Digitas Opens Marketing ‘Lab’ in San Francisco

Digitas said it is looking to take campaign research and testing to a new level with its Marketing Automation Lab.

The agency has opened the facility in its San Francisco office. It uses state-of-the-art computer technology to help clients develop, test and fine-tune multichannel marketing campaigns.

Through the lab, current and prospective clients can work with the Boston-based agency’s staff to build and refine marketing solutions across multiple media. Entire global campaigns—integrating everything from direct mail to TV commercials and phone-center fulfillment—can be modeled in the lab, agency executives said.

“Clients will get the tools they need to create personalized, customer-focused, on-demand campaigns,” said Bob Tekiela, Digitas chief technology officer. Tekiela said several Digitas clients are making use of the lab’s services, but he declined to identify them.

In a broader sense, the lab represents a continuing effort by Digitas to build momentum in the new-business arena. In April, the agency promoted David Edelman to the new post of chief marketing officer, making him the first Digitas executive specifically charged with selling the agency’s integrated services to clients and communicating its mission to the investment community.

Digitas posted net income of $711,000 through March 31—its first profitable quarter since its initial public offering two years ago.

Digitas believes it can offer a significant cost and time savings by providing a one-stop solution for clients that would otherwise have to make investments in technology and work with multiple vendors.

Also designed as a new-business conduit, the lab is funded by Intel and uses that company’s processors; software is provided by SAP. In return, Intel and SAP can use the lab as a vehicle to share client leads.

The lab is linked via the Web to Digitas’ Boston headquarters and its other offices—giving staff and clients access from remote locations.

Digitas, a large independent agency, specializes in interactive and direct marketing for clients including American Express, AT&T, Delta Air Lines, FedEx, General Motors and others.