D4 Creative Group Experiencing Rapid Growth

on October 19, 1999

Suzanne Hatfield’s head must be spinning. She has moved her rapidly expanding advertising agency into much larger quarters, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in advanced computers and other ultra high tech equipment, and doubled the size of her staff in the past three months. In 1994, she moved her business to the upscale Manayunk section of Philadelphia from the top floor of her “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” row house on Tasker Street in South Philadelphia., where she founded the business in 1990.

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Her company, D4 Creative Group, was named one of Philadelphia’s fastest growing companies in 1998. This year, business from existing cable, financial services, and internet clients has expanded dramatically, and D4 has received major assignments nationally from a number of new accounts, including: Excite@Home, Comcast Online Services, ConvaTec, a Bristol Myers, Squibb company, and, on a regional basis, Time Warner Cable in Northwest Ohio.

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“Our clients are truly technology leaders,” said Hatfield, who is CEO of D4, and we have to keep a step or two ahead of them. We are involved in web site design, broadband, advertising on the Internet, the production and placement of television commercials and long-format videos, business card CDs, magazine and newspaper advertising, direct mail, outdoor, transit, point of sale, you name it. To meet the needs of our customers, we have invested heavily in equipment and highly skilled computer and Internet technicians, designers, writers, producers, media planners, and marketing people.

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“We have an on-site, broadcast-quality digital audio recording suite and two of the most talented writer/producers in the region on our team, Kurt Shore, president of D4 and founder of the nationally known Kajem Studios, now owned by Boyz II Men, and Chris Zurzolo, producer and co-writer of the latest album by national recording artist Lauren Hart. We are one of the few agencies in the country to provide on-site scoring and sound,” Hatfield said. “We can write and produce original music specifically for a given commercial or a web site which will stack up to anything in the business, at very competitive prices. From the time of client script approval, we can be on the air with a radio commercial in a matter of hours by transmitting the commercial to the client for final approval and to the station via our web site or digitally,” she said.

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Hatfield, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, has an engineering degree from the University of Colorado. She feels that her engineering training has had a major influence on her approach to advertising. “Engineering is basically applied creativity and problem solving, and so is advertising,” she said. “Attention to detail is crucially important in both fields…mistakes in the little things can do you in quickly,” she said.

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Regarding changing systems of compensation in the agency business, Hatfield said that D4 tailors compensation plans to the needs of individual clients. “We are open to plans based on performance, on a project-by-project basis, traditional commissions, or a combination. Rarely would a retainer arrangement be beneficial to the client. It can lead to complacency, where both the agency and the client take each other for granted.” She continued.

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“The best way to keep clients is not by negotiating a great contract, but by producing great advertising,” she said.

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D4, which was founded in 1990, is located at 161 Leverington St., suite 1001, Philadelphia, PA 19127. The telephone number is 215-482-4555, and the web address is www.d4creative.com.

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