Player Profile: Jackson signs on at D'Arcy to grow database business

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In his 1994 book, "Strategic Database Marketing," Robert Jackson spelled out the ABCs of creating, managing and analyzing customer databases.

As D'Arcy Worldwide Marketing Services Group's first senior VP-database marketing, Mr. Jackson will apply those same skills as he expands D'Arcy's in-house database business. The 48-year-old, most recently a principal at database consultancy DiaLogos, Boston, will handle Web-based direct marketing in North America for D'Arcy and is charged with growing its database expertise both organically and by acquisition.

"We will help use customer marketing, database and the Web to build communities for D'Arcy [clients] in order to have consumers develop a relationship with [their] product," Mr. Jackson said, adding that D'Arcy's focus on branding and customer strategy for clients such as Procter & Gamble Co. and M&M/Mars will be a natural fit for database marketing.

Mr. Jackson, a Chicagoan who will remain in the Windy City and may take an office at D'Arcy parent Bcom3 Group, describes database marketing as "the strategy of customers." He first began exploring direct marketing techniques in 1976 at educational training company ITT Educational Services, and continued developing his direct response and database expertise at agencies and consulting groups including Tracy-Locke Direct, Denver (now part of Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide); and KnowledgeBase Marketing (now part of WPP Group's Young & Rubicam).

EARLY START

"I got into database really early," said Mr. Jackson, who has handled direct marketing and database work for clients such as Carol Wright, Kraft Foods, P&G and US West. "No one was talking about it before 1990."

The longtime member of the Direct Marketing Association and current vice chairman of the group's Ethics Policy Committee, said he has watched excitedly as the advent of the Internet has made it possible to use database technology to deal with customers in real time.

"Database has been totally energized by" the Net, Mr. Jackson said. "In the old world, companies worried about investing [in database]. In the e-world it's a requirement; they have to have it."

D'Arcy Worldwide Marketing Services Group President Wendy Riches agreed. "Quite honestly, now as we move more and more into one-to-one brand marketing, the database in developing the foundation for the way in which the brand develops is crucial," she said.

Ms. Riches decided to search for an expert to bolster D'Arcy's database offerings and immediately eyed Mr. Jackson, who she had first learned of through the 1994 book he co-authored with Northwestern University professor Paul Wang. She later worked with him when she hired DiaLogos to develop Hasbro's first comprehensive customer database.

Mr. Jackson, who credits his strong professional relationship with Ms. Riches as one of the reasons he was lured back to an advertising agency, said the D'Arcy offer came at a time when he was, "looking for a really fertile opportunity.

"This is definitely that kind of a place where I can quickly take the ball and run," he said. "They would have liked it yesterday."

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