R/GA's First Customer Relationship Exec Wants Brands to Be Loyal to Customers

Matt Tepper Has First CRM-Specific Role at the Agency

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Matt Tepper, VP of CRM at R/GA
Matt Tepper, VP of CRM at R/GA

Think of Matt Tepper as sort of a one-man startup inside an agency. The recently-hired managing director, VP of CRM at New York's R/GA has the first role devoted to customer relationship management at the agency, and he intends to help define the next stage of CRM and develop a newer discipline -- something Mr. Tepper calls prospect relationship marketing.

"We want to be able to take that sophistication on the customer side and apply it to the prospecting side," said Mr. Tepper, who started with R/GA at the end of February.

"We're reaching an inflection point in digital marketing where we can now identify and reach specific groups of consumers," said Seth Solomons, exec VP, chief global client services officer and managing director at R/GA New York, in an email. "Matt's arrival allows R/GA to craft a new model of CRM-- the strategy and sophistication that was only possible in customer communications, now applied to prospect and customer communications in paid and owned media." Mr. Tepper reports to Mr. Solomons.

Customer data has been "locked in email because that's the only addressable [digital] channel," said Mr. Tepper. "Now they're connecting all these pipes on the back end making all these channels addressable."

Even loyalty programs, where clients talk about struggling with maintaining the right kind of effort, deserve a new spin, according to Mr. Tepper. "We want them to flip it," he said, suggesting brands should communicate with their customers in a supportive way, in order to be loyal to them.

Before Mr. Solomons wooed him to R/GA, Mr. Tepper headed marketing for General Assembly, a tech education startup.

While crafting the agency's customer data approach, Mr. Tepper works closely with Tony Effik, the firm's managing director of media and communications, and Sue Davidson, senior VP-analytics and accountability at R/GA.

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