Sapient Buys Marketing Agency

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In the latest example of marketing agencies in the offline and online space merging, consulting and marketing firm Sapient said yesterday it is acquiring integrated marketing agency Planning Group International.

Sapient, Cambridge, MA, which provides technology, marketing and business consulting for clients such as Hilton International, Harrah's Entertainment, BP and Sony Electronics, is buying PGI, Miami, for about $40 million.

PGI, which anticipates revenue of $35 million in 2005, specializes in multichannel marketing, with services that include direct marketing, brand development, paid search and media planning. In existence since 1988, PGI's clients include Burger King, Celebrity Cruise Lines and CitiGroup.

Sapient will fold PGI into its new Experience Marketing business unit.

"Traditional agencies are struggling to keep up with the pace of change and massive demand from sophisticated clients that want to succeed in today's multichannel marketplace," said Gaston Legorburu, who was CEO of PGI and now will serve as senior vice president of Sapient's Experience Marketing unit.

With the acquisition of PGI, Sapient can help its brands market in a "holistic" way, Legorburu and other executives said.

"We're looking at that total customer experience and saying to our clients, 'What is the best way, regardless of channel, to market to your customers?' PGI brings in the whole merchandising and offline side, including print production capabilities and direct mail campaigns," said Jason Turner, director of the Experience Marketing unit.

Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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