MRM Wins Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments Business

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McCann Relationship Marketing Worldwide has been named relationship marketing agency by Hallmark Cards Inc. for its Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments line.

The agency's New York office won the account in a review whose participants were not disclosed. Billings were not disclosed either. There was no incumbent.

"They expect us to increase loyalty for Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments and to generate new customers," said Tracey Owens, executive vice president and general manager at MRM's New York office.

McCann has been charged with driving short-term consumer conversion and long-term brand loyalty for Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments.

Toward that end, MRM will offer Hallmark creative strategy development and execution, campaign measurement, and media selection and buying. It will also include services such as strategic business development and target audience identification and selection.

Hallmark joins a roster of MRM New York clients that include Amgen, Baxter Healthcare, MasterCard International, Sirius Satellite Radio, US Airways, United Parcel Service and Salomon Smith Barney.

MRM is part of advertising agency McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, which is owned by marketing conglomerate Interpublic Group of Companies Inc., New York.

The new Hallmark effort by MRM will target current customers as well as prospects. To do that, MRM has to keep communications in harmony with both constituents' tastes.

"Our assignment is making the product appeal to a broader audience," Owens said. "We're trying to rejuvenate the brand to appeal to a new audience. Obviously [Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments] has been around for a long time.

"We don't want to alienate [current customers], and at the same time we want to reposition the product," she said.

Hallmark ornaments range from Santa Claus and snowmen to religious and inspirational themes, as well as pop culture, series, holiday, friends, family, work, play and sports.

Ornaments are an important component of the portfolio for Hallmark, the world's leading maker of greeting cards. But the ornaments market is becoming crowded.

"I think it's becoming more competitive in that the Pottery Barns and The Home Stores and the Kmarts and Targets are getting involved, especially around the holiday time," Owens said.

In related MRM news, the agency has formed a joint venture with Fair, Isaac and Co., a San Rafael, CA, company that styles itself as a provider of customer analytics and credit scoring technology for customer relationship management data analytics.

The joint venture will combine MRM's proprietary Future Value Model practice in CRM with Fair, Isaac's mathematical modeling formulas used to predict financial behavior for credit and loan decisions. The Fair, Isaac product is called the MarketSmart Decision System.

Fair, Isaac's Internet-based e-CRM services cover the strategic and operational side of the client's customer relationships. This includes data warehousing, campaign management, decision technology, data mining, multichannel marketing and analytics.

"It's really to help our clients build and manage a pre-emptive, profitable relationship with their customers," said Pam Maphis Larrick, worldwide president and chief operating officer at MRM, "because we're going to be able to put in front of the customer precisely what they want at any give moment."

Launching sometime this quarter, the alliance will use mathematical modeling formulas to improve the predictability of future customer behavior. It is also the first time that Fair, Isaac will integrate predictive analytics into marketing.

MRM's clients will now be able to determine where, when and how to interact with their customers and prospects for stronger relationships based on predictions about actual customer needs and behavior, the company said.

A global company, Fair, Isaac has 21 offices worldwide and last year reported revenue of $298 million. Its alliance partner, MRM, has 47 offices in 33 countries and recorded more than $1 billion in billings last year.

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