Zimmerman’s Business Solution Lands Client B03PAP29

Omnicom Group’s Zimmerman & Partners owes its latest account win, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, not to an advertising concept but to an idea for improving the client’s business model.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., shop won the estimated $12 million account after suggesting that CCCS use the agency’s marketing tool for the auto dealerships on its roster, the Automated Credit Processing Center. Dealers advertise an 800 number for consumers who want help applying for financing, and callers’ information is passed along to those dealers.

The agency said the Center could add a question to its application: “If you do not qualify for financing because of debt-to-income ratio, would you like us to refer you to a credit counseling service?” By saying yes, consumers give permission for their information to be shared with CCCS. Agency CEO Jordan Zimmer man said this would generate 30,000-40,000 leads a month.

CCCS previously handled advertising in-house but is facing increased competition, said Howard Dvorkin, president and founder of the Fort Lauderdale nonprofit. Zimmerman will handle direct, print, radio and television efforts.

“We are a little more aggressive than the average counseling agency,” said Dvor kin. “This is going to be a very powerful tool.”

Dvorkin referred to Zimmerman as “business people who happen to be marketing guys.” He noted, “When others are talking reach, they’re talking return on investment.”

Zimmerman created the credit center in 1994 for about two dozen dealership clients. He has yet to persuade his largest dealer, Autonation, to participate in the CCCS program, but he said others have responded well. “They’ll think it’s smart because it gives them a list of customer profiles they can track,” he said.

Dvorkin said he looked at 10 shops, including Fort Lauderdale’s HDC, Turkel Schwartz in Miami, and BBDO in New York. Hispanic agency Creat Ability in Coral Gables, Fla., will partner with Zimmerman.