Celebrating his 25th anniversary with Acosta Sales and Marketing, Gary Chartrand has moved on to become executive chairman of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based agency. He passed the chief executive officer baton to Robert Hill, effective Jan. 1, 2009.
“I love this company and have given Acosta all the energy and talent I could,” Chartrand told SN. “It has been a privilege to be part of the transformation of the industry from 2,500 agencies, when I started with Acosta in 1983, to three main players, Acosta being one of these three, today doing 90% of the business. Acosta has gone from a local to a regional to a national agency in the U.S. and Canada in that time, and this past year we expanded our scope even further with several key acquisitions and expansion into new channels.”
Chartrand said he believes there is a huge economic interdependence between sales and marketing agencies and CPG companies. Business is flat and unit sales are down but dollar sales are up. People are eating at home more, but are also trading down to private label and value brands.
“This means we have to win new business to help us grow. We offer an extremely efficient and effective business solution for CPG companies, and that helps. In fact, in recent years, the industry has been moving more rapidly from in-sourcing to outsourcing, which is very good for Acosta.”
While there are opportunities for growth in this environment, Acosta must be careful with resources. Chartrand said. “The fact that the business is flat is a big challenge,” he said. “With the cost of doing business increasing each year, we need to achieve significant commission growth in order to meet operational costs. We must continue to develop new business to help offset our rising cost structure.”
To do this, Chartrand said he plans to continue to make solid investments in people, systems and structure, including a heavy investment in technology, analytic capabilities and marketing services to better understand shopper purchasing decisions. “Our goal is to continue to grow at 8% per year.”
— Amy Sung