Top 100 Agencies: Lanmark360

Lanmark360's work for Monmouth Medical Center
Lanmark360's work for Monmouth Medical Center

Lots of firms in the South Jersey area gave generously of both their time and their money in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last year. But the effort that was spearheaded by Lanmark360 president Howard Klein might have been the most personal, if only because its progress could be measured by looking at his face.

Located just a Frisbee-throw away from the shore in West Long Branch, NJ, Lanmark360 suffered a dual blow at the storm's hands. Both its office and the nearby homes of most of its employees were without power for some time after Sandy hit. But even before the lights went back on, Klein and the agency had gone live on the web and via social media with “Shave the Shore,” in which Klein pledged not to shave until the agency had raised $10,000 to help victims of the storm. He was joined in various ways by others at the firm; a proofreader, for example, vowed not to dye her hair until the campaign met its goal.

Three weeks in, “Shave the Shore” was within $500 of the $10,000 mark and the Lanmark360 gang were honing their razors. Then a client, Darby Dental Supply, stepped up with a challenge: If the agency would keep going until it reached $15,000, Darby would donate $5,000 to push the final number to $20,000. And so it was on Day 39 of the campaign that the goal was met and the full sum was donated to the American Red Cross.

Klein couldn't go clean-cheeked for a day or two beyond that—the campaign's conclusion coincided with his barber's day off—but he couldn't be prouder of the way his agency rallied around the cause. “Bringing out the best in us and those around us—that's what we wanted to do with Shave the Shore.”

That kind of spirit and commitment informs just about everything Lanmark360 does. The firm doesn't take half-measures, whether with its clients (the duration of its average client relationship is seven years) or with its coffee (the in-house Café 360 brews 10 different coffees from fresh beans every day, free for employees, clients and UPS guys alike). “Look, we're in advertising. Everybody knows it's not a nine-to-five job,” Klein says. “But who says that you can't attempt to give your staff a good quality of life while everybody's working hard?”

The approach appears to be working for the agency. Lanmark360 closed 2012 just shy of $10 million in gross billings and the firm expects to clear that benchmark when the 2013 results are tallied. New clients Lanmark360 included Oragenics (for work on probiotics), Colgate (for oral pharmaceuticals) and Evident Health Services (for the first of what's envisioned as many diabetes care centers). Lanmark360 also picked up the hospital down the block—Monmouth Medical Center. Klein lauds that new business as “a return to my roots” (his background is in hospital marketing). The agency only lost a single client: the salivary-diagnostics concern OralDNA, which was sold by Quest Diagnostics to Access Genetics.

While the agency's headcount remains just about where it was at this time last year—40 full-timers—Klein says that he sees something of a shift in the Lanmark360 administrative model. “We'd always been an agency that prided itself on using all full-time resources and rarely bringing in freelancers, but times have changed,” he explains. “I'm not sure anyone would be able to survive if they didn't bring in contracted specialists. Given the digital nature of the business, nobody can afford to have all sorts of coders around all the time.”