ABR 2009: RAPP

“Despite the dramatic evolution of the media landscape in recent years, our basic definition of direct marketing hasn’t changed: that is, to use data to understand consumers and ignite emotional brand connections that compel action. What has changed is the consumer’s role in direct marketing. We must now look at consumers as equal partners, even co-authors. And so the basic building blocks of direct marketing have evolved.”
— Bob Horvath, global chairman and CEO

Formerly known as Rapp Collins, last year Rapp dropped the Collins, as the agency evolved its brand from a direct marketing agency to a direct and digital marketing agency. Known for decades for its attention to CRM and data analytics as well as its media planning, Rapp has found the digital revolution to suit its business well. Because Rapp is rooted in direct marketing principles, the brand is taking its strengths in measurement and applying them to the digital world, making it one of the top direct marketing agencies in the business.

Year founded: 1965, acquired by Omnicom in 1985

Headquarters: New York

Holding company: Omnicom

Number of offices: 50 offices in more than 40 countries

Web site: www.rapp.com

Major disciplines/capabilities: CRM and direct marketing strategy (acquisition, loyalty/retention, optimization), digital strategy and execution, data analytics, customer research, integrated creative services, search engine marketing/search engine optimization, mobile marketing, media planning and buying, database management and hosting, marketing automation software, lettershop and fulfillment

Key accounts: Bank of America, Best Buy, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, HP, Hyatt Hotels, Johnson & Johnson, Luxottica, Macy’s, Merck

Current agency challenges: For Rapp, like everyone else in the business, the economy presents a challenge this year. But at the same time, Rapp sees an opportunity. “As direct marketers, we will always focus on the tools and channels that maximize return, but we must also convince our clients to be bold and to innovate,” says Horvath.  “Experimentation is never easy, especially in times like these.  Yet it’s never been more relevant or rewarding,” he says.

Biggest 2009 industry trends: For Rapp, the opportunity in the coming year is three-fold. First, it is about capitalizing on what Horvath calls the “network effect”: “Consumers will continue to tune out traditional marketing communications and tune in to the opinions and recommendations from their social connections,” he explains The second trend in the industry will be the growth of Web-based data mining, thanks to new semantic Web tools that allow consumers to mine the Web more efficiently and expertly. And finally, Rapp is seeing new ways of segmenting consumers as a trend on the rise. “Traditional segmentation techniques may no longer be as relevant in a highly dynamic, real-time marketing environment,” says Horvath.

Top executives: Paul Price, global president; Jim Lyons president, North America; Loren Grossman, global chief strategy officer; Matt Hafkin, global chief financial officer; Anne Marie Schiller, global chief of operations; Rachael Heapps, chief creative officer; Becca Weigman, managing director, Rapp Dallas; Jim McKinnis, managing director, Rapp LA

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