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InfoUSA makes bid for Digital Impact

InfoUSA last Thursday announced it has made a bid to acquire Digital Impact, an e-mail marketing services provider, for $2 per share in cash. InfoUSA's proposal represented a 38% premium over Digital Impact's Thursday closing price of $1.45 a share. InfoUSA has been on an acquisition tear. On the heels of several acquisitions last year, it announced Feb. 1 that it had acquired @Once, an e-mail technology company. It said it planned to integrate @Once's operations with YesMail, its e-mail subsidiary.

McCann names Ross to lead Microsoft work

Matthew Ross has been named to the newly created position of president of McCann Worldgroup, San Francisco, and global CEO-Microsoft brands. The move reflects the significant resources that McCann is dedicating to its Microsoft business. Ross will join McCann in March. He is currently chief operating officer-IBM brand services worldwide at Ogilvy & Mather.

VNU creates Web site for Wal-Mart suppliers

VNU Business Media has launched a subscription-based Web site for Wal-Mart suppliers. The site,, offers a complete archive of Wal-Mart-related news and analysis from VNU b-to-b magazine and Web site brands, such as Progressive Grocer. The site will also include original reporting and exclusive data from VNU's ACNielsen. "As Wal-Mart continues its unprecedented growth, suppliers are increasingly pressured to keep pace with both the needs of the retailer's customers and the demands of the retailer's merchandising and logistics systems," said Don Longo, director-editorial and content development for the retail group of VNU Business Publications.

Merrill: Ad trend favors Web, direct marketing

National advertisers are putting increased emphasis on nontraditional advertising and marketing in a trend that is likely to continue, according to Merrill Lynch's "Advertising & Marketing Services" industry update. "As advertising shifts from an investment to an expense within organizations, the need to measure returns and/or lower costs has heightened," the report stated. Beneficiaries of that shift will be Internet advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion and branded entertainment, according to Merrill. The company is forecasting 4.6% overall U.S. ad growth this year, excluding direct mail. Direct mail spending is projected to rise 5.5% this year.

Visa forecasts growth in small-business sector

Small-business spending will increase an estimated 5.4% this year to $4.7 trillion and reach $5.3 trillion in 2008, according to a forecast by Visa USA. Advertising and marketing spending by small businesses-defined as those with less than $25 million in annual sales-is expected to reach nearly $250 billion this year and grow at a compounded annual rate of about 9% through 2008. The largest share of expenditures (34%) comprises core business services, including accounting, insurance, legal, and shipping and mailing. Core services are forecast to grow 5.7% this year, to $1.6 trillion.

B2BWorks changes name to ClearGauge

B2BWorks has changed its name to ClearGauge to reflect its expanded range of online marketing and ROI measurement services. The agency was founded in 1999 and specializes in customer acquisition and qualification programs on the Internet. Its clients have included Dow Chemical Co., GE Corporate Financial Services and John Deere Commercial Division. ClearGauge recently received a new round of financing led by Saints Capital.

Sparks Exhibits buys Showtime Enterprises

Event marketing agency Sparks Exhibits & Environments has agreed to acquire Showtime Enterprises, a trade show exhibit designer, marketer and producer. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In addition to its trade show work, Showtime creates point-of-purchase displays and handles premium incentive programs.

AdMarketplace picks Connors as PR agency

Connors Communications has been named PR agency of record for adMarketplace, an auction-based online ad system. Connors will provide positioning and public relations services for adMarketplace to a target audience of U.S. publishing, advertising and media executives.

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