Special Report: 2004 Top Agencies

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MAIN STORY: New challenge: Managing growth Large agencies: Ogilvy's award-winning creative in 'demand' Mid size agencies: Martin Agency strikes gold with 'brown' Small agencies: Slack Barshinger bids for success and wins big Agents of change: Services key to interactive shops' success Interactive agencies: brings value to growing b-to-b client roster Methodology How the agencies were selected Top Agencies: chart (PDF)

New challenge: Managing growth Kate Maddox

B-to-b agencies had a markedly different challenge in 2003: managing growth as the economy started to bounce back. After two years of slashing marketing budgets, clients started spending again, although at a modest rate.

Overall ad spending last year was up 6.7% over 2002, according to CMR/TNS Media Intelligence, and b-to-b spending was up 0.6% through November, according to Business Information Network figures from American Business Media and CMR/TNS.

For b-to-b agencies, this meant delivering more new business pitches, handling expanded business from existing clients, and rolling out new services to meet client needs.

"The challenge was properly qualifying the onslaught of new opportunities after the drought," said Gary Slack, chairman-chief experience officer at Slack Barshinger, Chicago, which won the small agency category in this year's BtoB Top Agencies Special Report.

"With the economy improving, there is a huge increase in the number of calls, e-mails, RFPs [requests for proposals] and RFIs [requests for information] from organizations all over the country," he said. "The temptation is to pursue every one, although we need to do more upfront evaluation and qualification."

The agency has a few criteria it sticks to in deciding which business to go after: It only pursues b-to-b work, and it only works with clients that have a commitment to marketing, Slack said.

To handle the growth, the agency plans to hire a full-time business development coordinator and is learning how to work better with search consultants as it goes after larger accounts, Slack added.

Pragmatic approach to tech In the tech sector, which was hit hardest during the recession, agencies devised new strategies to serve clients in 2003.

"We saw the techno-optimism rolling down into more of a pragmatism," said Dave Boede, president of boede&partners, a Salt Lake City-based tech agency that received honorable mention in the small agency category in this year's report. "The old-fashioned model of sitting back on big retainers and commissions all over the place doesn't exist anymore. Now we are paid on consulting hours, which means our revenue changes month to month." This poses a challenge of keeping staff and operations running smoothly with constantly shifting budgets.

Joe Norris, managing partner at Sullivan Higdon & Sink, a Wichita, Kan., b-to-b agency, also said managing agency resources was a big challenge in 2003.

"Nearly all of our b-to-b clients were either flat or down in spending," he said. "Our challenge was how to keep all our resources together so we could continue to serve our clients when times got better."

One way the agency invested in resources was to give its employees flight-training lessons to better understand the needs of its aviation clients, including Cessna Aircraft Co.; Textron Lycoming, which makes aircraft engines; and Rockwell Collins, an avionics company. Sullivan Higdon now has five licensed pilots on its staff, including employees in account services, art direction, writing and IT. "This really allows them to talk peer to peer to pilots," Norris said.

In 2003, Sullivan Higdon was invited to 12 b-to-b pitches and won 11, including Textron Lycoming, Cargill Meat Solutions and GE ERC (Employers Reinsurance Corp.).

Tapping new markets Another challenge for agencies is helping clients define and market to new segments, agency executives said.

"Being able to have your brand have offerings in an array of business segments is important," said Bill Gray, president of Ogilvy New York, which won the large agency category in this year's special report.

"SMB [small and midsize business] is a growing market," Gray said. Several of Ogilvy's clients, including IBM Corp., AT&T Wireless and American Express Co., have stepped up marketing to the SMB segment.

Agencies also had to be more creative with their use of media in 2003.

"The biggest challenge was doing more with less on behalf of our clients," said Carl Anderson, president-CEO of Doremus, which received honorable mention in the midsize category. "It was less about the big ad splash and really getting more into the channels with integrated marketing efforts."

Doremus made use of more guerrilla marketing efforts for its b-to-b clients in 2003.

