Digitas’ James Joins BaseSix

Independent shop BaseSix generates nearly three-quarters of its revenue from interactive work. With the recent hiring of Debra James as vp, director of marketing, the shop sees an opportunity to attract more offline business as well.

“Though we excel in online marketing, my background is direct mail, and I want to bring more of that in,” said James, 35.

James previously spent 10 years at Digitas, here, most recently as a senior associate on the shop’s Delta Air Lines account. She joined Digitas after graduating from Providence College with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Reporting to Mark Ranalli, CEO of Boston-based BaseSix, James will lead new business development and strategic planning with John Skolis, who also holds the vp, director of marketing title.

The energetic, outgoing James, a self-described “Type-A personality,” emphasized the importance of maintaining such an attitude in the industry. An avid athlete who has competed in several triathlons, James cited such endeavors as contributing to her success. “It gives me the energy to keep up with work and my three kids,” she said.

About 70 percent of the agency’s revenue comes from interactive work for clients such as HBO, ESPN and GE Brokerage, according to the shop. The other 30 percent comes from more traditional services. In the next few years, Ranalli said he would like to see that ratio grow closer to 50-50.

“Our customers demand it, and we needed a senior resource on the marketing side,” Ranalli said. He cited James’ direct expertise, as well as an ability to coordinate activity between departments, as factors in her hiring.

The privately owned BaseSix, which launched in 1999, employs about 30 staffers. Ranalli claimed its revenue grew about 30 percent from 2001-02, but he declined to disclose the figures.

—KRISTEN ROUNTREE