Key executive: Chris Schermer, president
2009 revenue: $3.2 million
2009 b2b revenue: $3.2 million
Key clients: Best Buy for Business, Datalink, PureSafety, Stratasys, United Hospital Services
Major 2009 campaigns: Best Buy for Business, “Now I Can,” print, online; Best Buy corporate card incentive program, “Picture This,” microsite, trade show support, sales collateral; Datalink, “Efficiency Central,” online, direct mail, social media Comments: More than doubled revenue; added new accounts including Datalink and PureSafety; expanded social media and experiential marketing capabilities; 100% b2b
Schermer Kuehl overcame the challenging economy to record a banner year in 2009, winning new accounts and more than doubling its revenue on the strength of its b2b expertise.
“We've been focusing on b2b for 10 years, and [clients] see we have the ability to understand marketing from a strategic standpoint and to implement [campaigns] with great creative that truly resonates with b2b audiences,” said Chris Schermer, president of the agency.
Despite working with tighter client budgets, Schermer Kuehl increased its revenue to $3.2 million last year, more than double the $1.5 million it logged in 2008. That growth came in part from new accounts from Datalink Corp. and PureSafety as well as a national campaign for Best Buy Co.
Schermer Kuehl had been working with Best Buy for three years on individual, targeted projects, but this was the first time it was commissioned to create a national campaign. For that, the agency crafted the message that Best Buy could help a small-business buyer “be the one who's ready when opportunity knocks,” Schermer said.
The campaign included ads in The Wall Street Journal and on various Web sites. Digital agency Razorfish, Seattle, handled online buying for the effort.
Schermer said the campaign generated significant in-store and online lift for Best Buy, with the online elements averaging 4 million impressions a week. The campaign also helped Best Buy's lead-generation efforts.
“We weren't only selling products but identifying [customers] in our database as small-business owners so we can create a better relationship with them,” Schermer said. “Through this campaign, we've identified hundreds of thousands of small-business owners, and that's a big success.”
Schermer Kuehl also coordinated a campaign for Best Buy's corporate gift card incentive program. It handled the media and advertising strategies as well as creative for the national campaign. It designed a new microsite and digital information kit, and provided trade show support, all of which helped Best Buy achieve its best sales year ever, Schermer said.
By shifting its focus from demand generation to creating experience-driven marketing, Schermer said he believes his agency is well-positioned to help its clients succeed in the evolving world of b2b marketing.
“The CMO of today and tomorrow is going to be charged with creating high-value relationships, retaining customers and delivering an experience across the entire organization,” Schermer said. “We want to help that CMO envision and create those experiences.” —Nathan Gannon
WINNER: BBDO New York
RUNNER-UP: Ogilvy & Mather
MENTION: Euro RSCG
|HONORABLE MENTION: PJA Advertising+Marketing|
|WINNER: Chempetetitive Group|
|RUNNER-UP: Schermer Kuehl|
|WINNER: MRM Worlwide|
HONORABLE MENTION: BusinessOnLine