For a campaign aimed at the Wall Street investment community for client United Technologies, Doremus used outdoor ads complete with audio in prominent New York thoroughfares, such as the Helmsley walkway near Grand Central Station, to get investors' attention. "It's really being much more creative with the media deployment," Anderson said.

Jim Stadler, VP-account director at DDB Chicago, which received honorable mention in the large agency category, said clients are beginning to make effective use of their IT investments, such as CRM platforms. Rather than invest in new technology, they are investing in people and strategies to push forward CRM-related initiatives.

"They are more aggressively activating that part of the business and taking advantage of investments in infrastructure made in years past," Stadler said.

Large agencies

Ogilvy's award-winning creative in 'demand' Ogilvy, a global agency that includes Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, OgilvyInteractive and OgilvyOne, demonstrated growth in its b-to-b business in 2003 while creating outstanding work for clients.

Ogilvy picked up several new accounts last year, including E.I. DuPont de Nemours, FM Global, American Chemistry Council and Terra Lycos. It also created major integrated campaigns for b-to-b clients IBM Corp., American Express Co. and Cisco Systems.

Its work for IBM's "e-business on demand" garnered at least 10 awards, including a Cannes Lion as well as a One Show award, a Clio, an ICON and an ADDY. That campaign continued the vision launched by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano in late 2002 for an on-demand world of computing, positioning IBM as a leader in providing hardware, software and services for e-business on demand.

"We are trying to get people to look at the implications of on demand for the whole world-what real customers are doing, what IBM is doing to help real customers and changes to different industries," said Chris Wall, senior partner and co-creative director at Ogilvy.

Ogilvy also launched a major campaign for IBM's Linux operating system, aimed at the IT audience. Both campaigns were fully integrated, including TV, print and online.

Other major campaigns in 2003 included the continuation of "American Express: Open for Small Business" and Cisco's "This is the Power of the Network."

For Cisco, the campaign represented the networking company's first major advertising effort since the dot-com crash and was developed to position the company as the leader in networking technology.

"The challenge overall [for the agency] was the uncertainty that existed on all fronts in terms of the economy," said Bill Gray, president of Ogilvy New York.

"Tech spending was in abeyance, and no one knew if the recovery was for real," he said.

Gray said most of Ogilvy's clients were committed to building their brands despite the economic uncertainty, and the agency responded by using its 360-degree approach of brand building to reach a variety of touch points for multiple customer segments. "You have to impart a vision of the future if you're going to do business with big business companies," he added, referring to the importance of building global brands.

--Kate Maddox

Ogilvy Location: New York URL: Key executive: Patrick Keyes, senior partner Employees: N/A 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: American Express Co., AT&T Wireless, Cisco Systems, IBM Corp., E. I. DuPont de Nemours Major 2003 campaigns: AmEx: Open for Small Business integrated campaign; Cisco, "This Is the Power of the Network. Now." integrated cam-paign; IBM, Linux and "e-business on Demand" integrated campaigns. Comments: Cannes Bronze Lion (IBM); four One Show Merit awards (IBM); Gold National Addy Award (IBM); four Gold ICON awards.

BBDO New York's 'imagination' sparks a big year BBDO Worldwide made a splash in 2003 with award-winning campaigns for b-to-b clients General Electric Co., FedEx Corp., Cingular Wireless and Office Depot.

One of the agency's biggest challenges was repositioning GE as a company that makes products other than lightbulbs and appliances.

GE wanted to communicate its positioning as a leader in medical technology, plastics, aviation, security, wind energy and other industries. The new positioning reflects the mission of CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who succeeded Jack Welch in 2001.

To communicate this image, BBDO launched an integrated campaign in January 2003 with the tagline "Imagination at work," which replaced the long-standing "We bring good things to life." The campaign included TV, print and online.

BBDO also developed a campaign for FedEx, with the tagline "Relax, it's FedEx."

The campaign, which was launched in September, uses humor to show how FedEx can solve everyday business problems. It includes eight TV spots in addition to print and online.

The FedEx work won a National Silver Addy Award, and the GE work, a regional Gold Addy.

