Marks & Spencer is aiming to boost its online traffic – and boost its turnaround – by appointing digital agency NMPi to handle its paid search account, following a competitive pitch against incumbent iCrossing.
The retailer has recently taken its global SEO business in-house – also handled by iCrossing – but has briefed NMPi to devise a new approach to paid search across M&S Clothing & Home and Food.
The appointment is part of a strategy to target new customers through a range of digital channels and help to achieve M&S’ stated aim of moving to one third of Clothing & Home sales online.
The task is far from simple, however. The Clothing & Home division has been struggling for nearly two years, with boss Jill McDonald the latest to pay the price for a new downturn after being booted out last week. In March, the retailer reported a 3.6% year-on-year fall in Clothing & Home sales, while food also stalled, dropping 0.6% over the same period.
NMPi, which was launched in the UK in 2004 as Net Media Planet, appears to be one of the numerous digital agencies which has remained under the radar of the marketing press.
Yet with over 200 staff and offices in the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the US, the agency is one of the industry’s major success stories, with clients including Microsoft, Superdrug, Harvey Nichols, Hero Gaming and Freeview.
M&S head of performance marketing Maria O’Flynn said: “The scale of the opportunity in search and shopping means that we need an agile, tech-enabled partner to make sure we do this efficiently.”
NMPi chief executive Luke Judge said: “The digital experience has become a huge focus for many high street retailers as they seek to compete against online-only brands. We are excited to be working with M&S to help them advance their paid search strategy and take advantage of new avenues for growth.”
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