WEB BECOMES CRUCIAL TO RELATIONSHIP EFFORTS: MILLER/HUBER'S NEW CLIENTNET FORMALIZES ITS INTERACTIVE CAPABILITIES

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Miller/huber Relationship Marketing is launching ClientNet, an interactive subsidiary that will focus solely on relationship marketing in the online arena.

Michael Sullivan is heading the new subsidiary as VP; he comes to Miller/Huber from Pop Interactive, another San Francisco-based Web agency, where he was president.

"ClientNet is the cornerstone of true relationship marketing," said Floyd Miller, president-CEO of Miller/Huber. "It was an obvious requisite for us to be relationship marketers to have this capability."

Miller/Huber has had a healthy interactive division, though it wasn't formalized as a separate entity until now. Ten-year-old Miller/Huber estimates that 30% to 40% of its total business consists of interactive clients, including British Airways' Venture Club, its frequent flier program for small business; Cisco Systems, for its corporate and five other lines of business including Cisco Power Network; Gateway.com for relationship marketing online to its existing customer base; Walker, for its financial applications software marketing; and project work for both Sun Microsystems and Netscape Communications Corp.

UNDERSTANDING WEB USERS

Programs and promotions to drive traffic to Web sites are an important part of the mix, Mr. Sullivan said, but equally important is the ability to understand the behavior of the people visiting Web sites.

"Understanding user experience and how people interact with the Web is a big part of establishing a . . . relationship with customers," he said, adding that the Web lends itself to that more readily and more quickly than other targeted media such as direct mail.

Mr. Miller agreed: "Paper doesn't go away, but [the Internet] gives us a new level of intimacy with consumers. With intimacy you get loyalty and with loyalty you get profitability."

CLIENTNET LINKS WITH GOLDBERG

Focusing on existing business will be a priority, but future ClientNet projects include an integrated marketing program in concert with Miller/Huber and Goldberg Moser O'Neill, another San Francisco-based agency, for a soon-to-launched automotive-based Web community for an undisclosed client. Kia Motors America is a Goldberg client, but executives wouldn't confirm the project is for South Korean carmaker.

ClientNet will provide online marketing, including e-mail marketing and customer acquisition efforts, while Miller/Huber will concentrate on direct and database marketing, including direct mail and database marketing management. Goldberg

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