Andrew Robertson, president of BBDO Worldwide, said effective b-to-b communication is particularly challenging in today's busy media environment. "The biggest challenge we have to deal with in communications today is the lack of attention," Robertson said. "There are so many things competing for the audience's time. The information you give them has to be relevant to what they do."

BBDO uses extensive research to understand the behavior of its business audience and communicate messages that are relevant not only to their job functions but to their human nature, Robertson said.

"What we're trying to do is continue to do great work that moves people," he said.

"The key to it is to touch them with the heart as well as the head-to make them laugh and cry. I think that is what is often missing in b-to-b communications."

--Kate Maddox

BBDO New York Location: New York URL: Key executive: Andrew Robertson, president, BBDO Worldwide and CEO, BBDO North America Employees: N/A 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: General Electric Co., FedEx Corp., Cingular Wireless, New York Stock Exchange, Office Depot Major 2003 campaigns: GE, "Imagination at Work" integrated rebranding campaign; FedEx, "Relax. It's FedEx" integrated campaign; Cingular, "Cingular Fits You Best" integrated campaign Comments: National Silver Addy Award (FedEx); Regional Gold Addy (GE); Andy Head Award (FedEx); LIAA trophy (FedEx)

Honorable mention: DDB Chicago Location: Chicago URL: Key executive: Pat Dermody, president of integration Employees: N/A 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: Cardinal Health,, Dell, Emerson, Home Depot Major 2003 campaigns: Cardinal Health, print campaign; Home Depot, RIDGID Tools Pro Series Showdown; Dell, corporate campaign Comments: Silver Ace Awards for total communications program (Emerson) and direct mail (USG Corp.)

Mid size agencies

Martin Agency strikes gold with 'brown'

For midsize agency winner the Martin Agency, the biggest news in b-to-b in 2003 was summed up in just three letters: UPS.

In March 2003, the Richmond, Va.-based agency rebranded UPS to help move the company's image from a ground shipping-only company to a multifaceted company with a wide array of services, including logistics and supply chain management.

Its "What can Brown do for you?" tagline and integrated campaign was aimed at four different audiences: shipping managers, front-office workers, small-business people and senior executives. It included TV, print, radio and direct mail.

The campaign had impressive results. UPS international shipping volume grew by more than 9% in the second quarter of 2003; over-night shipping grew 6% in the third quarter; and ad-tracking studies showed significant gain in decision-makers' perception of UPS' overall capabilities.

The work also helped raise Martin's visibility among other potential business clients.

"I can't tell you how many people call us and say, 'If you can do that transformational work for UPS, you can do it for us, too,' " said Barbara Joynes, Martin Agency partner in charge of integrated services.

Martin also won three accounts in 2003, including Olympus sports marketing.

In addition, it continued to produce innovative new work for existing clients such as Dow Jones & Co.'s The Wall Street Journal and Dominion, an energy company. Martin created a campaign for Dominion centered on its "D" stock symbol and targeted at the Wall Street community. During the campaign, Dominion's stock price rose and several analysts rated the stock higher just after the campaign launch.

Overall, b-to-b clients make up more than 30% of the Martin Agency's business.

Over its years of service to b-to-b clients, the Martin Agency has found that those companies generally present a bit more complicated challenge than b-to-c companies, Joynes said.

"There are usually a myriad of products and services to distill down to that one unique and core thought," she said.

"Many consumer brands already come with that-like 'gets teeth whiter' or 'makes clothes cleaner.' "

--Beth Snyder Bulik

The Martin Agency Location: Richmond, Va. URL: Key executive: John B. Adams Jr., chairman-CEO Employees: 320 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: United Parcel Service of America, Dow Jones & Co., Domin-ion Resources, Global Crossing, SunGard Major 2003 campaigns: UPS, global rebranding campaign; Dominion, "Wall Street" integrated campaign Comments: Won UPS media planning business and six other new business accounts; two first-place Caples awards; Gold Echo award; Bronze One Show award.

Martin/Williams 'easy' approach to ads pays off

Strong creative and industrywide recognition marked a banner year for midsize agency runner-up Martin/Williams.

