Top 50 Agencies

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Agency Report 2003(pdf)

WINNER: Large Agency: DDB Chicago Location: Chicago URL: Key executive: Ken Kaess, president-CEO Employees: 70 2002 revenue: N/A (billings: $1.4 billion) 2002 b-to-b revenue: N/A (billings: $130 million) Key clients: Cardinal Health, Deloitte Consulting, Dell-Small Business/Enterprise, Emerson, The Home Depot-Professional Services, USG Major 2002 campaigns:Emerson, "Discovery," "Consider it Solved"; USG, "Working for You," "Fiberock Sheathing" Comments:Ace B2B finalist, $150,000 or less; Ace B2B finalist, DM non-dimensional; Pinnacle finalist, Beyond the line. Grew b-to-b revenue with addition of three new accounts.

DDB Chicago DDB Chicago was unique among large agencies in that it grew its b-to-b business in 2002. That distinction, which was the result of picking up significant new accounts and expanding its existing b-to-b work, earned it the top spot in the large agency category.

The agency reported b-to-b billings of $130 million, up 85% from $70 million in 2001. Overall agency billings were $1.4 billion, down from $1.6 billion a year earlier. The agency does not report revenue.

The growth in b-to-b business came from a combination of new and existing accounts, said Jim Stadler, senior VP-group director of the B2B practice at DDB Chicago.

The agency won new business from Cardinal Health, Home Depot Professional Services, Lexis Nexis and Deloitte Consulting, which will relaunch as Braxton later this year. It also expanded its work for existing client Dell Computer Corp. and launched new campaigns for manufacturing clients Emerson and USG Corp.

"In our organization, we are migrating toward a more integrated model that involves more direct response," Stadler said. In the direct response area, lead generation was a major initiative for the agency in 2002, he said.

For Emerson, a $15.5 billion manufacturer that has business lines ranging from network power to process management, DDB launched integrated campaigns including Web site development, e-mail and lead-generation programs. For example, the agency built a contractors' portal for Emerson's climate control technologies business and drove lead generation by registering users seeking more information about the business.

"Measurement has been a very important component with our b-to-b clients," Stadler said. "They put a very, very high price tag on driving results. With direct response, Web initiatives and e-mail, we're able to capture more data, generate leads, generate interest and drive potential business."

DDB is also working on a major branding campaign for Cardinal Health, which will launch this month or early April. No launch date has been set for the Braxton rebranding campaign.

-Kate Maddox

RUNNER-UP: Large Agency: Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopolous Location: Boston URL: Key executive: Jack Connors, CEO Employees: 680 2002 revenue: $126 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $41 million Key clients: American Healthways, FleetBoston Financial, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, John Hancock Financial, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Quantum Corp., Sybase Inc., Thermo Electron, Veritas Software Major 2002 campaigns: FleetBoston, "Forward Thinking."; Thermo Electron, "Analyze. Detect. Measure. Control."; PricewaterhouseCoopers, "Stand and be counted"; American Heatlhways, "When the only acceptable outcome is success." Comments: The agency hired 150 people in 2002, with more than half filling newly created positions.

Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos Although its 2002 b-to-b revenues fell to $41 million, a drop of $9 million, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos has been named runner-up in the large agency category for maximizing its strengths. That means aggressively courting new business, creating innovative work on behalf of its b-to-b clients and embracing the strategic consulting side of the business.

Hill, Holliday President Mike Sheehan attributed the revenue drop to the loss of a half dozen interactive clients that were late casualties of the dot-com bust.

Overall, Hill, Holliday grew agency revenues slightly, to $126 million, a $1 million increase. The gain was notable given its loss in 2001 of the Fidelity account, which accounted for $10 million in revenue.

One key to its overall growth is that everyone in the agency is responsible for new business, Sheehan said.

"We once had a centralized new business team, and now it's decentralized," he said. The change in strategy, which was made at the end of 2001, resulted in an aggressive pursuit of new clients. "We wouldn't sit around [waiting] for agency reviews," Sheehan said, "because there weren't any."

For example, Thermo Electron, a manufacturer of high-tech instruments, became a client in 2002, after signing up for a consulting project in January. In just six months, Hill, Holliday succeeded in adding Thermo Electron's advertising, design and planning business and became its agency of record. The agency developed a central brand positioning and communications strategy and launched Thermo Electron's first brand advertising.

