Silver Apple: Honoree Spotlight

Now Announcing our 2018 Silver Apple Honoree

Winterberry Group

By Ginger Conlon

Every January the ballroom at the Yale Club in New York fills to capacity with DMCNY members and guests. The reason? Winterberry Group Senior Managing Partner Bruce Biegel delivers the consultancy’s annual marketing spending outlook. It’s the most highly anticipated event of the year. Marketers get a review of the previous year’s spending and a preview into Winterberry Group’s predictions for the following year—along with an in-depth look at the trends influencing the market.

The comprehensive report is just one example of the work that Winterberry Group does to support the marketing industry. The boutique consultancy, which is affiliated with investment banking firm Petsky Prunier, also partners with the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on in-depth reports covering marketing and advertising trends and technologies. Winterberry Group’s staff contributes individually, as well, volunteering their time and expertise as they serve on industry boards and committees, participate as awards judges, and deliver keynotes or speak on panels.

In a conversation with MKTGinsight for DMCNY, Bruce shared some insight into what makes Winterberry Group unique and why serving the industry is so important.

What makes Winterberry Group stand out?

We have a unique perspective on the market that comes from working for a mix of media companies, information and data providers, and brands, as well as doing research and strategy work. That’s a slightly different combination than most strategic consultancies have.

And, of course, our people. We have a blend of experts who have come up through consulting and practitioners who have worked across multiple major accounts, which gives us a strong experience base for a relatively small company.

In what ways do you support the marketing industry?

We sit on boards and councils, judge awards, conduct research, and the like.

I’ve served on the DMA board and a variety of councils, participated on ICOM’s jury and as a CODiE Awards judge, and speak at DMCNY’s Annual Marketing Outlook event. [Director] Sam Braverman is on the DMCNY’s board. [Managing Director] Jonathan Margulies works with IAB’s Data Council.

We release volumes of market research to help inform and educate the market. We partner on research with DMA and IAB. We look at trends as they’re emerging and help to simplify and explain them for the market. Explaining what has become increasingly complex is a real service to the market; for example, we’ve written a report on identity resolution and we’re doing one on customer data platforms.

One of Winterberry’s most anticipated research reports is your yearly outlook on marketing spending. What was the impetus for creating it?

Marketers wanted a perspective on what was going to happen across spend and trend. Initially, it covered the direct marketing sector and the research we were doing around direct mail. As digital channels emerged, we started to capture those and put those into perspective. When we started doing this 12 years ago, there were a lot of companies still rooted in direct that knew they needed to transform. This helped people align their thinking from the beginning of the year forward.

What’s a stat that you get the most feedback on?

Our data numbers on the size and shape of the data market, because data-driven marketing has become so critical. We’re modeling and serving the data industry and trying to break it out into its components. There aren’t really other numbers on the data industry serving marketers; whereas, in digital and above-the-line traditional media there are lots of numbers.

What’s a favorite customer story?

One is when we do our strategy work and the client executes on the strategic roadmap we build, and then [a few years later] tells us they’ve sold their firm for many millions more than they expected because of the work we’ve done with them.

Another favorite is when large enterprise clients who were wary of working with a small firm tell us that we’ve exceeded their expectations—because our goal is to constantly and consistently exceed expectations.

What’s one thing that’s surprising about Winterberry Group?

As hard as we work, we have a significant amount of fun, especially with our annual wine tasting trips, which are our company offsites. We’ve done Oregon, Spain, and Argentina in the past three years. Everybody eats and drinks together and we laugh a lot—it’s a lot of bonding and team building.  We all travel a great deal, so it’s only a handful of times throughout the year that we’re all together, and this gives us a concentrated three or four days to get to know each other.

The most important thing is, as we continue to work across the market, we’ve been steadily growing for the past seven years and we’re still a small team, so it means a lot of extra work. I’m very proud of the people who work at Winterberry. As a result of their efforts, this will be our best year ever.

 Join us as we honor Winterberry Group and all the 2018 Silver Apples Honorees on Thursday, November 8. Register here.

Recognize Winterberry Group, 2018 Silver Apple Honoree Corporate, with our new featured program page “Salute the Honorees!” Your congratulatory quote will be added to the event program for Winterberry Group to have as a keepsake from the evening. Your quote will be featured in up to 50 words followed by your name and company.