s2 Marketing + Communications in Chicago Acquires Alexander Marketing Services in Grand Rapids

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s2 Marketing + Communications Inc., a Chicago-based firm serving some of the nation's largest asset management firms and lending institutions, has acquired Alexander Marketing Services Inc. (AMS), the largest business-to-business communications firm in West Michigan.

marketing to the second power.

s2 Marketing + Communications Inc., a Chicago-based firm serving some of the nation's largest asset management firms and lending institutions, has acquired Alexander Marketing Services Inc. (AMS), the largest business-to-business communications firm in West Michigan.

s2's Managing Partners Stephen Schmieder and Patrick Sheehy said they are taking an active role in supporting the vision of AMS, which will continue to operate under its own name from headquarters in Grand Rapids and satellite offices in Chicago and Raleigh, N.C. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"While s2 serves primarily the financial sector and AMS serves largely the industrial/technology sector, both firms employ what we call our 'return on ideas' -- the concept where we harness the power of creative thinking by applying best practices," Schmieder said. "Pat and I are particularly excited with the opportunities to share best practices and functional expertise between the two firms for the benefit of all our clients."

Sheehy said they purchased AMS because the company has an established reputation in serving the needs of business-to-business marketers, as evidenced by AMS' rank as one of the top 50 agencies in America by B2B Magazine in its small agency category for the seventh year in a row.

"In business-to-business marketing, content is king," Sheehy said. "Both s2 and AMS serve companies with complex selling propositions that require a lot of in-depth understanding of the client, the client's business or industry, and the marketplace in general. Our vision is to capture 'mindshare before marketshare,' meaning that we look for ways to communicate informed messages that capture the minds as well as hearts of our target markets. Needless to say, we are very excited with the possibilities that our combined companies can accomplish."

s2 will continue to concentrate on developing and implementing communications programs for financial sector companies such as JPMorgan Chase, Lazard Asset Management, and Janus Capital Group, while AMS will continue to serve clients in the manufacturing, technology and business service sectors such as Pentair Water Pool and Spa Inc., Dow Chemical Co., CSA International and Juno Lighting.

Established in 1965, AMS employs 25 full-time people at 277 Crahen Avenue in Grand Rapids and satellite offices in Chicago and Raleigh. The firm was founded by mechanical engineer Jim Alexander after he unsuccessfully tried to find a marketing and communications company that was willing and able to write effectively about his technical products or understand his channels to market. "We have kept true to Jim's focus on tackling the 'hard stuff' that many advertising and public relations agencies avoid," said former AMS President Bob Milroy, who is being retained by s2 for strategic planning and new client development. "In that regard and others, we have some real synergy with s2."

s2 was established in 2003 by Schmieder to provide business-to-business services for the financial sector including integrated marketing campaigns, direct marketing, web development, and brand building. The firm employs 20 individuals at its offices in downtown Chicago at 656 West Randolph, and a satellite office in Denver, Colo. Roots of s2 reach back to Meindl & Associates Inc., a Glen Ellyn, Ill. firm founded in 1976 that specialized in advertising and marketing. Schmieder joined Meindl & Associates in 1982 and bought the firm after becoming its president. Schmieder renamed the firm as s2 to reflect "marketing to the second power."

s2 received a "Best of the Best" award by the American Bankers Association at its 32nd annual meeting for the firm's multi-faceted campaign for Northern Funds called "The Three R's of Investing. " The ABA marketing panelists singled out the campaign from a crowded field of entries in the sales promotion category.

"We essentially ask our clients where they want to move the decimal point," Schmieder said. "If the client wants to grow top line sales, we will develop and implement programs to move the decimal to the right. If the client wants to cut the costs of sales, we will come up with effective strategies to move the decimal to the left."

For more information on s2 marketing, AMS and the new relationship, contact Matthew Gryczan through email at mgryczan@alexandermarketing.com and phone at (616) 957-2000. The firms also maintain websites at http://www.s2b2b.com and http://www.alexandermarketing.com.

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