Bosley Search Leads to RPA

LOS ANGELES Independent RPA said it has leveraged its search marketing expertise to win that portion of Bosley Inc.’s estimated $15 million account following a review.

In addition to online efforts, the Santa Monica, Calif., agency will also be responsible for creative development and media chores, as well as performance tracking and message optimization for the surgical hair-restoration practice.

Bosley’s search marketing was previously handled in-house. Other review contenders were not disclosed.

“There’s no broadcast involved,” said Pete Imwalle, senior vice president and general manager at RPA. “Ninety percent of what they’ve done in that area is direct response. They’ve stated a willingness to move from direct response to online search [initiatives]. But after experimenting with search and managing it in-house, they discovered it takes tons of labor and expertise.”

Mike Margolin, vice president and associate media director of RPA’s target marketing unit, said the agency is able to pitch and win business in this area because “we actually made a commitment to it, staffing it as a separate entity.”

Imwalle said the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based client is open to new advertising models “provided there is measurable return on investment. And since getting this sort of procedure is information intensive, it’s great for online marketing.”

“Search is an area that RPA feels strongly about because it closes the loop with consumers,” said Imwalle. “Our goal as an agency is to drive action, whether it’s to a store or a Web site.”

Search advertising has proved the effectiveness of matching text ads to user intent, and it’s leading more advertisers to look at linking their display ads to prior Web behavior [Adweek, March 27]. Over half of all marketers already use behavioral targeting, while another 31 percent intend to start this year, according to a recent Forrester Research survey.

Though search has been a growth field since at least the late 1990s, it has largely been the province of specialized companies such as iProspect and iCrossing. Relatively few mainstream shops such as RPA have leveraged the discipline to add business.

Bosley spent $15 million on all measured media in 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence.