Consultancy Focuses on Faith-Based Initiatives

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Craig Wood, a direct marketing pioneer and former group president and head of the database division at Yankelovich Inc., said last month that he established an independent marketing consultancy called the Clarity Group.

The Chapel Hill, NC, company will provide consulting and customer relationship management services to faith-based organizations as well as consumer marketers, with an emphasis on direct and database marketing.

"The Clarity Group has been formed to help people get a better grasp of how consumers today are using their values and their faith to influence their consumer behavior and how to connect with them on a more emotional, values basis," Mr. Wood said. Consumers spend more than $4 billion a year on Christian products, yet "direct marketers have failed to keep pace with this growth and market potential."

Mr. Wood added that "this firm offers me a chance to follow my passion in serving faith-based organizations and not-for-profit entities that produce sustainable, long-term value to our society. While the majority of our work may come from more traditional marketing sources, we have made a specific commitment to the faith-based community."

The Clarity Group suggests strategy and tactics to improve performance and produce measurable results for those trying to reach faith-based consumers, he said. The company also has two proprietary product/consulting reports. ClearPath Roadmap is a detailed business case and strategic planning process for CRM and marketing communications implementation. ClearView Profile is a detailed analytic and marketing profile of current customers leveraging demographic, attitudinal, behavioral and economic data.

The company also plans reports to provide insight into faith-based consumers to help organizations understand and speak to that segment of their audience. The first is scheduled for release in late summer.

The Clarity Group already serves clients including Yankelovich; Echelon Marketing Group, a marketing services firm with expertise in consumer spending capacity and purchase propensity; and Generation Companies, a hospitality company with 23 extended-stay hotel properties in the Southeast.

Another client, the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, is using Clarity Group to decide where to put new churches and how its pastors should build a communication stream with its members during the first 18 months of the life of a church. The NCC of the United Methodist Church has 855 churches and is one of the biggest conferences in the United States, Mr. Wood said.

"They are looking at using data and using sophistication to understand who would want to be a part of their church," he said.

Key targets for Clarity Group include companies that sell faith-based products or services as well as organizations seeking to expand membership or donor base to a broader market of values-based consumers.

Mr. Wood previously was group president of Yankelovich, a major information services consultancy offering marketing productivity solutions. He also has served as president and chief operating officer of Businessmodel.com and as executive vice president of KnowledgeBase Marketing, one of the nation's leading integrated information marketing companies. He is a co-author of "Coming to Concurrence: Addressable Attitudes and the New Model for Marketing Productivity" (2004).

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