WCJ Finishes Restructuring Into CRM Firm, Bingle Says

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The revamping of Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York, was declared a success last week by chairman/CEO Jay Bingle, who billed the agency as a customer relationship management company. News of that success comes just days after news of a different sort, that 50-60 employees were laid off in its New York office related to the lost U.S. Postal Service account, sources said.


"CRM means managing the complete customer experience, resulting in longer-term, more profitable customer relationships," Bingle said, noting that CRM is the predominant force driving new economic and business models.


The agency took a great deal of time, Bingle said, to analyze the market and to reach the conclusion that CRM was coming down the pike long before it came into vogue as a marketing notion at public relations and new media consulting firms. Still, he conceded that CRM, as a concept, meant stiff competition from what were once considered unlikely sources.


"These new entrants are providing a significant challenge to us," he said. "Some of them have a tremendous reach into a company - even a [a direct line] to top leaders or maybe the CEO. That's a challenge to us and the industry."


WCJ's reorganization had global implications, particularly in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where it combined its market operations and installed new senior management while laying off about 100 people who were "not aligned with WCJ's new CRM direction." WCJ also said it replaced senior leaders in its Asian offices to accommodate expansions into China and Malaysia.


WCJ announced its plans to restructure earlier this year with a promise to evolve into "a new breed of marketing services company" and to focus on "building clients' businesses through complete customer relationship management and e-business solutions." Officials positioned the New York layoffs again as "not in alignment with the CRM offering."
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