BBDO Spin-off Network Opens in Canada

Proximity, a BBDO spin-off global network of direct marketing and interactive agencies founded in the United Kingdom in September, opened offices in Canada last month and plans to enter the U.S. from there in the future.

“Our plans for that will be disclosed in the next couple of months,” said Sarah Simpson, CEO of the Canadian operation. The company now has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

“The thinking behind founding Proximity was that given the growth of technology, more demanding consumers and much more diffuse media, a new way of doing business was needed,” Simpson said.

Simpson credited Simon Hall, the primary architect of the concept and CEO of the network, with the idea of combining direct and interactive marketing agencies whose mission is creating and nurturing brand relationships.

BBDO already had several agencies around the globe that were active in the DM or interactive field and decided to participate in the new network, which now has 49 offices in 18 countries.

“What we are trying to do is bring everything closer to the customer, so we are designing tools to build customer relationships and reigniting ties to brands,” Simpson said. “We are bringing several such tools or processes to Canada.”

One of the tools, Brand IT, “takes the core attributes a brand has and assesses how relevant they are at the segment level,” she said. Data are assessed, and different types of customers are analyzed “so that we know how to talk about the brand differently to different audiences.

“We will know, for example, how to magnify a brand's different attributes an individual would find most relevant at the segment level. Take customers of a large bank. Some are young and clearly will be rich; others are well established and will retire soon.

Another tool, Mediator, is software that was developed in Europe over several years as a comprehensive media planning, buying and analysis device.

“It will help put together a media plan, project calls, cost per call and order, and finalize a report on how well a campaign is doing,” Simpson said.

CRM Monitor is “an assessment tool that looks at clients to see where they are” in the customer relationship management process. “It looks at financials, data and technology and tells the client how far advanced he is in delivering effective CRM,” she said.

While the BBDO connection gives the network and its Canadian outlet a customer base, “we are not limiting ourselves to BBDO customers.” Simpson said the marriage of DM, the Internet and data power will be attractive to others as well.

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