Another significant b-to-b win in 2002 was American Healthways, a provider of care enhancement services for health plans, hospitals and physicians. Hill, Holliday is currently developing the client's first branding campaign, which will include direct mail, print and event marketing.

For PricewaterhouseCoopers, a key existing client, the agency launched a campaign that addressed corporate accountability against the backdrop of large corporate scandals such as those involving Enron and Tyco International. The agency helped the financial services company establish a leadership position through a weekly series of open letters in major daily newspapers; they challenged big accounting firms to "stand up and be counted."

"Pricewaterhouse really stuck their neck out and were the first to open a dialogue to business leaders about accountability," said Sheehan, who indicated many other companies soon followed PwC's approach.

-Carol Krol

HONORABLE MENTION: Large Agency: Ogilvy (includes Ogilvy & Mather, Ogilvy One and Ogilvy Interactive) Location: New York URL: Key executive: Shelly Lazarus, chairman-CEO Employees: 1,375 2002 revenue: N/A (billings of about $4.3 billion) 2002 b-to-b revenue: N/A (billings of about $800 million) Key clients: American Express, AT&T Wireless, Cisco Systems Inc., IBM Corp., Kodak Major 2002 campaigns: American Express, "OPEN, The Small Business Network"; AT&T Wireless, "mLife"; IBM, "e-Infrastructure, Play to Win," "Business on Demand"; SAP, "The best run businesses run SAP" Comments:Six One Show awards, two Effie awards, four Technology Marketing ICON awards, eight New York Addy awards.

WINNER: Midsize Agency: Bader Rutter & Associates Inc. Location: Brookfield, Wis. URL: Key executive: Greg Nickerson, president Employees: 150 2002 revenue: $15.4 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $15.4 million Key clients: Boise Office Solutions, Caterpillar, Dow AgroSciences, John Deere Credit Major 2002 campaigns: Boise Office Solutions, integrated campaign; Caterpillar, Cat G3500 series generator; Dow AgroSciences, Keystone product launch Comments: Swept the 2002 Milwaukee-area BMA show with 17 awards, including Best of Show (Boise Office Solutions); Best of Show, National Agri-Marketing Association; six awards in national BMA Pro-Comm competition.

Bader Rutter & Associates Inc. Bader Rutter & Associates Inc., Brookfield, Wis., won top honors in the midsize agency category by keeping its business strong in a tough economy and creating outstanding work for clients.

The agency had revenue of $15.4 million in 2002-all from b-to-b clients-which was up slightly from $15.2 million in 2001.

Its growth came from new accounts, including Raymond Corp., John Deere Credit and Promo Edge, as well as expanded business from existing clients such as Boise Office Solutions, Caterpillar Inc. and Dow AgroSciences.

Greg Nickerson, president of Bader Rutter, said the agency remained focused on its core business of strategic brand building for clients. "We haven't gone off and chased the whim of the month, such as diving too far into dot-coms," he said.

Most of the agency's clients had flat marketing budgets last year compared with 2001. "Our core client base takes a long-term view of brand building," he said.

Nickerson said some 2002 marketing dollars were shifted from traditional media advertising into public relations, relationship marketing and interactive, but most clients continued to spend across all marketing disciplines.

In 2002, Bader Rutter launched an integrated communications campaign for Boise Office Solutions, which won Best of Show in the Milwaukee-area Business Marketing Association competition.

Building on the tagline "It couldn't be easier," the agency created print advertising, sales collateral and Web site development to focus on the strength of Boise's service commitment. The communications program targeted senior purchasing executives at large U.S. companies and was designed to create a shift in perception about the total cost of procuring office products.

"They are able to understand our business objectives, our competition and our strategy," said Tom Russell, marketing manager for Boise Office Solutions. "And they translate that into powerful marketing messages that resonate with our customers and sales force, which is a huge challenge with 1,200 sales reps."

Bader Rutter also created an integrated campaign for Caterpillar for the launch of its Cat G3500 gas generator. The campaign, which included trade advertising, direct marketing, media relations, trade shows and sales collateral, was designed to raise awareness of Caterpillar as a provider of gas engines and to educate power providers about the benefits of natural gas as a power source. The communications program also included a Webcast designed to educate the media about market drivers for gas generation.

"The more ways you can touch people with varying levels of information, the better your ability to engage them and draw interest," Nickerson said.