The Minneapolis-based agency's most recognizable effort was its repositioning brand campaign for Staples, with the tagline "That was easy." The campaign, which launched in February 2003, included broadcast and cable TV, print, direct mail and the Internet.

The agency also picked up a host of awards, including the prestigious American Business Media Grand CEBA (Creative Excellence in Business Advertising) award for its Syngenta work, and a wide range of regional and category-specific awards.

Martin/Williams also added two new b-to-b accounts in 2003 and bulked up its existing relationships to increase its revenue by 7%. Other major b-to-b clients include 3M, Cargill, Steelcase and GlaxoSmithKline.

Martin/Williams won the Staples account in 2002, and the repositioning campaign it created featured productcentric ads with a humorous touch. Staples reaped the benefits in two product categories featured in the ads: Ink and toner cartridge sales went up 14%, and copy and print center sales more than doubled.

The agency also expanded its work for Syngenta, a giant agribusiness formed by the 2000 merger between Zeneca and Novartis. In 2003, the agency expanded its Syngenta work from four brands to more than 80, of which 40 received major communications support, from TV spots to targeted CRM marketing.

But strong b-to-b work is nothing new to Martin/Williams, which opened its doors in 1943. B-to-b clients account for 44% of its business.

Martin/Willliams CEO Steve Collins said the agency sees new opportunity in the coming year not just in developing corporate campaigns for b-to-b cients' customers but also in creating internal communication for their employees.

"B-to-b companies are catching up to consumer companies in branding to the outside world, but they're also beginning to see how important it is to bring that core impression to their employees," Collins said.

--Beth Snyder Bulik

Martin/Williams Advertising Location: Minneapolis URL: Key executive: Steve Collins, president-CEO Employees: 230 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: Syngenta, Steelcase, Staples, Cargill, GlaxoSmith-Kline Major 2003 campaigns: Staples, "That Was Easy" national ad campaign; Syngenta, integrated marketing communications for 80 brands; Cargill, integrated brand campaign. Comments: B-to-b revenue increased 7% over 2002; increased Syngenta business from four brands to 80; Grand CEBA winner, Syngenta "Hairspray" campaign; seven First Place awards from National Agri-Marketing Association

Honorable mention: Doremus Location: New York URL: Key executive: Carl Anderson, president-CEO Employees: N/A 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: Amdocs, Autodesk, ITT Industries, TRW Automotive, United Technologies Major 2003 campaigns: TRW Automotive, "Category of One" brand repositioning; United Technologies, "This is Momentum" integrated ad campaign; Autodesk, integrated campaign for AutoCAD software. Comments: Marked 100-year anniversary; more than 10 new business wins; Radio Mercury Award and New York Festival Award for Banc of America Securities

Small agencies

Slack Barshinger bids for success and wins big

Slack Barshinger, Chicago, had an exceptional year in 2003, growing its revenue by 41%, launching successful campaigns, picking up new business and opening new offices.

During a year in which the economy was still struggling and companies were holding tight to marketing dollars, Slack Barshinger managed to increase its revenue from $7.1 million in 2002 to $10 million in 2003.

It did this by picking up new clients-including Dairy Management, Tellabs, Bank One and Harris Bank-as well as expanding business with existing clients, such as eBay Business.

The Chicago-based agency opened a Boston office in 2003 and formed relationships with agencies in Europe and Asia. This year, Slack Barshinger will open a Silicon Valley office to accommodate West Coast clients.

The agency's goal is to expand into one new market a year. "We are going down a path to try to become the No. 1 b-to-b agency brand in the U.S. and globally," said Gary Slack, chairman-chief experience officer.

Part of that strategy is keeping the agency a pure b-to-b play, which means turning down consumer work on a regular basis.

"It's extremely easy to acquire a blurry image in the marketplace, and it's extremely difficult to build and maintain a crisp image and positioning," Slack said. "If I were to accept consumer work, it would confuse our staff, our clients, our competitors and the marketplace, and blur our image. The first thing people think of when they hear our name is b-to-b," he added.

