DETROIT, April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — As E-Commerce continues to emerge as the next dominant retail channel for CPG companies, The Mars Agency is adding senior members to its best-in-class E-Commerce team to provide clients with the expertise and resources to succeed in digital marketplaces. Megan Harbold joins as VP, E-Commerce and Erik Kraft joins as Senior Manager, Paid Search.

As a widely acknowledged leader in shopper marketing, The Mars Agency is building a base of experts and capabilities to help clients capitalize on next-generation shopper marketing, powered by E-Commerce. The agency’s E-Commerce practice provides end-to-end services for clients that span readiness (education and training), strategic planning, media & merchandising activation, analytics and business management, and offers support for both key pure-play retailers like Amazon and multi-channel accounts like Walmart. The agency has doubled the size of its E-Commerce team this year and plans further growth by early summer.

“Our E-Commerce practice is a dynamic and growing part of our business and we plan to continue to invest aggressively in the E-Commerce space to meet the needs of our clients,” says Rob Rivenburgh, CEO, North America of The Mars Agency. “Amazon and other E-tailers are increasingly an important channel for CPG companies and we see E-Commerce as a natural evolution of the retailer field-based shopper marketing infrastructure we’ve had in place for more than 15 years. Just as we saw the superstore concept emerge back in the 1980s, we are similarly well positioned to help clients win in E-Commerce, the channel of the future.”

Mars has cultivated a deep expertise across the Amazon ecosystem, forging close relationships with key stakeholders, developing specialized capabilities in areas like AMS/paid search management, earning designation as an Amazon Trusted Creative Partner and collaborating with the Alexa team on thought leadership initiatives in the voice realm. Several team members are based in Seattle for easy accessibility to the retail giant. And the agency is building similar proficiency with other retailers, such as Instacart and Walmart.com.

Mars began offering E-Commerce support to clients three years ago in response to a perceived gap in full-service agency resources in this area. The agency’s early progress was led by Ethan Goodman, SVP, Shopper Media and Innovation, who worked closely on Procter & Gamble’s key E-Commerce initiatives while at Leo Burnett, and Melissa Wightman, director, E-Commerce, a 20-year Mars veteran with deep CPG expertise.

Its E-Commerce capabilities were enriched with the addition of Melissa Burdick as VP, E-Commerce in 2015. Melissa spent 10 years at Amazon helping to launch the consumables business and many of the Amazon media products CPG brands use today.

“Melissa and Melissa have been instrumental in building our capabilities, client relationships and industry profile,” says Goodman, who oversees the agency’s E-Commerce practice. “Adding Megan gives us an enviable pairing of brand and retailer expertise with Amazon, while Erik will lead our growth in the AMS/paid search arena. These additions reinforce our purpose to be the preeminent, end-to-end E-Commerce solution for our clients.”

Burdick will continue to be the strategic lead for key client accounts, manage new business development and take ownership of the paid search and analytics capabilities. She is speaking at IRCE in June and regularly appears in business and trade media, most recently Bloomberg, Retail Geek and Shopper Marketing. Kraft is tasked with helping Burdick expand The Mars Agency’s paid search and analytics capabilities. He was formerly a paid search marketing manager at CommerceHub.

Harbold brings significant brand experience from The Hershey Company, where she owned and operated the entirety of the Amazon business for Hershey, a best-in-class Amazon vendor. She will split strategic leadership of key client accounts and new business development with Burdick, and will help build out the agency’s Content and Brokerage/Business Management capabilities.

About The Mars Agency
The Mars Agency is a full-service, global shopper and consumer marketing leader, operating in 11 offices in North America and Europe. For nearly 45 years, the agency has been consistently recognized as a thought leader in the shopper space, attracting an impressive client base that includes Walmart, Hallmark, T-Mobile, Campbell’s, Pepperidge Farm, Lowe’s, Samsung, Pfizer, and Live Nation.

To learn more about The Mars Agency, please visit http://www.themarsagency.com/.