Marc USA/Pittsburgh has enlisted agency veteran Tony Edwards to introduce account planning to the shop.
Edwards most re-cently ran a consultancy in Atlanta, Street Smart Research. "It was fun being on the outside, but I wanted to get back to an ad agency," Edwards said.
Michele Fabrizi, the agency's president and CEO, said growing brand parity is one reason the agency deemed it more necessary than ever to find ways to get deeper inside the consumer's mind. Edwards agreed, saying, "The marketer has never had it less good," because of the wealth of choices available to consumers.
Edwards will not simply be used as a new business tool, Fabrizi said. The agency is "tearing apart" its research and strategy "insight team" and putting members trained by Edwards as account planners on each client team. Edwards said he also plans to hire some planners for the agency.
Edwards' title is senior vice president of strategic and consumer insight. He will also work with Marc's SEE Brand Consulting arm.
Edwards learned account planning at J. Walter Thompson in South Africa, where he also worked for Leo Burnett. He later ran his own agency, Edwards Hunter Advertising, in Los Angeles.