--Kate Maddox

Slack Barshinger Location: Chicago URL: Key executive: Gary Slack, chairman & chief experience officer Employees: 55 2003 revenue: $10 million 2003 b-to-b revenue: $10 million Key clients: Dairy Management, eBay/PayPal, PACK Expo, ServiceMaster, Tellabs Major 2003 campaigns: eBay Business, integrated campaign for new business launch; Dairy Management, national promotion marketing; ServiceMaster Clean division, rebranding campaign and Web site. Comments: Grew revenue by 41%; top CEBA Award in interactive category for online eBay/IBM co-op ad program; top five 2003 BMA Pro-Comm winner; opened Boston office; formed international network.

Integrated work garners Mobium plenty of awards

Mobium Creative Group demonstrated its creative strength in 2003 with award-winning campaigns for b-to-b clients. The Chicago-based integrated marketing communications agency captured six awards at the American Business Media's Creative Excellence in Business Advertising (CEBA) awards and 15 awards at the Business Marketing Association's national Pro-Comm Awards. "

When we plan an integrated program, it is based on a model of taking someone from being unaware of a brand through the different stages of purchase, then applying the media and messages to the different stages in the purchase cycle," said Gordon Hochhalter, a partner at Mobium.

Mobium used this strategy last year for clients including MeadWestvaco, CNH America and NEC-Mitsubishi Visual Display, in addition to picking up new business from Oce North America, the Illinois Financial Foundation and other clients.

For CNH America, a global agricultural and construction equipment company, Mobium created an integrated marketing program for dealers, including online, in-store promotions and direct marketing.

For MeadWestvaco, Mobium devised an integrated program for the relaunch of the Tango paper product line, including advertising, direct mail, Web and channel communications.

For its overall work, Mobium was named Agency of the Year by the Business Marketing Association.

However, 2003 was not without challenges, as the economy forced the agency to adjust the way it worked with clients.

"One of the challenges was the moving target of client budgets," said Guy Gangi, a partner at Mobium. "We used to sit down in December and forecast budgets for the following year. Now, at the very best, clients are given quarter-by-quarter budgets that are tied to sales or some other revenue targets. We have to be agile, forward-thinking and have contingency plans in place."

Mobium's parent company, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., is reportedly looking for a buyer for the agency.

--Kate Maddox

Mobium Creative Group Location: Chicago URL: Key Executives: Gordon Hochhalter, partner; Guy Gangi, partner Employees: 40 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients : MeadWestvaco, CNH America, Oc%E9; North America, NEC-Mitsubishi Visual Display, R.R. Donnelley & Son Major 2003 campaigns: MeadWestvaco Tango campaign, integrated communications program for product relaunch; CNH America, dealer-customized direct marketing program; integrated self-promotion program. Comments: Business Marketing Association Agency of the Year; six CEBA awards; 15 Pro-Comm awards, including Best of Show and four Best of Division.

Honorable mention: boede & partners Location: Salt Lake City URL: Key executive: Dave Boede, president Employees: 65 2003 revenue: $10.2 million 2003 b-to-b revenue: $10.2 million Key clients: Unisys, SCT Corp., Network Associates, Plantronics, ClearOne Major 2003 campaigns: SCT, new brand identity and integrated cam-paign, including Web site; LANDesk, new brand development and inte-grated campaign, "Life in IT;" Plan-tronics, national advertising cam-paign for office and mobile headsets. Comments: Doubled revenue over 2002.

Agents of change Services key to interactive shops' success

By Kate Maddox

Much has changed for interactive agencies since the dot-com days, when clients sought expensive, flashy brand campaigns to drive up their pre-IPO or stock value.

Now, with the economy in a slow recovery and b-to-b clients expecting a return on every marketing dollar, interactive agencies are placing more emphasis on strategic services that help clients solve critical business problems. This change in the business environment has affected the way interactive agencies structure their operations and price their offerings.

Simply creating banner ads or designing Web sites isn't enough to be successful in today's economy. Now, interactive agencies must provide services that include business strategy, brand identity, creative services and ROI analysis.

The agencies that were selected for the BtoB Top Interactive Agencies report all handle a significant amount of b-to-b work and offer a full spectrum of services, from strategic consulting to e-commerce development. Most handle offline work as well, although their emphasis is on interactive marketing.

Creative solutions They also all responded to challenges in 2003 with creative solutions.

"2003 was a hard year for our clients," said Yvonne Tocquigny, president and founder of Tocquigny Advertising, Interactive + Marketing, which received honorable mention in the interactive category of this year's report. "Our clients needed ways to justify their marketing expenditures to their companies. They are really coming to us today with the task of building their business."

In response, Tocquigny has created new services such as proprietary real-time metrics, a production service called Snap, and a low-cost broadcast production system that will be formally rolled out later this year.

Snap is an example of responding to cost-conscious client needs. It is a production system that processes jobs more quickly and at lower costs, and it is offered only to existing clients. It cuts out certain production tasks to speed up the process. For example, "You don't have to write a creative brief for clients that want a logo on a pen," said Rachel Pickett, director of media services at Tocquigny.

Adding offline work Other interactive agencies are broadening into more offline work, either through mergers or by adding internal services.

SF Interactive, which was acquired by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in March 2003, is reaping the benefits of being affiliated with a full-service agency while continuing to grow its interactive business.

"We lost some major national accounts at the end of the dot-com era because clients consolidated their work with their offline agencies," said Bruce Carlisle, president of SF Interactive/Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, citing Morgan Stanley and Snapple as examples.

SF Interactive, which was founded in 1996, wanted to broaden its offline capabilities, so the merger made sense, Carlisle said.

"Even though we are a division [of Butler, Shine], we operate under one P&L [profit and loss statement] across the enterprise, so we don't have the offline division fighting with the online division over the client's dollars," Carlisle said.

SF Interactive is beefing up its search marketing offering through new technology that uses an automated day-trading system to purchase search listings for clients. Improving search offerings is a big trend for interactive agencies this year.

"Good b-to-b agencies have to have search as a tool they use," said Toby Gabriner, exec VP-managing director of Carat Interactive, which was named runner-up in the interactive agency category. Other services the agency is offering to b-to-b clients include affiliate marketing and event speaker marketing combined with e-mail and the Web, Gabriner said.

"You can't look at one channel independently. You have to be much more strategic," he said.

For example, when Carat provides speaker marketing at an event, it uses list rental e-mails and the Web to promote the event, then after the event it uses registration information to continue to market to attendees.

David Kenny, chairman-CEO of Digitas, said one of the biggest trends in interactive marketing in 2003 was trying to integrate interactive with a client's live sales force. For example, it worked with phone giant Ericsson to build portals that had to work with its sales force.

"For most of our clients, a very good content management system is key," Kenny said.

Senior Reporter Carol Krol contributed to this story. brings value to growing b-to-b client roster, the winner of the interactive category, had a stellar year in terms of new business growth and interactive work for clients.

The agency and its online advertising subsidiary, itraffic, added 24 new clients last year, including Honeywell, and gained more work from existing clients such as 3M Corp. and Visa.

"A lot of last year was getting the market to stabilize," said Don Scales, president-COO.

"Clients were cautious about spending money, so we had to bring value for every dollar spent and show some form of return on investment. We were able to show our clients, by enhancing their customers' experience, we could bring value."

One of the agency's biggest campaign successes last year was the remaking of the Hewlett-Packard Co. brand online after HP's merger with Compaq in 2002.

"Operation One Voice" included creating a redesigned home page, coming up with brand-compliant Web standards for all business units and divisions, and building tools to better communicate with HP customers.

"Their Web site is literally millions of pages," said Stephen Thompson, VP-creative at It's all new, with an all-new voice. We were really able to help them focus, as well as mesh with their other media."

For W.W. Grainger, helped design an online order management system, added real-time availability functionality and redesigned the order process, resulting in a 30% faster loading time and an increase in sales successfully completed without customer service intervention.

"B-to-b has become more important to us over the last few years," Scales said. "Historically, we were known as more of a consumer agency. But we've really developed some expertise that b-to-b companies find attractive." Today, b-to-b accounts for more than 60% of's business.

