Nasdaq Turns to CRM to Strengthen Client Bonds

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Aiming to retain the loyalty of companies that list with it, The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. will embark on a series of customer relationship marketing programs.

The stock market has tapped RTC Relationship Marketing, Washington, which is owned by advertising conglomerate WPP Group PLC, as its direct marketing agency.

"What the Nasdaq has hired us to do is build a stronger relationship between its brand and the constituents they serve," said Catherine Bartholow, president of RTC.

These constituents include brokers, dealers, and institutional and individual investors.

Four other agencies competed for the account. They were Earle Palmer Brown, Bethesda, MD; DMW Worldwide, Wayne, PA; and Trahan Burden & Charles and Brann Worldwide, both of Baltimore. RTC and Brann made the final cut. Roth Associates, New York, managed the selection.

Nasdaq lists about 4,100 companies. But the Nasdaq is not a stock exchange like the New York Stock Exchange, to which it has recently lost a few high-profile companies. Unlike NYSE, which is a sovereign organization incorporated by its members, Nasdaq is still owned by the National Association of Securities Dealers.

RTC, which last year posted billings of $115 million from clients like FedEx, Schering-Plough and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., initially has been tasked to develop three programs.

One program is to promote SuperMontage. This new trading platform from Nasdaq lets customers do more trading with more information and faster connections.

While Nasdaq road shows are promoting SuperMontage to investment communities, RTC is working on informing existing stock market clients about the new service. Tactics under consideration include e-mail, direct mail, grassroots and road shows.

Devising a more customer-centric focus for selling Nasdaq's portfolio of data products is another task. RTC will develop a strategy that works from the bottom up: starting with customer needs and developing products from there.

"We're working to market some of their data products like price quotations and information regarding price and volume of trades," Bartholow said.

Finally, RTC will create and execute a direct marketing campaign to generate loyalty among companies listed on the Nasdaq. Possible tactics include media like direct mail, online and grassroots marketing. Ads in print and trade publications also may be part of the media plan.

The agency will break the direct effort following a branding push, including TV, by Nasdaq shop McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, NC.

Overall, these efforts and the others that follow later this year are meant to convey the plus-points of trading on the Nasdaq.

Of special importance is the stock market's headway in technology and biotech companies, plus retailers. Companies listed on the Nasdaq include Amgen, eBay, Staples and Starbucks.

"It really is to clearly communicate the attributes and benefits of being part of Nasdaq and to really reinforce things such as the fact that the Nasdaq does trade more shares in dollar value than any other U.S. stock market," Bartholow said.

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