Carmichael Lynch Spong: Agency Business Report 2009

CEO Doug Spong says CLS "stumbled to the finish line" in 2008 due to a poor economy, but is optimistic it can rebound, in part because of its growth in digital.

Outlook
CEO Doug Spong says CLS "stumbled to the finish line" in 2008 due to a poor economy, but is optimistic it can rebound, in part because of its growth in digital.

"It's not a new area, but it expanded significantly to... 10 pros practicing in social media – everything from blogger relations... to online engagement in general," he says. "That has really grown from last year."

Spong expects his firm to begin its re-bound in the coming months. "Starting second quarter this year," he predicts, "we will start doing better."

Staff
Current headcount is 60, representing 15% turnover in 2008. The firm made a number of key senior hires, including Sarah McNeil, senior principal and chair of b-to-b and tech, and Kelley Shoemaker, director of operations. Dory Anderson, senior principal, and principals Jay Lemke and Carson Stanwood left last year.

Practice areas
The firm's 15 practice areas include brand marketing, public affairs, b-to-b, food and beverage, outdoor and leisure, employee engagement, lifestyle marketing, experiential marketing, and social media. Social media, food and beverage, and outdoor and leisure showed the most growth during 2008, while b-to-b showed the least.

Accounts
Key 2008 wins included Target, Sierra Nevada, and PowerBar. Key account losses included Maytag, Amana, and Rosetta Stone. Two-thirds of clients are on retainer.

Financial performance
The firm did not provide specific revenue figures, but disclosed that it achieved 8% growth over its 2007 revenues and has a US revenue of less than $50 million. It also experienced both top- and bottom-line growth last year, half of which was organic, the other half due to new business.

Key facts
Principal: Douglas Spong, CEO

Ownership: Interpublic Group

Offices: Six – Minneapolis (HQ), New York, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Jackson Hole, WY

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