The Top 75: Torre Lazur McCann

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It's been a good year for Torre Lazur McCann with a bunch of new business wins and a great piece of business from Boehringer Ingelheim. “We're thrilled about that,” says CEO Marci Piasecki.

They also won a new piece of business with GlaxoSmithKline, a co-promotion with Adolor for Entereg. “What's great about the co-promotes is that they often introduce us to new companies, like in this case with Adolor,” says Piasecki.

TLM's managed markets division is also growing under new leadership and its interactive division, Torre Lazur Active Ingredient, has experienced growth.

“Since this time last year we've tripled the number of projects we're doing in that division, a lot of our clients are moving—there's this convergence of print and interactive,” says Piasecki. “And we are just seeing the business in many cases transferring from print to online, so to have the capability isn't even a nice thing, it's a necessary thing.”

On the staffing front, Piasecki says that she has been engaged in succession planning, trying to make sure that the agency has development plans in place for everybody, especially our mid-to senior level folks. That came in handy recently with the departure of Bill McEllen, who was EVP and managing director at TLM—he moved on to accept a position in the network as the president of Echo Torre Lazur.

Many of McEllen's duties were assumed by Tatiana Lyons who held the position of SVP account director and was promoted to director of client services.

Another key personnel appointment was Marcia Goddard, EVP, creative director overseeing all creative services at the agency, managing a staff of more than 50 employees from copy, art, design and studio. 

Piasecki also hired a new EVP/managing director to oversee the TLM managed markets group and new EVP/managing director for the interactive division.

Piasecki said that the agency had almost zero turnover in the past year, and has hired 15 people since last year at this time. “We've done a great combination of promoting from within because of succession planning and then hiring from the outside when necessary.”

These days, Piasecki commented, a lot of TLM's clients are in a tough spot because they are asking the agency to do a lot more for a lot less. One of the challenges, she says, is trying to allocate and re-allocate resources to meet their needs. “For example, when the money comes and the budget is there, we want to have the staff there to match that. But it is not uncommon these days that you've got that for six months and then you hit a cliff and drop off.” Piasecki added that the clients know they'll get another budget later and they'd love to have those same people working on their business.

Piasecki noted that TLM has been very fortunate because based on the size of their network, they have a lot of scalability. “What's been great is to keep the staff and keep our resources lean enough so that when you have this sort of roller coaster, peaks and valleys, we can scale accordingly,” she explains.

Looking ahead, trying to help clients hold the line, remains a formidable challenge; however, as long as we continue to lead with complete transparency, open and honest communication, and keeping it all out on the table, we will continue to be a valued partner, according to Piasecki.

“Because if there was ever a time where we have to be completely transparent and manage expectations, now is the time, and then everyone is prepared.”
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