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When Alan Sussman started in the advertising business in 1964, television commercials were the best vehicles for moving retail goods. Today, with the proliferation of online ads, Sussman says TV ads remain as effective as they were 50 years ago.

“If you’re a retailer and you’re not on television with a sale, you can’t grow,” says Sussman, president of The Sussman Agency in Southfield, which last year had billings of $75 million. He says the agency,founded in 1987, is on pace to record more than $100 million in billings next year.

“People say television advertising isn’t as effective as it once was and, yes, there is more online advertising, but if it was so bad, why are the Internet companies selling their services on TV? We have smart TVs now, and we’re moving to Internet TV, but we will always have commercials.”

A boutique agency with 38 employees, Sussman will soon open an office in Chicago to meet the agency’s planned growth trajectory. The office, which will have four to
five employees to start, came about when Sussman’s largest client, Art Van Furniture, recently began opening stores in the greater Chicago market.

“I’m locked out of a lot of business in Detroit because I can’t handle competitive accounts in the sectors that we serve,” Sussman says. “In addition to Art Van, we handle Geoffrey Fieger, Hansons Windows, and Weight Watchers. We’ll look to add other business in Chicago, and it’s relatively close, so it works for us from a logistics standpoint. At the end of the day, you have to grow with your clients or you’ll be left behind.” db