STAMFORD, Conn. -- With promotion marketing's status expanding into a mature discipline with global influence, a group of leading agencies based here in has taken on a new name.
The members of the former Council of Sales Promotion Agencies, voted at its fall conference in New York Sept. 29 to adopt a new name, the Association of Promotion Marketing Agencies Worldwide, or APMA Worldwide.
"The designation, 'sales promotion agency,' has become too narrow," said Thomas Conlon, president of APMA Worldwide, in an interview.
"Fifteen to twenty years ago, our role was tactical. Over the years, clients have demanded more breadth of services, more partnering relationships, a more strategic approach.," he said.
Conlon, who is also president of D.L. Blair, Garden City, N.Y., said the addition of the 'Worldwide' designation reflects another change for member agencies, from a U.S.-dominated industry toward one which is "well-balanced, with an increasing number of sophisticated, important agencies based throughout North and South America, Asia and Europe."
"There are national organizations now in many of those countries, but for the most part their focus is specifically national," he said. "We anticipate that the role of APMA Worldwide would be complementary to them."
Conlon said the name change was also a chance for the association to better reflect the diversity of its member firms, which range from large full-service promotion marketing agencies to tiny niche players.
"This is not a cookie-cutter industry," he said. In the past five years, member firms have marked a strong movement on the part of major brand marketers toward an increasing use of localized and account specific marketing. Conlon said he sees the trend as ultimately healthy for national brand equities.
"It is silly of some people to maintain that reaching out to smaller groups of people hurts their message." Targeted promotions, he said, "can only enhance consumer receptivity to a brand."