Mounds of data
One of the two specialist groups, led by Eric Wittlake, VP-U.S. director of data and analytics, will work to "tease out the meaning and method" in mounds of numbers, said Louis Jones, regional director, North America, who oversees MediaContacts' products in direct, digital and data and ensures its offering is consistent around the globe.
Begun this spring, the data group now has five people in the U.S. and is growing. Data groups already exist at MediaContacts' offices in France, the U.K. and Spain. More are expected to be added as demand dictates.
Rob Griffin, senior VP-group director of search, is in charge of a 12-member second group that will focus on "all things search," Mr. Jones said.
Having this expertise in-house, Mr. Jones believes, is a competitive advantage. Many media agencies either outsource data analysis and search to third-party vendors, or access the expertise by buying a company (WPP Group, for instance, acquired search-marketing firm Outrider through its 2001 purchase of Tempus Group).
Housing the teams within one company promotes conversation and collaboration, Mr. Jones said. For one advertiser, the data group's analysis showed that a customer who initiates a purchase through a search-engine link is four times more likely to complete the transaction than a customer who starts a purchase through a display ad. The conclusion: Customers who use search engine links are "directed," Mr. Jones said. "The data analysis allows us to better allocate client's media dollars and optimize return on investment."
Both the data group and the search team in the U.S. report to Ed Montes, MediaContacts exec VP-managing director, U.S. operations.