Planning/Buying Award: Avenue A

Its Atlas DMT serving technology enables the firm to excel with a data-driven approach to online planning and buying. Avenue A was founded in 1997 and quickly became one of the largest online media buying and planning agencies in the world. With a commitment to rigorous database-marketing methodologies and the development of a proprietary ad-serving and data-management technology, Avenue A was able to position itself of one of the big names in online advertising.

With their “sperm-to-worm” view of online advertising and the data generated from it, Avenue A has built a client list that looks more like it belongs to a traditional big agency than to a four-year-old internet specialty shop born in the Mesozoic era of online advertising. Avenue A has counted among their clients Eddie Bauer, Gateway Computers, and Disney.

They have recently picked up a couple more-traditional clients during the last year while many agencies were losing their less-traditional clients. Avenue A has signed on Best Buy, Lancôme, and AT&T Wireless, proving that, if you’ve got the right resources, intelligence, and wherewithal, you can still survive in the desert.

Maggie Boyer, VP Media, says they have been experimenting with new digital marketing platforms, moving beyond just the template of “webvertising.” “We are really embracing truly ‘new media,’” she says, “for example, wireless campaigns and iTV.”

The shop, usually known for its data-driven approaches to online media planning and buying, has also been conducting more branding efforts on behalf of their clients. But that doesn’t distract from using all the data at their disposal and turning it into information that is invaluable to their targeting efforts.

“Avenue A still sees huge potential in the Internet as a one-to-one marketing vehicle,” says Boyer. “If nothing else, building behavioral segments and making it a standard way to buy media” will continue to be essential to Avenue A’s approach to planning and buying media. To help them accomplish this, Avenue A uses Atlas DMT, its proprietary ad serving and database technology. This technology not only gets the ads out there on sites, but also allows Avenue A to watch various segments as they move about the web.

“In some cases, there is confirmation of marketing intuition. In others, no,” Boyer says, and that is what makes implementing these methods and technology so important.

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