Focus Will Be on Specialty Media & Marketing Services for the firm's Business Information Services Group
NEW YORK--May 1, 2000-- Jack Clarke, a leading Wall Street analyst who was one of the first to focus exclusively on the burgeoning marketing services and technologies sector, has joined media merchant bank Veronis Suhler as a managing director. Along with Managing Director Hal Greenberg, a 12-year Veronis Suhler veteran, Clarke will help lead the firm's transactional work with specialty media and marketing services companies, an increasingly visible part of Veronis Suhler's larger Business Information Services group.
The 44-year-old Clarke, who has a background in a number of sectors of the marketing services industry including database marketing, marketing research, and interactive media , gained prominence while working at the investment banking firm Furman Selz in the mid-1990s. He spent the last several years with Paine Webber as a senior analyst, working with the firm's institutional clients and its corporate finance team on investment ideas in the converging and consolidating marketing services industry.
"It's no exaggeration to say that Jack Clarke's earliest work was right on the mark in identifying the two most important trends that affected the marketing and advertising environment over the last five years, " said Greenberg.
James P. Rutherfurd, executive vice president and head of investment banking at Veronis Suhler, adds, "Jack's background, which combines industry operating experience and Wall Street financial experience, reflects the unique make-up of Veronis Suhler as a firm. We are thrilled to have Jack join as we expand our services to the advertising agency, marketing services, direct marketing and specialty media segments of the media and communications industry."
It was at Furman Selz that Clarke wrote the first analyst reports characterizing the marketing services sector for investors. Drawing from his industry experience, he concluded that a confluence of trends among consumers, merchants and brands would force large corporations to increase the portion of their resources allocated to marketing. As a result, the marketing services industry was poised to enjoy a period of unprecedented growth in the latter half of the decade.
His report, entitled "The Rising Tide in Marketing," correctly forecast that this new secular phenomenon would allow marketing spending to begin to sustain a rate of growth well in excess of the rate of GDP growth. This thought was counter to the conventional wisdom and the historical norms that marketing spending would continue to grow at rates in line with GDP growth.
Another report, entitled "Continuous Loop Marketing," suggested that a number of changes were taking place that would enable the concept of personalized "one-to-one" communications to evolve from an academic fascination to a fundable business strategy in a number of new industries. This report suggested that advances in information technology as well as the emergence of new "mineable" data sources in concert with the expected growth in online communications networks meant that spending on "information based" marketing campaigns would grow at a much faster rate than mass media spending.
The Continuous Loop process described in this report has subsequently become the Customer Relationship Management strategy that nearly every online e-commerce company is currently attempting to implement. As many Internet companies have said that the success of its business model will be determined by its ability to create "the ultimate customer experience" using what is now known as the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) model.
Jack Clarke moved to Paine Webber in 1997 as a senior vice president and business services analyst, having been recruited to help the firm expand its presence in other sectors of the business services industry by building upon his work in the marketing information sector. The goal was to identify other sectors of the business services market, which were expected to benefit from the trends in information technology that were rapidly driving the marketing process toward one-to-one communications. To this end, his team developed its investment thesis and expanded coverage into three new sectors--digital document management, human resources services, and interactive marketing. The firm was subsequently awarded corporate finance engagements in all three new industries. In each, the firm's research point of view was cited as a major reason for its selection.
Kenneth Marlin, who leads Veronis Suhler's Business Information Services group, noted that Mr. Clarke would divide his duties between the firm's investment banking and merchant banking activities. VS&A Communications Partners, the firm's private equity affiliate, has been an active investor in the business information services arena, with such holdings as HCIA-Sachs, specializing in health care database services, and The Official Information Company, which provides everything from pre-employment screening to trade show services. Just last month, VS&A Communications Partners III acquired Data Transmission Network, a Nasdaq-listed B2B information services provider serving the agricultural, weather, energy and financial services industries.
"Veronis Suhler is increasingly working with and investing in technology-rich marketing services companies. Jack's knowledge base, built from his experience as an analyst and as a practitioner, will be invaluable--on both the client-side and investment-side of the firm," said Marlin. Prior to joining Veronis Suhler last fall, Marlin was executive vice president in charge of global marketing for Bridge Information Systems, the leading provider of financial market data.
In keeping with Veronis Suhler's tradition of hiring professionals with hands-on operating experience in the communications and media industries, Clarke joins the firm with an impressive background in marketing services and new media, even apart from his recognized career as a top industry analyst.
Jack Clarke started his career as a district marketing manager for 3M Company. In this role, he was responsible for developing and managing the network of distributors that the firm depended upon, bringing to market the radically innovative products for which 3M is known. During his seven years there, he earned numerous awards based upon the performance of the channel partners under his management. In 1985, he was one of a small number of field marketing managers nominated for 3M's corporate-wide "Marketing Excellence Award" for his work in developing and implementing a novel approach for analyzing and improving the profitability of individual distributors. After 3M, Clarke launched his career in marketing services with Yankelovich Partners, a firm known worldwide for its work in consumer trend analysis, simulated test marketing and sales forecasting and modeling. He continued his career in marketing research with Information Resources, where he worked on client engagements testing advertising campaigns, forecasting new product sales and evaluating the ROI for couponing programs and trade promotions.
In the five-year period prior to transitioning to Wall Street, Clarke worked for two technology-based new media companies. These development-stage companies were focused on commercializing technology for delivering interactive advertising, real-time database marketing programs, and scanner-activated promotions.
"From my earliest days on Wall Street, it became apparent to me that Veronis Suhler was ideally structured to serve the corporate finance needs of the unusually fragmented marketing services industry. The fact that only a few dozen of the thousands of firms in the industry were large enough to command the attention of the broad-based investment banks was one reason I felt this way. The other was the industry is really a collection of eclectic sectors, like database marketing, marketing research, consumer promotion and many others.
The common theme is that they source their funding from marketing budgets--but the growth rates, business models, capital structures, and strategic issues were rarely the same sector to sector. As a result, I believe more so than in other more homogenous industries, marketing services companies will increasingly seek corporate finance professionals/ bankers with the industry experience to speak the language of their customers as fluently as they speak the language of the financial markets. I'm particularly excited about bringing my research and transactional experience to Veronis Suhler and helping the firm continue to expand its presence in the rapidly changing marketing services and specialty media industry."
Note: Veronis Suhler Inc. (www.vss.com) is a leading independent merchant bank dedicated to the media, communications, and information industries. Since its formation in 1981, the firm has served as financial advisor across all media industry segments including Broadcasting, Cable & Entertainment; Newspaper Publishing; Consumer Magazines; Business Information Services; Consumer, Professional & Educational Books; Business-to-Business Communications; Specialty Media & Marketing Services; and the Internet. VS&A Communications Partners III, L.P., the firm's $1 billion private equity affiliate, is also exclusively dedicated to investments in the media, communications, and information industries.
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