-Kate Maddox

RUNNER-UP: Midsize Agency: McClain Finlon Advertising Location: Denver URL: Key executive: Cathey M. Finlon, CEO Employees: 57 2002 revenue: $60.5 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $9.1 million Key clients: John Manville, Sun Microsystems, Storage Tek, Xcel Major 2002 campaigns: Johns Manville, Formaldehde-free insulation; Qwest Dex, sales collateral; Storage Tek, collateral strategy and development Comments: Won 11 national Addy awards, nine Creativity 32 awards

McClain Finlon Advertising Unlike many agencies still reeling from the sluggish economy and the after-effects of the Sept. 11 attacks, McClain Finlon Advertising managed to grow its b-to-b revenues slightly in 2002, to $9.1 million from $8.8 million the previous year. The agency boosted its revenue mainly through increased business from existing b-to-b clients, including Johns Manville, Qwest Dex and Xcel.

"A number of our clients were very invested in developing new products," said Cathey Finlon, CEO of McClain Finlon. "We had a very aggressive beginning of the year."

Finlon said the agency's niche, which is creating strategic integrated sales and contact materials, has served it well in the past year.

"In a tight economy, clients may reduce their advertising, but people are not reducing investments in sales forces, and they're looking for the best solutions [for salespeople]," she said.

In terms of new business, McClain Finlon won a significant assignment in 2002 from Storage Technology Corp. (Storage Tek), a computer peripherals and large-scale storage provider, to develop a comprehensive design and messages for all of its collateral materials.

Finlon said the 21-year-old agency has become adept at taking an existing brand strategy and making sure various collateral pieces fit together so that a common marketing story is told. That was the case with Storage Tek. Its agency of record, Leo Burnett subsidiary LB Works, had already fashioned its branding strategy, so McClain Finlon used that as the basis for each piece of collateral.

Finlon said marketing departments have begun to wield much more influence in many companies as selling of solutions takes the place of single-product sales. Given that evolution, the marketing message needs to be as clear to the sales team as it is to the customer or prospect, because products often are bundled, she said.

The agency has worked for seven years with Qwest Dex in the development of sales collateral. Finlon said the agency partners with Qwest's marketing executives globally, as they take increased roles in the sales process.

The agency's extensive work garnered considerable recognition in 2002, including 11 national Addy Awards.

-Carol Krol

HONORABLE MENTION: Midsize Agency: Martin/Williams Inc. Location: Minneapolis URL: Key executive: Tim C. Frojd, chairman-CFO Employees: 265 2002 revenue: $46 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $15 million Key clients: Cargill Inc., Staples Inc., Steelcase, Syngenta Major 2002 campaigns: Staples, integrated branding campaign; Syngenta, branding campaigns for agribusiness products; Steelcase, product campaigns for Emerge and Leap chair models. Comments:Five percent growth in b-to-b gross income in 2002. Grand CEBA 2002 award, Steelcase campaign; NAMA Regional Best of Show; Radio Mercury awards, FedEx CART Series Racing.

WINNER: Small Agency: NKH&W Inc. Location:Kansas City, Mo. Key executive:Peter Kovac, president-CEO Employees: 117 2002 agency revenue: $10.1 million 2002 b-to-b revenue:$5.9 million Key clients: ADP TotalSource, American Angus Association, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., BMA Reinsurance Division, FMC Corp. Major 2002 campaigns: Hilti North America, Hilti Collateral System; Sprint, Sprint Partnership Direct Marketing; Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, "You just can't beat the blues"; Westar Energy, integrated positioning campaign Comments: 2002 National Telly Awards, 1st Place, Utilities, Westar Energy; 2002 National Agri Marketing Association, 1st Place, Advertising series, single page, American Angus Association. Acquired two agencies. Grew staff by 22%.NKH&W showed impressive growth last year, boosting its revenue, new business and personnel. Significantly, the agency achieved this record in the face of economic obstacles that challenged the entire advertising industry.

NKH&W's gross income was $10.1 million in 2002, up 13.5% from $8.9 million the previous year. B-to-b gross income was $5.9 million, up 7% from 2001's $5.5 million.

"The No. 1 issue was providing our clients with leadership during a very frustrating and tough budget time," said Pete Kovac, president-CEO of NKH&W. "Helping clients find the right reinforcements to continue to invest or increase their marketing communications investments was a challenge."

The agency won several new accounts in 2002, including FMC Corp., Hilti North America, the poultry division of Fort Dodge Animal Health and ADP TotalSource, a business unit of Automatic Data Processing Inc.

