Top client P&G
Jeff Dufresne, former president of BrandStorm, a consulting practice of Cincinnati-based agency Northlich, is joining Saatchi X as chief marketing officer, a role agency CEO Andy Murray describes more as a chief operating officer. Mr. Dufresne, 46, will head the New York and Cincinnati offices of Saatchi X, oversee global work for top client Procter & Gamble Co. and develop new consulting capabilities for the shop.
Typically agencies in shopper marketing -- what Mr. Murray describes as the "first moment of truth space," borrowing a phrase made famous by P&G's Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley -- "are really the last moment of concept creation." But Mr. Dufresne believes "the shopper insight should be at the table in the upstream innovation."
Growth and expansion
At Saatchi X, Mr. Murray sees him as part of a practice that looks at "how the brand is qualified when it's brought to market to be tested, because a lot of that qualification perspective involves choice … in the context of store environments."
Saatchi X has more than doubled, to about 500 employees, since 2004, when it was formed through the acquisition of Thompson Murray, based near the headquarters of Wal-Mart Stores in Bentonville, Ark., and Saatchi's existing 20-employee retail-marketing unit in 2004. Saatchi's resources helped the unit grow to 23 offices and about 300 employees overseas. Now, Saatchi X rivals such Publicis marketing-services siblings as Dialog and Arc in employee count.
After helping to build the agency with clients including PepsiCo, Georgia-Pacific and Humana, Mr. Dufresene left BrandStorm late last year to launch his own consulting practice. Prior to BrandStorm, Mr. Dufresne was a P&G sales rep, a brand manager who helped take Pringles global and ultimately a general manager.
Wal-Mart, General Mills, Novartis
Besides P&G, Mr. Dufresne is also looking to boost Saatchi X's role with other clients, including Wal-Mart, General Mills, Novartis and Coca-Cola. And he sees part of his mission to apply the same analytical rigor to shopper marketing as other media get.
"In package goods, there's so much sophistication in [analyzing] your marketing mix," he said. "And then you just throw it over the wall into the store and treat that more like a cost center."
But while Mr. Murray sees shopper marketing someday occupying the screen in shoppers' cellphones, he doesn't see Saatchi X bringing advertising into stores. "Our center of gravity is more about what you need to do to connect with the shopper," he said, "whether that's better [product] adjacencies, how shoppers [select products or categories] or better packaging."
Saatchi X was one of several agencies that participated in developing Wal-Mart's most recent prototype in Plano, Texas, and Mr. Murray now sees retail competition globally moving from bigger stores and lower prices to better shopping experiences.