Alexander Marketing Purchased

May 27, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — A Chicago firm, owned by a former Grand Rapids resident looking to build a portfolio of business-to-business specialists, has purchased Alexander Marketing Services. Terms of the deal were not revealed.

The 25-employee AMS, with a focus on representing industrial and technology clients, fits President Steve Schmieder’s plans for s2 Marketing + Communications, which he purchased in 2003. A Michigan State University alumnus, Schmieder is a 1975 graduate of Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School.

“It really fit strategically with our business strategy, which is to build upon highly specialized agencies focused on specific vertical niches,” Schmieder said. “We bring a strong knowledge base to these clients. We have marketing experts just in that field to draw upon. We know the market, we know the nuances of the industry, we know the regulations of the industry.”

S2, which has 20 employees, specializes in the financial industry. Schmieder and Patrick Sheehy serve as managing partners at s2.

“It’s the age of specialization,” Schmieder added. “It’s a void in the marketplace. A lot of agencies tend to be generalized, to have automotive companies to beverage and food to health care. There are not many agencies that remain focused in a pure industry sense.”

He said no one would be laid off, and he hopes to add staff as the merged company grows. AMS will continue to operate under its own name with headquarters at 277 Crahen Ave. NE. Its offices in Chicago and Raleigh, N.C. will remain open. S2 has an office in Denver.

Former AMS President Bob Milroy is now working on strategic planning and new client development for s2.

AMS was founded in 1965 by the late Jim Alexander, a mechanical engineer who was frustrated by his attempts to find a marketing firm that understood his technical products.

“We have kept true to Jim’s focus on tackling the ‘hard stuff’ that many advertising and public relations agencies avoid,” Milroy said. “In that regard and others, we have some real synergy with s2.”

AMS clients are in 11 states and Canada, and include Pantair Water Pool and Spa Inc., Dow Chemical Co., the Canadian Standards Association and Juno Lighting. S2 clients include JPMorgan Chase, Lazard Asset Management and Janus Capital Group.

AMS was named among the top 50 small agencies in the U.S. by B2B Magazine for seven years.

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