ABR 2009: Wunderman

“We are in the business of creating conversations – it’s about listening and learning from customers about the various interactions you have and proposing smart programs that entice them to buy differently. The essence of the DM business has not changed, the system is the same, but the [pace] has accelerated.”
— Daniel Morel, CEO

As the agency that bears the name of the legendary Lester Wunderman, who is credited with coining the phrase “direct marketing,” it’s no surprise that the science of direct is soul of what this agency does – though much of its work today revolves around digital, mobile, data analytics, e-mail as well as direct mail. The agency traces its roots to 1958 when it was founded as Wunderman, Ricotta, & Kline by three veteran ad men. In 1973, it was acquired by Young & Rubicam.

Year founded: 1958

Holding company: Young & Rubicam Brands

Headquarters: New York

Offices: Over 120 offices in more than 50 countries, as well as 15 specialized companies

Web site: www.wunderman.com

Major disciplines: Direct, digital, data analytics, creative, search, e-mail, mobile and promotions.

Key accounts: Microsoft, Citibank, Ford, Diageo, Nokia, Southwest Airlines

Current agency challenges: “Motivating staff in this economic environment– we’re looking at a variety of ways to keep up esprit d’corps that isn’t reliant wholly on money,” says David Sable, Wunderman’s vice chairman and COO. “[We want to strike] the balance between innovation and providing immediate results. You’ve got to keep forging ahead in areas like new technologies, e.g., mobile, while keeping client’s cash registers ringing.”

Biggest 2009 industry trends:
“Data solutions and insights will drive everything,” adds Sable. “We’ll witness data having an increased role in every aspect of the process from how we listen to consumers to when and how we engage them. The ability to inject up- to- the- minute information into every step of the process increases DM’s effectiveness and ultimately, ROI. Make no mistake, marketers and consumers are now joined in areal time conversation- and there is no turning back”

Top executives: Daniel Morel, chairman and CEO; David Sable, vice chairman and COO; Trish Wheaton, global chief marketing officer; Stewart Pearson, chief client officer.

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