"I'm of Indian origin, I was born in Kenya, I went to school in England, I lived in Canada, and now I'm living in New York," says Ogilvy & Mather's Ms. Madhany with a laugh. "I'm fully qualified to work on a global account like IBM."
Ms. Madhany, senior partner-media director, IBM worldwide, heads the department that handles IBM Corp.'s media strategy in 45 countries. She is responsible for implementing IBM's "e-business solutions" campaign around the globe.
Ms. Madhany, 44, moved to New York over two years ago to work on the IBM account, after spending the previous 22 years working in the media department at Ogilvy's Toronto office.
Today, she supervises about 200 people as they plan the best ways to spend IBM's hundreds of millions of ad dollars across a range of media, including television, radio, print, outdoor and the Internet.
"I need to strategize globally and implement locally," says Ms. Madhany, who points out, of course, that her media planners and buyers are empowered to make decisions in their areas of expertise and their areas of the world.
Ms. Madhany sees her job as ensuring that IBM maintains its leadership role. She says the philosophy behind IBM's massive spending is to reach a leadership position in each medium.
In television, for instance, she says IBM is taking a leadership position by supporting family-friendly programming. On the Internet, Big Blue is advertising only on Web sites with clearly stated privacy policies.
IBM is also a leading spender in Internet advertising and has been a trailblazer in the use of rich media. "We've learned a lot," Ms. Madhany says. "We've gone from static banners to rich media, and we've found that the richer the execution, the better the return."
In print, Ms. Madhany says IBM displays its leadership by running its e-culture ad campaign in magazines traditionally devoid of business-to-business advertising, such as Entertainment Weekly and People, in order to reach what she calls "the next generation of decisionmakers." She adds, "Our strategy is to be where our competition isn't."
Ms. Madhany acknowledges that IBM's massive budget goes a long way to making the company a good client, but says Big Blue offers a media strategist much more than that.
"None of this would be possible without an absolutely incredible client like IBM," Ms. Madhany says. "They're willing to take calculated risks and they allow