Finished with firms, SmartAge brings PR in-house

SAN FRANCISCO: After churning through at least three agencies in nine months, San Francisco-based online marketplace SmartAge has taken its PR account in-house.

SAN FRANCISCO: After churning through at least three agencies in nine months, San Francisco-based online marketplace SmartAge has taken its PR account in-house.

SAN FRANCISCO: After churning through at least three agencies in

nine months, San Francisco-based online marketplace SmartAge has taken

its PR account in-house.



Founded in 1998 by ex-Ziff-Davis publisher Bill Lohse, SmartAge was most

recently working on a rumored dollars 40,000 monthly retainer with

FitzGerald Communications’ San Fran office. However, since September

1999 the company has also retained Kansas City-based Ink and Rubenstein

Associates for various media relations and PR services. Sources close to

the companies involved hinted that the number of PR firms on the payroll

might have depleted a once-hefty marketing budget.



SmartAge PR director Julia Glenister, however, said the decision to go

in-house was more a matter of logistics and resource allocation than

cost-cutting. ’My senior public relations manager and I both have agency

backgrounds, so we are pretty well-versed in PR strategy and tactics,’

she explained.



’It just made sense for us to beef up our internal staff from three to

four dedicated team members and operate from the corporate side.’



Glenister, who joined SmartAge in December after two years with Niehaus

Ryan Wong, added that the breadth of the company’s offerings - more than

40 products and services for small businesses - makes an in-house PR

arrangement ideal. ’It is an enormous advantage to be sitting next to

the engineering staff, product and partner marketing groups,’ she

said.



FitzGerald, which had worked with SmartAge since December, is unlikely

to feel any pain over the loss of the business. The agency’s San

Francisco branch has picked up at least 10 new accounts worth about

dollars 2 million in annualized fee income within the past six months.

Recent additions include CrossWorlds Software, iMediation and

Software.com.



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