"I decided that I didn't have enough to fill my spare time," she said. "I'm a bit of a glutton for - Laurie Freemanpunishment." It's not that overseeing IBM Corp.'s account wasn't a challenge, but Madhany, an irrepressible globalist, felt ready to move on. "I wanted to take what I was doing with IBM and expand upon that globally," she said.
Now, as worldwide media director, Madhany is in charge of a team of more than 400 professionals in 45 countries. She is responsible for integrated digital and direct response media, including Internet, wireless, broadband, direct response TV, direct response print, direct mail and alternative media. She oversees all alliances and partnerships, as well as media-tracking software applications, third-party ad-serving providers and media research providers.
In her role as the senior media executive on the IBM account (a position she has held for nearly three years), she oversees that business, which is now serviced out of MindShare, WPP Group's worldwide media organization that represents the combined media departments of Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson.
"It's not that I wanted to take on more accounts per se, but I wanted to work on more state-of-the-art, best-of-class global accounts," she said. "There are two areas I am keenly interested in-digitalization and globalization-and in this new position, I can do both."
What all this means in the short term is Madhany logs many hours on airplanes, immersing herself in individual markets. "You can't do a global job by sitting in an office in New York," she said. "You need to travel to the markets to know what is happening in a specific region. Even if you do the U.S. advertising right, that's only 50% of an account. The other half is the rest of the world."
What makes Madhany attractive to OgilvyOne clients is her experience with IBM, whose overall $1 billion account is handled by Ogilvy & Mather. "When I talk to Unilever, Kraft and other clients, my IBM experience is something they're keenly interested in, so that they too can learn how to market their products digitally," she said. "Integrating media across the new outlets now available and use each medium to its maximum potential, that's what I strive to do."
In the last 12 months, Madhany moved IBM into position to monitor and measure its advertising return on investment in weekly increments, rather than measuring effectiveness at the end of each campaign. "We put into place measurement standards that we could use to change the campaign as it went along," she said. "We're holding offline media to the same standards as new media, and not waiting until the end of a campaign to make changes."
In Madhany's view, the ability to make those changes as campaigns are under way is what's really exciting about working with media today.
"These changes in the landscape allow media people to drive the entire communication between marketer and customer," she said. "I've always felt that media leads the process, more so today than ever before.
"Certainly I've taken on a pretty big challenge," Madhany said, "but Ogilvy recognized that I was ready for a new challenge. And for me, it couldn't have happened at a moreexciting time."