"They really understand our industry, which is agriculture, and were willing to ramp up and put the A-team on our account," said Neil DeStefano, communications and e-business director at FMC, which awarded NKH&W its business after 19 years with the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

NKH&W also bought b-to-b agencies McIntosh Group and Image and Strategy, as part of a broader strategy to acquire up to five agencies over an 18- to 24-month period.

In 2002, NKH&W launched campaigns for Sprint Calling Card, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the American Angus Association and Baldor Electric Co., all of which won Gold awards in regional Business Marketing Association contests.

Kovac said the tough economy created an even greater need for market research, smart strategic thinking and the testing of concepts. The agency also engaged in guerilla marketing tactics more than ever before, including advertising on pizza boxes and coffee cups for Sprint and other clients.

"In a super-heated, overly competitive environment, you have to do something fun and highly motivating to get people to take the next step," Kovac said, referring to driving interest in a company's products or services.

NKH&W also relied on more database and direct marketing, sending out more than 100 million direct marketing pieces during the year.

The agency boosted its staff from 96 employees in 2001 to 117 last year, a 22% increase.

-Kate Maddox

RUNNER-UP: Small Agency: DWP/Bates Technology Location: Atlanta URL: Key executive: Frank Donino, CEO Employees: 60 2002 revenue: $6.3 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $6.3 million Key clients: CDW, Worldcom, Internet Security Systems Inc., Level 3 Communications Inc. 2002 campaigns: CDW, "Fred campaign"; ISS, "Brackets Around the World"; Level 3, "Threats campaign"; Murata Electronics, "Tales of Innovation" Comments: Entirely focused on tech advertising. Campaign for CDw won 2002 BtoB's Sawyer Award for best integrated campaign.

DWP/Bates Technology DWP/Bates Technology, which got its start as Donino, White & Partners in 1990, showed remarkable growth in 2002 despite the slumping economy, especially in the high-tech sector it serves.

The agency had 2002 revenue of $6.3 million (all from b-to-b business), up 11% from 2001. It created outstanding work for its technology clients, including a campaign for CDW Computer Center Inc. that won BtoB's Sawyer Award for best integrated campaign in 2002.

Despite the budget cuts that have hit the high-tech industry, DWP/Bates is still a big believer in TV advertising for b-to-b marketers.

"It's popular to bash TV," said Eric Hyman, senior VP-director of business development at DWP/Bates, which was acquired by Cordiant Communications in 2000. "But we've been using it since 1993. It was effective then, and it is effective now, regardless of what happened to the dot-com companies during the boom."

The agency used television for several of its b-to-b clients in 2002-including CDW, Internet Security Systems and Level 3 Communications-placing ads during selected programs on CNBC, CNN and Headline News.

While television is an important part of the agency's work, about 80% of its business involves interactive campaigns. This integrated strategy appears to be paying off. While the technology industry struggles with a prolonged slump, DWP/Bates is projecting its revenue will increase 17% this year.

"One of the things that differentiates us is applying principles of consumer marketing to make them work in the b-to-b space," said Frank Donino, CEO of DWP/Bates.

The agency is currently working on a new campaign for CDW, scheduled to launch in May. It will feature "Fred," the overworked, under-appreciated IT everyman who was the centerpiece of CDW's previous campaign. That effort helped the company achieve nearly 8% growth last year, according to DWP/Bates.

"Fred is the shoulder for every IT executive to cry on," said Ridge White, president of DWP/Bates. "We understand how these guys think."

- Matthew Schwartz

HONORABLE MENTION: Small Agency: Mobium Creative Group Location: Chicago URL: Key executives: Guy Ganji and Gordon Hochhalter, partners Employees: 169 2002 revenue: $5.1 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $5.1 million Key clients: Case Construction, CNH Global After Sales, MeadWestvaco Packaging Resources Group, Motorola GTSS, NEC-Mitsubishi Electronic Display, Ondeo Nalco Co. Major 2002 campaigns: NEC-Mitsubishi, "Wait Is Over"; MeadWestvaco, Tango Enhanced Program; CNH, After Sales; BMA-Chicago, "BizBash" Comments:2002 CEBA Awards, Integrated Media Advertising and Interactive; 12 ACE Awards; 18 Tower Awards. Doubled client base in 2002.

