Principal: David Imre, Chairman; Mark Eber, president and partner
Offices: Baltimore, MD; Raleigh, NC; Los Angeles
Revenue: $11.1 million
It might be hard to find a hotter agency in recent years than Baltimore-based IMRE. Not only did it boost its staff in 2011 by 32%, but it also saw revenues rise by more than 40%. “It was the second fantastic year in a row for us,” says Chairman David Imre, adding, “We attribute 19% of our revenue increase to organic growth and 14% to new business.”
IMRE focuses on four segments: home & building, healthcare, financial services, and sports, which was a new category for them in 2011. Its key wins over the past year include T. Rowe Price, Wells Fargo's insurance division, Glidden Paint and several additional divisions of Stanley Black & Decker.
That kind of rapid growth presents challenges as well as opportunities. Imre says his biggest focus now is attracting talent. “We're hiring all the way from the entry level on up, but for more experienced positions, the folks that we pick are going to come from the four industries that we work in,” he says.
A great example of that is Marty Conway, lured from the Texas Rangers to head up IMRE's Sports Practice.
IMRE has also aggressively invested in social media marketing. This spring it introduced 5Loom, a new social media specialty practice staffed by 19 people.
“We're seeing more and more clients and prospects trying to figure out the social media landscape, including where they should, and shouldn't, be engaged,” Imre explains. “We launched 5Loom to take advantage of that.”
He adds that social media is changing the way agencies and clients gauge the success of campaigns, noting, “We're finding there are far more metrics than in traditional PR and many of them link back to sales or whatever it is the customer wants. It doesn't land like a thud on their desk like a clip book, but our clients really appreciate the metrics we're giving them along with a deep understanding of those numbers.”
It might be hard to replicate the huge growth of the past few years, but IMRE is still budgeting for 20% growth in 2012, though most of that growth won't come from winning clients from other agencies.
“I see a lot of dollars being shifted into PR and social media that were traditionally advertising dollars and general marketing,” Imre says. “So the pie that we're going after is absolutely growing but it's coming from these other industries.”