As Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' director of media services, Ms. Argyilan heads a 50-person department that manages up to $1 billion spent by clients such as Hewlett-Packard Co., E*Trade Group, The Wall Street Journal and Discover Financial Services. She also handles the agency's relationship with its media buying partners Creative Media and Zenith Media Services, both New York; Initiative Media, Los Angeles; and Starcom MediaVest Group, Chicago.
"She is a clear, simple thinker," says Jeff Goodby, agency co-chairman. She also "is an edgy person in an interesting way."
For example, Ms. Argyilan was the mover behind the agency's campaign for the Journal. Instead of spreading the newspaper's under-$10 million budget thin over a number of media, Ms. Argyilan encouraged the client to focus on one medium: outdoor.
"When you dial down TV prime time, advertising becomes invisible," she says. Instead, the Journal made a bigger splash in what Ms. Argyilan calls "energy centers," places like Manhattan "where business happens."
As a result, the Journal has had some success. In the six months ended March 31, the Journal's circulation rose to 1.8 million, up 20,000 from the same period a year earlier, while newspaper circulation overall has been in decline.
"The move to outdoor was a fairly unconventional move for us," says Mitchell Engelmeyer, the paper's director-creative services, marketing communications, "but we had a high-level of confidence" because of Ms. Argyilan. It was "a very specific recommendation that impressed us. [Not only that] the creative chosen was in perfect sync with the outdoor campaign."
Mr. Engelmeyer adds the campaign has shown significant growth and awareness during the year it has run and now will be augmented by a national print and TV campaign.
Ms. Argyilan says that while new computerized programs profess to provide easy solutions to targeting the desired audiences, a human mind is needed for truly effective media buying and planning. "They are guides that don't tell you what actually is going to work in the real world," she says.
One of Goodby's associate partners, Ms. Argyilan has spearheaded significant changes at the shop. Most recently, she orchestrated a shift in the way Goodby handles interactive advertising. Before, Goodby had a separate interactive section that worked on online advertising. Now, online advertising has been integrated into the agency's creative department.
Also as part of the shop's reorganization, Ms. Argyilan took on an academic title of sorts and was named dean of the GS&P University, a training program for the entire agency dedicated to keeping the agency's employees thinking creatively.
Agency staffers take regular classes from outside presenters on topics ranging from business plans and public speaking as well as in-house classes such as Creative Director Rich Silverstein's course on design.
Ms. Argyilan, 41, began her career in 1980 as a media planner at Campbell Mithun in Chicago. After five years, she moved to Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, where she was media supervisor handling Celestial Seasonings and Kraft Foods. She worked at the now defunct Ketchum Advertising in San Francisco from 1990 to 1992 and later joined the client side as associate manager of media development at Clorox Co., where she worked on all aspects of the company's brands, ranging from research and public relations to promotions and packaging.
"She is a really good orchestra leader," says Mr. Engelmeyer, referring to how Ms. Argyilan leads her team.
That's a trait she could have picked up in college considering she holds a bachelor of arts degree in music with an emphasis on voice from Northern Illinois University.
She recently celebrated her fifth anniversary helping Goodby navigate in the wide open world of new media and the new economy. Her reward was a month-long sabbatical. She spent it singing and riding horses in Montana.