Microsoft Consolidates CRM Agencies

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Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, said last week that it centralized its customer relationship management responsibilities at MRM Partners, the CRM division of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, and Wunderman, a division of Young & Rubicam Inc.


Insiders said Microsoft's CRM account is worth $400 million to $500 million, though Microsoft would not confirm this.


The two agencies will share demand generation, direct marketing, interactive marketing, loyalty initiatives and collateral design and creative responsibilities for all of Microsoft's seven product lines, including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows and MSN.com.


"This is the first time we've ever named strategic agencies of record in this space," said John Kahan, general manager of corporate CRM at Microsoft. "We've had them for advertising and PR for about six years, but in this space we had never had any kind of long-range relationship."


Microsoft spent about eight months on this review.


It is a global assignment. Initial efforts will focus on seven key Microsoft markets: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and Japan.


Microsoft expects to be fully operating with the new agencies by July 1, Kahan said, and "maybe as quickly as April 1." Local initiatives will begin immediately, and global initiatives will come later.


MRM's parent company, McCann-Erickson, handles Microsoft's general advertising.


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