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CEO Series: Interview with David Sackman and Jeffrey Reynolds of LRW Group

An interview with Chairman and CEO David Sackman and the President and COO Jeffrey Reynolds, of LRW Group on their acquisition spree, the leading strategy, and how the company is reshaping the insights industry as a result.

Few companies have transformed themselves as much as LRW. For over 40 years, the company formerly known as Lieberman Research Worldwide has helped businesses in over 80 countries use analytics and research to understand their customers. Using a model focused on developing talent in an entrepreneurial environment, they have always had more strategy consultant DNA than traditional market research supplier.

In 1973, entrepreneur Arnie Fishman headed to L.A. to establish Lieberman Research West based on the methods, science and trailblazing spirit of his mentor, market research pioneer Dr. Sy Lieberman. In the early 90s, Arnie passed the torch to a dynamic young marketer named Dave Sackman with a vision for growing the business by building deep relationships with clients based on smart consultation and a razor-sharp focus on providing measurable business impact. Under Dave’s leadership, LRW invented new research designs, developed sophisticated analytical frameworks, and pioneered new business models and global scope.

By the mid-2000s the company had grown to be a stand-out player in the market research space, with a set of unique capabilities and organizational culture that was primed for not just to weather the transformation that was beginning to impact the industry, but to help shape it. Around that time I had the privilege to spend a few days with Dave and his team exploring what the future of insights would like and what that might mean for the company, and I left them believing that the glory days of the company were still to come. I was more right than I ever knew.

Since then, LRW has applied their drive, focus, and passion to achieve the vision of being the archetype for a “full cycle” analytics-powered marketing services company. When they became a portfolio company of Tailwind Capital, they combined the new financial resources that came with that partnership and a prescient vision of what the future held to power an accelerated transformation of the company via series acquisitions and a fundamental restructuring of the company to be able to empower clients across the “engage, understand and activate” marketing lifecycle.  It’s been phenomenal to behold.

As part of that story, they most recently acquired  T3, a digital marketing agency that builds the world’s most useful brands and the experiences that power them. The acquisition of T3 caps a monumental year of growth for LRW Group. T3 is the group’s fifth acquisition of 2019 and its 10th acquisition all-time. Just last month, it added branding agency Salt, as well as communications firm Karma Agency, Earlier this year, LRW Group added strategic consultancy LRWGreenberg (formerly Greenberg Strategies) and award-winning visual communication agency Killer Visual Strategies (previously known as Killer Infographics).

“T3 is the latest example of our commitment to developing a comprehensive marketing services company that builds and expands the world’s most iconic brands,” said LRW Group Chairman and CEO Dave Sackman. “One day we’ll look back at 2019 as the year that truly launched LRW Group into the next stratosphere of capabilities that translate sophisticated analytics and insights into unparalleled brand impact.”

On the heels of that deal, I had the pleasure to sit down again with Dave and Jeff Reynolds, President and COO of the company, for an interview. We discussed the LRW story to date, but most importantly we focused on the future: after so much massive growth and transformation, what comes next? This glimpse into how a 40-year-old company has harnessed the best of their legacy and combined it with an imperative to innovate all aspects of the business is both instructive and inspirational to others in our space.

Dave and Jeff are good friends and smart guys; both qualities shine forth in this interview. I think you’ll enjoy it, and I think you’ll learn a lot too.

Here it is.

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