In 2009, GSI Commerce rolled out and rebranded its marketing services division, GSI Interactive, as True Action. Led by advertising powerhouses Nick Pahade and Dorian Sweet, True Action handled such well known clients as Aeropostale, Bath & Body Works, Levi Strauss, the National Football League, GNC, Kate Spade, and Christopher & Banks. The agency focused, wrote Kunur Patel in his 2009 article “How a Back-end E-tail Operation Looks to Grow into a Digital Shop,” on “driving sales online, not building brands.”.

In 2012, in an effort to expand that focus The Heggen Group was brought in to assess acquisition team end-to-end marketing and advertising processes. The work involved integrating digital and interactive agency marketing services with GSI’s e-commerce outbound marketing services platform. The five month engagement was split into five phases.

Phase I. The Heggen Group developed a high-level process map that defined how operations/project management teams worked and identified key management points of interaction–otherwise known as benchmarks–to track and measure the implementation processes. This required knowing what the company wanted to do and devising a process to accomplish those goals. Benchmark metrics encompassed the agency’s internal and digital best practices to measure progress and success.

Phase II. To avoid having to reinvent the proverbial wheel for each client and each campaign, the Heggen Group reviewed and assessed the agency’s current processes for commonalities that could be standardized and integrated across clients, offices, and teams. Standardization conferred the dual benefits of predictable results on a predictable timetable and predictable quality and performance. Predictability then enabled executives to accurately price fees because they could forecast the resources that would be required to deliver a certain project. Benchmark metrics again encompassed the agency’s internal best practices.

Phase III. Working with the client output delivery team, the Heggen Group created a clear communication and client servicing methodology that provided transparency, clear expectations, and accountabilities for key stakeholders and implementation teams. This phase identified who was responsible for what and when. Refer to the February 14 blog article “Getting on the Same Page” for a deeper discussion regarding the importance of the preparatory stages in a company’s initiative.

Phase IV. The Heggen Group worked with the marketing services teams to identify roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities assigned to each team and within each team. That clarity of expectations carried into mentoring new delivery leadership team members and identification of the necessary support services needed to ensure efficient and cohesive coordination within and among teams. The Heggen Group also guided the hiring process for new support staff to ensure a good fit between new hires and the agency culture, as well as to expedite successful integration of new employees.

Phase V. With the internal processes in place and the glitches worked out, this phase witnessed the launch of servicing processes across key client accounts. The Heggen Group provided oversight and encouragement to facilitate system-wide integration for consistent, high quality delivery of results for True Action’s clients.
Each phase of the overall enterprise merger integration effort involved meticulous observation and analysis to discern patterns, trends, and anomalies that would lend themselves to the development of processes to guide the work, anticipate problems, and keep projects running smoothly.