCann Worldgroup, has been named BtoB's 2012 Top Direct Agencies winner for its innovation in blending technology and creativity to deliver results for clients. “We live at the crossroads of creativity and technology; we are builders as well as "ideators,' ” said Michael McLaren, president of MRM East, New York. “We are building the applications and system integration ourselves. We get inside the client's business, understand their data and create solutions that enable them to get access to data and distribute content to any digital interface in the world.” Last year, MRM won new b-to-b accounts including ALD Automotive, BAE Systems, Bayer CropScience, CSC, MasterCard Worldwide, Pfizer Inc. and Statoil. It expanded work with existing clients such as Intel Corp., Verisign Inc. and Verizon Communications. MRM also serves existing clients Microsoft Corp. and Nortel Networks. “2011 was a major year for MRM,” McLaren said. “We really solidified and took on a new range of global client relationships.” For client Intel, MRM created the Intel Manager game, a digital and social media platform to inform IT decision-makers about Intel's products, raise brand awareness and increase brand preference. “The IT decision-maker is not easy to reach through traditional communications channels,” McLaren said. “They tend to be marketing-averse. They want third-party information; they want to do their own research; and they avoid "salesspeak.' ” So MRM created IT Manager III: Unseen Forces, billed as “A fun game for people serious about IT.” The online game, built using Intel technologies, created scenarios in which IT people could solve problems and help a fictitious company run better. Players could win “badges” for excelling through different levels of the game. The game was promoted on Intel's website and on social media channels, but a key promotion was word-of-mouth, McLaren said. The game drew more than 120,000 registrations, and Intel gave MRM its Intel Innovation Grand Prix Award for 2011, which it awards to a top supplier. For Microsoft, MRM created Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community, an integrated campaign designed to drive leads for Microsoft's small-business partners. “This audience is particularly challenging,” McLaren said. “The perception is, "The big guys are not really concerned about companies our size. Does Microsoft notice what I need and have anything to offer relevant to my needs?' ” To engage the small-business audience, MRM created a campaign that began with a direct mail piece, then a follow-up email two weeks later that drove recipients to a microsite with a personalized URL featuring an aerial photograph of their office building on a map, with the headline “Microsoft wants to recommend... [the name of the business].” The campaign generated a 58% response rate, and 10% of small businesses that went to the microsite joined the Microsoft small business community. For Nortel, MRM created “Unified Communications,” a lead-generation campaign designed to drive sales for Nortel's unified communications offerings and to provide a platform to cross- and upsell other Nortel offerings. MRM targeted C-level executives with a high-impact, direct mail piece that included a working smartphone with a personalized message allowing recipients to connect to a Nortel sales manager by pressing the “5” key on the phone. As an incentive to set up an appointment with a sales rep, recipients were told the Nortel rep would bring the phone's charger and accessories to the meeting. The campaign saw a high response rate, with 45% of C-level executives setting up a meeting with a Nortel sales manager and 25% of IT decision-makers responding. Overall, the campaign generated leads worth more than $6 million in potential sales, McLaren said. Also last year, MRM expanded its b-to-b strategic capabilities in engagement planning, route-to-market planning and content strategy. In its engagement planning practice, MRM uses propriety technology to map the ecosystem of constituents for clients, such as buyers and key influencers, then quantifies the most effective way to reach decision-makers with an integrated marketing mix. In its route-to-market planning, MRM works with clients to improve field marketing and indirect channel performance via market analysis, customer segmentation and account-based marketing techniques. Finally, MRM expanded its content marketing practice using proprietary digital behavior modeling, enabling clients to target audiences with relevant editorial content.
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