One to One Gains Momentum

Unlike many of its agency brethren that have struggled with the technology downturn, One to One Interactive has enjoyed impressive growth of late and is looking to build on that momentum as the new year begins.

The Boston-based in-dependent added two sizable accounts last year (banking companies The Hartford and PNC) and doubled its staff to 55. Projected revenue is nearly $10 million, an improvement of some 80 percent from a year ago.

“We think we have a success story in a difficult environment,” said CEO Steve Humphrey.

The agency focuses solely on Internet marketing, rather than trying to be “all things to everybody,” Humphrey said. Targeting Fortune 1000 companies of all kinds, rather than focusing on technology concerns, and eschewing short-term projects in favor of long-term relationships has helped One to One prosper, Humphrey said.

Humphrey joined Digitas as president in 1989 (when the shop was known as Bronner Slosberg Humphrey) and left in 1997. He is credited as being an architect of that organization’s phenomenal growth in the ’90s. He has also held senior positions at Ogilvy & Mather and FCB Direct.

He joined One to One in 1999, about two years after it was formed by brothers Ian and Jeremi Karnell, who serve as president and chief marketing officer, respectively, and by Michael Donnelly, who is senior relationship manager

Ian Karnell held senior posts at consulting company Cambridge Technology Partners in Cambridge, Mass. Jeremi had been president of TRG New Media in Chicago.

Unlike many of their peers who built their businesses from venture capital, the Karnells funded their startup through fees gained from providing services to clients.

“It definitely wasn’t the easy road to take, but we had to pay our dues, and we’re reaping the equity of that now,” Jeremi Karnell said.

One to One is expanding its services in the year ahead to include interactive TV, broadband and wireless media services and search engine optimization.

In addition to The Hartfordand PNC, other key clients include Nextel Communications, Motorola, State Street and Unisys. For these clients, One to One is developingWeb sites, superstitials, streaming ads, banner advertisements and other e-marketing tools. Currently, it is preparing to relaunch a Web site for State Street, a Boston financial services company that tapped One to One in 1998.