Tribal Connections is New CRM Shop

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Tribal DDB Worldwide, the interactive arm of advertising agency DDB Worldwide, has created a new division focusing entirely on customer relationship management.

Called Tribal Connections, New York, the new division will tackle enterprisewide relationship marketing issues and help analyze Tribal DDB Worldwide client data.

"Specifically, our core offering is going to be customer care, knowledge management and relationship marketing," said Debbie Korono, who is the recently named director of relationship marketing at Tribal Connections' operations in North America.

"Right now, there's not been a strong focus on one-to-one communications with the clients that Tribal has. The focus has been more on using the Internet more similarly to a mass medium."

Scott Koehler, who is the newly appointed director of knowledge management for North America at Tribal Connections, agrees with his colleague's assessment.

"A lot of our clients have gone online and see the medium as broadcast," Koehler said. "They have made their additional investment online simply as an extension of their broadcast spending."

Tribal Connections' motto underscores its philosophy regarding the importance of the consumer behind the numbers: "People. Not Profiles."

The new division will work with Tribal DDB Worldwide's creative, account and media teams to analyze opt-in data collected from Web sites, online marketing campaigns, affiliate programs and alliances.

The division's CRM services include database management, profiling and segmentation, customer-care consulting and the implementation of solutions. Also included are technology recommendations, e-mail relationship marketing planning and data capture strategies.

Korono and Koehler did not reveal Tribal Connections' charter U.S. clients. But it is expected that the division's services will be extended to existing Tribal DDB Worldwide clients.

Key clients of Tribal DDB Worldwide include ExxonMobil, Volkswagen, Vodafone, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Clorox, Microsoft Corp., PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Unilever, Universal and McDonald's Corp.

DDB Worldwide formed Tribal DDB Worldwide in August after combining its disparate interactive agencies.

Tribal Connections initially will target business-to-consumer clients, Koehler said.

"Clearly, CRM has a lot of business-to-business potential, but initially it will be business-to-consumer," he said.

Korono and Koehler, who are experienced in data management and application, will report to Tim McHale, chief media officer at Tribal DDB North America. The executives always have worked as a New York-based team, first at McCann Relationship Marketing, New York, and then at Nexgenix, Irvine, CA.

Prior to this move, Korono was the national director of operations for relationship marketing services at Nexgenix while Koehler was the company's director of information management. They will work with Finn Overgaard, the managing director of Tribal DDB Copenhagen, Denmark, who doubles as head of Tribal Connections Europe.

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