M/W’s Unified Division Propels New-Business Push

Integrating Interactive Proves Helpful, Especially for Dot.Coms
CHICAGO–Martin/Williams’ decision earlier this year to combine its interactive unit and design, collateral and sales promotions groups into one division is starting to pay off, particularly in the dot.com realm.
Since its inception, the as-yet-unnamed division has helped bring in an estimated $30 million in billings, mostly from interactive clients, said Mike Gray, the Minneapolis shop’s director of new-business development. Most recently, the agency won a new business pitch for ZoneTrader.com, a site that sells used and surplus office equipment through auctions.
In the past two months, the division has also won interactive work from high-end furniture manufacturer Hendredon, online grocery service Simondelivers.com and online music distributor Cognicity.
In addition, the unit has picked up additional projects from existing M/W clients such as Target Stores, Gold’n Plump and Polaris. Assignments have ranged from Web site design to design and programming to full advertising and marketing campaigns, said Eric Simon, a management supervisor at the agency.
The agency credits its new-business run to an increased focus on integrated marketing–a commitment highlighted by the decision in March place its Carrot promotions, Edison Group direct marketing and interactive divisions in a single division, Gray said. The move has allowed the agency to make client Web sites “more of a marketing tool,” Simon said.
That integration and vision have proven most appealing to dot.coms looking to establish themselves beyond merely employing “crazy advertising” to gain attention, Gray said.
“Dot.coms are getting more savvy in terms of what they need,” Gray said. “They need to get and keep customers with database marketing and sales promotion.”
With so many dot.com startups out there, the agency has had to be careful about which it will take on, Gray said. “You have to make a judgment as a business person,” Gray said. “We look at where they’re at and make sure they have a viable business model.” K