WINNER: Interactive Agency: Carat Interactive Location: Boston URL: Key executive: Sarah Fay, president Employees: 215 2002 revenue: $41 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $20 million Key clients: BEA Systems Inc., Macromedia Inc., Palm Inc., Philips, Siebel Systems Inc., Speechworks Major 2002 campaigns: Palm Inc., Palm i705 online launch; Adobe Systems Inc., Adobe InDesign 2.0 online campaign; Macromedia, Director MX online campaign; Siebel Systems, interactive product demo Comments: BtoB Sawyer Award, runner-up, best interactive campaign, Adobe InDesign. Insight 2002 Award, Best E-mail ad campaign, Silver Award, Palm i705. Technology Marketing 2002 ICON Awards, Seagate "Torture Tests" online campaign.

Carat Interactive Carat Interactive delivered an outstanding performance in terms of revenue growth, new business and creative work in 2002. Its overall revenues were $41 million, up 21% from 2001; b-to-b revenues were $20 million, an 18% increase. Much of this growth stemmed from acquisitions that added new clients and new services to the business.

In a year when new business pickings were slim, especially in the interactive arena, Boston-based Carat Interactive brought in new accounts from BEA Systems Inc., Covad Communications Co., Placeware Inc. and TiVo Inc. It also launched impressive interactive campaigns for Adobe InDesign 2.0, the Palm i705 and Seagate Inc.

Sarah Fay, president of Carat Interactive, said the Internet gained momentum in 2002 despite the economic downturn. "Companies got serious about putting programs together to show significant ROI," she said. "The interactive medium happens to be an ROI medium."

Fay added that while many marketers cut their budgets in 2002, they were more focused than ever on developing programs to drive leads and sales.

"In b-to-b, it is really all about leads these days," she said. "By getting deep into our clients' databases, we can get very targeted in whom we're talking to."

In January 2002, Carat Interactive acquired interactive agency Lot21 and relationship management company Vizium. Through these acquisitions, it was able to add creative services, eCRM and other digital media services to its mix.

-Kate Maddox

RUNNER-UP: Interactive Agency: SF Interactive Inc. Location: San Francisco URL: Key executive: Bruce Carlisle, CEO Employees: 35 2002 revenue: $4.1 million Key clients: Cisco Systems, Quantum, VeriSign Major 2002 campaigns: Cisco "Kaon" 3-D ad, "OnBusiness"; VeriSign, "Value of Trust"; Quantum, "When Failure is Not an Option"

SF Interactive Like most agencies in the interactive arena, the ad spending slump affected SF Interactive in 2002. But even in the midst of the downturn, it made aggressive moves to take its business to the next level.

Its pending acquisition of marketing agency Butler, Shine & Stern, which is expected to close this month, is a big step for San Francisco-based SF Interactive, an independent agency whose major b-to-b clients include Cisco Systems Inc., Quantum Corp. and VeriSign Inc. By bringing Butler, Shine into the fold, SF Interactive will be able to offer its clients fully integrated brand and direct marketing campaigns, as well as campaigns that use programs running on direct TV and radio.

Despite the prolonged slump in technology advertising, SF Interactive has held its own. In 2002 it was named interactive agency of record for Wind River, and it expanded its VeriSign and Cisco assignments.

SF Interactive projects its b-to-b revenue will grow 35% this year, with roughly 70% of the company's overall revenue generated from b-to-b campaigns.

In 2002, the agency launched several b-to-b campaigns that demonstrated its innovation. Cisco's "Kaon" campaign, for example, featured a 3-D ad that allows the user to "direct" the angle of the ad.

VeriSign's "Trusted Commerce" online campaign, which launched late last year, supports a PR program designed to help marketers make their customers feel more secure about online transactions.

"We're constantly looking for new ways to advertise," said Bruce Carlisle, president-CEO of SF Interactive. "Innovation is where we hang our hats."

Matthew Schwartz
HONORABLE MENTION: Interactive Agency: One to One Interactive Location: Boston URL: Key executive: Steve Humphrey, CEO Employees: 43 2002 revenue: $7.8 million 2002 b-to-b revenue: $7.8 million Key clients: Fleet Bank, Motorola, Nextel, Pfizer, Unisys Major 2002 campaigns: Motorola, iDEN i90c Bridge Program; Unisys, ES7000 Server Consolidation; Fleet Bank, Partnership Marketing Program; Nextel, e-mail campaign and media. Comments: @d:tech 2002 Awards: Best Mobile Marketing Campaign, runner-up. Grew client portfolio by 300%.
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