One goal for is to shift businesses from a company focus to a people focus. It wants to show clients how to become more user-friendly by guiding their customers through Web sites based on behavior and choices.

"It's really an extension of our agency philosophy; b-to-b is also about the user experience and resonating with your consumers," Scales said.

--Beth Snyder Bulik Location: New York URL: Key executive: Chan Suh, chairman-CEO Employees: 348 Estimated 2003 revenue: N/A Estimated 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key clients: Hewlett-Packard Co., W.W. Grainger Inc., Visa, T-Mobile U.K. Major 2003 campaigns: Hewlett-Packard, "Oper-ation One Voice," online brand program including; Grainger, online purchasing and online customer retention programs; T-Mobile U.K., redesigned Web site Comments: Acquired by Omnicom Group of Cos.; named No. 1 Web site in BtoB NetMarketing 100

New clients find Carat's 'Practice' makes perfect fit Carat Interactive was named runner-up among interactive agencies, largely for its success with its new Internet Development Practice, search engine marketing strategy and new client wins.

The interactive arm of Carat North America also significantly increased staff at a time when most agencies were still struggling to get out of the economic doldrums of the last few years.

Carat Interactive's Internet Development Practice was launched near the end of the second quarter last year and hit the ground almost immediately with b-to-b work. It created a real-time, online reporting and analytics tool for IGN on user trends and activity that the company could use to market to both partners and advertisers.

"We got off to a great start," said Toby Gabriner, exec VP-managing director at Carat Interactive San Francisco. He said the new unit has brought in other work as well. "Within two quarters, it was already bringing in over seven figures in deals," he said.

Carat Interactive had a handful of new business wins in the fourth quarter but can't discuss most of them publicly yet, Gabriner said.

"We're seeing a lot more activity on the new business front in the b-to-b space," Gabriner said. "We have three or four different pitches going on."

--Carol Krol

Carat Interactive Location: Boston, Mass. URL: Key executive: Sarah Fay, president Employees: 271 in U.S. 2003 revenue: N/A 2003 b-to-b revenue: N/A Key Clients: Macromedia, IGN Entertainment, Siebel Systems, Vonage, BEA, Palm Major 2003 campaigns: IGN Entertainment, IGN Gamer Metrics Development online reporting and analytics tool; Macromedia, Macromedia MX Rockstar training and sales incentive program; ?Siebel Systems, "UAN e-Tour" digital advertising campaign Comments: New client wins include Macromedia media account and nCircle; launched two new practices within the agency: search engine mrketing and Internet development

Honorable mention: Tocquigny Advertising, Interactive + Martketing Location: Austin, Texas URL: Key executive: Yvonne Tocquigny, president Employees: 103 2003 revenue: $6.9 million 2003 b-to-b revenue: $6.2 million Key clients: Dell, Seagate Technology, Advanced Micro Devices, Hewlett-Packard Co., Commemorative Brands Major 2003 campaigns: Dell, online demand generation program; AMD, interactive demos, collateral and in-store signage; The 401(k) Co., Web site development. Comments: Grew revenue by 23% over 2002; increased staff by 35%; 90% of work is b-to-b.

Methodology for top agencies report

For this year’s Top Agencies special report, BtoB is publishing lists of the Top 50 Agencies and Top 10 Interactive Agencies. To select the companies that appear in this year’s report, BtoB contacted agencies and promoted the report online and in print. Submissions were sought beginning in December, with a deadline of Jan. 31. The Top 50 agencies list features three categories: small agencies (revenue up to $10.9 million); midsize agencies (revenue between $11 million and $99 million); and large agencies (revenue of $100 million and up). Due to the Sarbannes-Oxley Act, which limits the disclosure of financial information, many agencies were unable to provide financial information. They were asked to self-categorize their entries. The finalists in each category were selected based on outstanding work in 2003, client wins and demonstrated growth of business. Winners of last year’s awards were precluded from winning a category this year, but could be named as a runner-up or receive honorable mention.

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