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Pro Media Expands Into Interactive Buying

Pro Media Inc., the largest independent media-buying agency in New England, will expand its offerings next month to include placing advertising in direct response and interactive media.

The Natick, MA, agency has focused so far on placing ads in mass media, forcing the shop to outsource direct marketing and Internet placements and limiting its offerings to clients.

This move comes after Pro Media decided last month to combine its planning and account service divisions.

“We want to offer our clients one-stop shopping for all their media needs,” said Don Carlin, chief operating officer at Pro Media. “The idea is of convergence and integration between different media vehicles. This will also enable us to capture all the changes in all of the media happening today.”

Hook Media previously handled all Internet and direct marketing media placements for Pro Media. A 20-year-old agency, Pro Media last year recorded billings of more than $300 million through services that included strategy development, planning, buying and tracking direct marketing ads.

The agency places ads in broadcast, print, outdoor, radio and transit media.

Charter clients for the new interactive and direct marketing offerings from Pro Media are Jones University, Staples Inc., Staples.com, BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. and TJX Cos. These companies already are clients.

The decision to expand the agency's scope was under consideration for some time.

“We've actually been talking about this for the past two-and-a-half years,” said Rosemary Petta, chief integrated marketing officer at Pro Media. “With the onset of increased accountability, our clients are looking to tracking costs of advertising directly to the costs of doing business.

“The direction that interactive advertising takes is exactly that — tracking advertising to the costs of sales.”

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