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Relying on mixed messages to sell a client's services

CSI Group says blend of digital, traditional ads is key to getting its content noticed

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Advertising in the mobile and social media circles offers potential for clients, but CSI Group chief Kurt von Seekamm, right, says the firm encourages clients not to eschew traditional media. Von Seekamm with Kenny Eicher at the Paramus office.
Advertising in the mobile and social media circles offers potential for clients, but CSI Group chief Kurt von Seekamm, right, says the firm encourages clients not to eschew traditional media. Von Seekamm with Kenny Eicher at the Paramus office. - (AARON HOUSTON)

It's both easier and harder for advertisers to target consumers. While potential customers may not spend as much time as they used to behind newspapers or in front of televisions, they spend more staring at their smartphones or tablets.

And Paramus-based CSI Group knows they have to be active on all those channels to get the results their clients demand.

The move toward mobile video advertising, "is being driven by the consumer," said Kenny Eicher, vice president of creative and strategic development. "They demand higher bandwidth from their phone companies and they demand a clearer, better picture on their smartphone. And as that technology improves, the advertiser doesn't want to be left in the lurch. They need to spend more money to make their stuff look better on the devices that the consumers are using."

That's where CSI comes in. The ad agency presents itself as a company that is comfortable in all media spaces, and can help its clients find the best mix of old and new media to push its message, said President Kurt von Seekamm. The allure of modern digital campaigns can create problems, he said, "when a client thinks they need to jump into digital and get rid of everything else."

Von Seekamm said one client decided, against CSI's advice, to move all its advertising online. "After six months of that, they went back into print and television. It's hard to get to consumers without hitting all those mediums."

CSI's staff has grown from 21 to 32 over the past 18 months, according to von Seekamm; it has annual billings between $6 million and $10 million, and anticipates growth of between 20 percent and 25 percent this year. The company occupies a three-story building, and in the past two years has added another 2,700 square feet nearby, for a total of 8,400 square feet. That growth has been helped along by clients who are spending more on advertising, instead of just spreading their ad dollars across different media.

"We try to react to the needs that are in the marketplace and the changing environment — and that requires us to add people," he said.

Eicher said CSI has prospered by pursuing strategic diversification.

"Our agency has never been locked down into a specific vertical market," he said.

E-mail to: beth@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @bethfitzgerald8

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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