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CMO Council study finds marketers out of touch

Marketers still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding and interacting with customers, according to a recent study by the CMO Council. The study, "Select & Connect: Strategies for Targeted Acquisition and Retention," was based on a survey of more than 550 marketers in the first quarter. It found that nearly 75% of marketers did not have a customer advisory board or council. Of those that did, only 6% said the board was "very critical" in product innovation. Also, nearly 75% of marketers said they did not manage a formal online community of users or buyers, and more than 66% said they did not have a formal customer word-of-mouth program in place. The top three factors that prevent optimal customer insight and intimacy are complexity of data and system integration, competing departmental goals and person- alities, and an under-appreciation of such efforts within the company, the survey found.

1105 Media acquires two media companies

Startup media company 1105 Media, which is backed by private equity firms Nautic Partners and Alta Communications in partnership with Neal Vitale, a former Reed Elsevier and Petersen Publishing executive, announced two acquisitions last month. It acquired 101communications, a b-to-b media company that focuses on the IT market. Financial terms were not disclosed, but people familiar with the sale pegged the price at $75 million. 1105 Media also acquired 80-year-old Stevens Publishing, which focuses on environmental markets. Financial terms of that deal were also not disclosed.

Survey reports growth top priority for agencies

Sustaining growth is the No. 1 concern of independent agencies, according to an informal survey by ICOM, a global network of independent marketing communications agencies. The survey was conducted among ICOM member agencies during the recent ICOM Annual International Management Conference in Miami. Sustaining growth topped the list of concerns in all regions. In North America, recruitment was the No. 2 concern, followed by transfer of ownership.

ZenithOptimedia revises ad forecast upward

Media agency ZenithOptimedia has revised its advertising growth forecasts upward, largely because of the continued momentum in online advertising. Global advertising is predicted to grow 6.0% this year. That's up from ZenithOptimedia's original 5.9% growth forecast made in December. ZenithOptimedia said online will account for 5.4% of advertising spending this year and 6.5% in 2008. It predicted online will overtake outdoor advertising in terms of share in 2007 and will catch up with radio by 2008.

Media deals continue torrid pace in Q1

M&A activity in the media and information industry was up sharply in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, according to a report by media investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group. The total number of deals rose nearly 8% to 168, while deal value exceeded $14.60 billion, a 35% increase compared with the first quarter of 2005, for the 11 media and information sectors tracked by Jordan, Edmiston. Despite the overall increase in the M&A market, deals for b-to-b magazines declined. There were eight deals in the first quarter of 2006 compared with 14 in the first quarter last year, while the value of deals dropped 67%, to $120 million from $369 million. The number of deals for exhibitions and conferences increased to 14, from 11 last year, while the value of the deals increased 70%, to $220 million.

Pitney Bowes agrees to buy Ibis Consulting

Pitney Bowes announced that its Management Services subsidiary has agreed to acquire Ibis Consulting for about $67 million. Ibis provides electronic discovery, or "eDiscovery," services to law firms and corporate clients. Pitney Bowes said the Ibis technology and services complement those of Compulit, another company in the legal market that Pitney Bowes bought in 2005.

Klipmart introduces new online video unit

Klipmart Corp. announced a new online ad format, featuring six panels of simultaneously streaming online video ads. The ad unit is being used by Amp'd to promote a new line of mobile phones.

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