Key executive: Adam Kleinberg, CEO
2009 revenue: $5.0 million
2009 b2b revenue: $2.5 million
Key clients: Adobe Systems, Bank of America, Egencia, SAP, Sun Microsystems
Major 2009 campaigns: Alibaba.com, “Find It. Make It. Sell It,” TV, print, online; Message Systems, “The Right Time and Place,” online; Adobe, “Photoshop for iPhone,” online, mobile
Comments: Grew revenue by 25%; won new accounts, including Alibaba.com, Intel, Intuit, Salesforce.com and Symantec; added media-buying capability; named to Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing U.S. companies; 50% b2b
Despite the sluggish economy, Traction posted an impressive performance in 2009, increasing revenue by 25% and adding several key accounts.
“What differentiates us is that we're thinking about how the marketing landscape works in a world where the funnel no longer exists, and we're creating plans that not only move people toward conversion but toward a conversation,” said Adam Kleinberg, CEO of the San Francisco-based agency. “We believe everything is interactive.”
That commitment to interactive communication helped Traction win new accounts Intel, Intuit, Salesforce.com and Symantec.
Another major win was Alibaba.com, an online platform that connects small businesses around the world. Traction created the message that Alibaba.com was the place for small-business owners to “Find it. Make it. Sell it”—whatever “it” might be. It then developed an integrated brand narrative across TV, online and print ads, all designed to drive traffic back to the Alibaba Web site. The narrative featured small-business owners who find inventory on the site to enable them to take on bigger competitors.
In the month after the campaign debuted, U.S. traffic to Alibaba.com grew to 7 million visitors, up from 5 million before the launch. Over a four-month period, the campaign lifted awareness to 33%, up from 14%.
Kleinberg said Traction won the Alibaba.com account because it wasn't afraid to challenge conventions and saw the recession as an opportunity.
“Rather than just target existing entrepreneurs, we created an aspirational message that leveraged the state of the economy to inspire a whole new breed of entrepreneurs,” he said.
Traction demonstrated its commitment to social media in its work for SAP CRM, crafting a cross-platform strategy that covered Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, the blogosphere and the client's own community. The campaign identified high-value prospects and customers within the social media universe and used direct marketing tactics to reach them.
Based on its strong growth in 2009, Traction was named to the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S. Originally starting with four employees, the agency has expanded to 30 and is currently renovating its office space to accommodate that growth.
And as b2b marketing continues to evolve, Kleinberg believes Traction is poised for sustained success.
“We're not out of the challenging economy yet, but as things shift to digital, as big agencies are struggling to realign their processes, our flexibility, agility and technical prowess are combining to make us a force to be reckoned with,” he said. —Nathan Gannon
WINNER: BBDO New York
RUNNER-UP: Ogilvy & Mather
MENTION: Euro RSCG
|HONORABLE MENTION: PJA Advertising+Marketing|
|RUNNER-UP: Schermer Kuehl|
|WINNER: MRM Worlwide|
HONORABLE MENTION: BusinessOnLine