$3 Billion In Billings Kind Of Says It All

Jordan Zimmerman’s escalation as an ad man is becoming the stuff of legend in South Florida.

According to the Sun Sentinel, who designated Zimmerman its 2010 winner of the Excalibur Award, the intensely driven CEO of Zimmerman Advertising gets up most mornings before 3 a.m., rides his bike 25 miles, hits the gym and then puts in 11-hour work days, taking time out for dinner with his family. Because he loves his work.

Zimmerman attributes his drive partly to growing up in a lower middle-class area near Newark, N.J., where “everyone didn’t like what they did and argued about money.” He vowed at a young age to escape — through work, education and sports.

At age 21, Zimmerman decided “to build the first business-solutions firm that just happens to do advertising.” He’s honed his concept into “Brandtailing,” which combines building brand awareness long-term but measuring success day-to-day by increasing sales and profits.

Zimmerman’s clients say he becomes a true partner with them, learning their business intimately, checking their sales numbers and talking with top executives at key accounts every day to best execute their strategy.

“He’s innovative, relentless and a great communicator. He really lives his mantra of 24/7,” said Mike Maroone, chief operating officer of AutoNation, the Fort Lauderdale company that is the nation’s largest auto retailer.

So what is this special Brandtailing sauce all about? The agency’s website says, “We drive brand intention. We drive next day sales. Our success lies in finding the formula to do both with no compromise to either.”

I like the sentiment but I don’t believe in marcom formulas. I believe every client needs a unique solution. Regardless, it’s clear that Zimmerman’s passion for ROI goes over well in the C-suites he visits — his agency is on pace to bill $3 billion this year.

Many brand-focused ad people, myself included, could learn to adopt some of Zimmerman’s thinking, but it’s a fine balancing act. At the end of the day, clients comes to us to move the needle, but the needle is moved through exceptional creative that touches a nerve. So we can talk about ROI all day long, but without an equal emphasis on the work to drive ROI, it’s a pointless discussion.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.