For the founder of renowned fashion industry media monitoring planning and related services firm, DMR, Enzo di Sarli knew the day would come when he would part ways while letting the company continue to evolve and grow.
After 25 years since DMR’s inception, Di Sarli agreed to be acquired by competing firm Launchmetrics in March of last year. Michael Jais, CEO of the company, described the deal as “a significant moment for Launchmetrics.”
Here, Di Sarli describes the impetus behind the acquisition, shares insight into DMR’s trailblazing work in the industry, and how the company was like his family.
Fairchild Studio: When was
DMR founded, and why? What was
the need in the market?
Enzo di Sarli: DMR was founded more than 25 years ago. I had already founded and managed companies (in Italy as well as in the U.S.) delivering make up and photo shooting services to fashion brands. I decided to invest in the media monitoring as there was no “best practice” to evaluate and assess the editorial return linked to the advertising investments. Please consider that we are talking only about print titles as there were no web nor social communication.
Every PR or communications manager was doing the evaluation with their own single approach. I did brainstorm together with experts in IT, in metrics and methodology. I did explain them the logic, the reason why of luxury communication. And from that, DMR platform was created, and the journey began.
Fairchild Studio: Who were some of your first clients? What were those first years like?
E.S.: We were pioneers. Our first clients were all based in Italy as the “calculation” of editorial return was mainly considered and perceived by Italian market players. It was somehow natural to expand abroad once this logic (the editorial return) was required by the U.S. and European teams of the different brands.
Most of the team with me at that time is still in DMR. That’s a key fact for the development of the company. The know-how gained by the staff is huge and delivers a tremendous added value to clients as they relate with expert that are fully familiar with the KPIs of luxury communication. At that time the staff was very young, now they are adults, and they did start families, being young (me as well) we had an enthusiasm that helped to surf all the tough initial period.
Fairchild Studio: What were
some of the milestones as the company grew?
E.S.: As a general remark I would say that we have always been on the leading edge of the market. Adapting our offer and our approach to the evolution of client’s needs. In 2014, we started to monitor Web Publishing, in 2016 Social Media, in 2018 Far East Social Media, in 2019, adopting automatic reporting tools like Tableau ™.
Some milestones are about the geographical coverage: In 2009, opening in New York, in 2014 in Paris, in 2015 in Hong Kong and Munich, last but not least in 2021 (during the peak pandemic period), in London.
The mix of investing in the product/services together with the geo coverage made DMR able to meet all client’s needs: a common methodology but close to the regional or local teams.
Fairchild Studio: How would you describe the culture of DMR and its employees? Are they family?
E.S.: As said before DMR was, and if I may, will be forever my family. I am proud to have seen the team evolving from young graduates to adults with family, becoming more and more professional, able to fully attend client’s needs and in most cases going beyond client’s expectations too.
I did consider DMR as a service company. My motto was: “we are an assistant” — meaning that we do assist our clients to better understand the communication performances of the brands as well as the competitive landscape and evolution.
Fairchild Studio: Can you tell us about the relationship DMR had with clients and how you approach developing it?
E.S.: The relation was based on the quality of our data and of our analysis. Thanks to the “pickiness” of DMR staff, a solid trust was built with clients. I think they did realize how deeply and trustworthy they could rely on the quality of our work; how crucial was to have an “assistant” ready to help them tagging and solving issues. An important mark of DMR was to consider and respect all clients regardless their size. Data and analysis delivered to top brands and new-born brands were done with the same logic and the same criteria. The difference was in the amount of data considered but the “quality” of the single data was absolutely the same.
Fairchild Studio: How would you describe your leadership style?
E.S.: Tough question. I could say that I have always tried to lead by the example, showing my staff the passion, I put in our activity. My goal was to show them that there is always an extra-mile that can be given and that we need to be eager to go for more, to improve, to deliver more and better. I did encourage my staff to be independent and professional and more important to face challenges with no fear. I was no worried by mistakes. Mistakes are part of the game. I did protect my staff when doing, as we did, mistakes, because I was sure that they were focused and concentrated, and I think that also the clients did perceive this.
Fairchild Studio: What was the impetus behind the acquisition? Were there challenges?
E.S.: In 2022 I have been turning 60. To a certain extent it’s a milestone and I think I did everything I could to lead and develop DMR. It was the right time to have DMR fly side by side with a bigger entity so to face and win new challenges.
I am sure that with Launchmetrics, thanks to Michael Jais LM CEO, Jennifer Akerman Smith LM COO and the quality of its managers, investors and staff, will be able to provide the nurturing DMR needs to proceed along the path we started more than 25 years ago.
As I said DMR is my family, is my son and it comes a moment when you realize that your son has to go ahead independently so to boost his potential. Like a too much present parent I feared to limit and block this potential. That’s why I decided to step aside because the future development of DMR is my legacy. And when, not if, it will happen, it will be the greatest success of my life.
Fairchild Studio: Is there anything you want to say to clients (including former ones), industry peers, and others?
E.S.: There is a huge list of people I would like to thank. With most I had a relation that will continue beyond DMR. I am proud that thanks to the work done, many of them considers me as a friend and I am deeply honored. In this list there are brands, publishers, suppliers even competitors. It’s definitely a long list and one of my bigger successes.