Topaz Seeks to Mine Tech Sector

BOSTON Seeking to mine the expanding social media marketplace, Topaz Partners said it has launched a marketing technology practice.

The independent agency in Woburn, Mass., recently added several clients in the space, such as Prospero Technologies (a provider or social media solutions) and Campaigner (an e-mail marketing firm), so formalizing the practice made sense, the shop said.

Overall, roughly 10 Topaz clients are now in this sector. Staff for the accounts will be culled from among the agency’s 30 overall employees.

“A number of our clients are at the forefront of a major marketing shift, as companies find new ways to communicate with target audiences,” said Paula Slotkin, co-founder and principal partner at Topaz.

The move by Topaz mirrors efforts by agencies of all stripes and sizes as the broader marketing community looks to focus on emerging media (and established interactive channels) to grow their businesses over the long haul. On the macro level, Publicis Groupe’s $1.3 billion purchase of i-shop Digitas as the year began, and its subsequent efforts to recast the firm as a global new-media force, is a nod in that direction.

Such efforts have accelerated in light of recent trends. A recent report by eMarketer predicts online ad spending will reach $42 billion by 2011, doubling expected spending of $21.4 billion this year. At this week’s UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York, Steve King, CEO of communications strategy company ZenithOptimedia, predicted that the Internet would overtake magazines in 2010 as the third-largest ad medium in the world.

Topaz specializes in public relations and marketing communications programs, mainly for clients in the business-to-business sector.

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