Globe 100

No. 1 services company

Sapient back on top

Sapient CEO and President Alan Herrick.
Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff/File 2009
Sapient CEO and President Alan Herrick.

With revenues that exceeded $1 billion for the first time in its 21-year history, it’s no surprise that Sapient Corp., based in Boston’s Back Bay, is back again as the top services company in the Globe 100, a spot it has occupied for two of the last three years. The biggest driver was the company’s SapientNitro marketing services business, which grew 33 percent over the previous year and accounted for 67 percent of Sapient’s revenues in 2011.

Sapient’s history as a technology-focused company has clearly served it well in the current marketing climate.

“Just a few years ago, ‘digital’ was a channel,” said Alan J. Herrick, chief executive of Sapient. “Now digital is changing a company’s business model, the way it is engaging with consumers, and its product strategy.”

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Herrick said that SapientNitro is winning accounts because companies are looking for agencies that can “combine technology know-how, brand thinking, digital marketing expertise, and analytics.”

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Notable SapientNitro work in 2011 included the digital marketing and Web design for Activision’s launch of video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” now one of the world’s largest entertainment franchises. Sapient’s Global Markets division, which focuses on tech consulting for investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers, and commercial banks, also had a great year, as clients tapped its expertise to deal with new federal regulations.

By the end of 2011, Sapient’s headcount hit 10,000, spread over more than 35 offices worldwide. Net income in 2011 was $74 million, a 68 percent jump over the previous year. Profit margin was up 37 percent to 7 percent. The company also has some interesting challenges ahead. Just last month, SapientNitro was hired by basketball star LeBron James to relaunch his website and social media strategy.

D.C. Denison can be reached at denison@globe.com.