Player Profile: Walls come tumbling down for Martin's media director

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Mark Pavia has a tendency to disregard boundaries.

From 1998 until early this year, he worked for Chicago-based Four Points Digital-which, through a series of acquisitions, became MarchFirst. Officially, Mr. Pavia, 38, was the interactive-marketing company's director of media services, but in practice he had his fingers in many other aspects of the business. He took discussions with clients beyond cost-per-thousand to address larger business issues, never held a meeting without having a creative director in the room, and developed ideas for creative campaigns.

"Mark had set himself up to be a media director in name only," said Todd Lemmon, an executive creative director at True North Communications' FCBi who worked with Mr. Pavia at MarchFirst. "Mark sort of stepped over a couple of lines and said `I have ideas.' ... I knew it worked because the media department was one of the first places I went to when I needed a fresh idea," Mr. Lemmon said.

Following the shutdown of MarchFirst this spring, Mr. Pavia set his sights on finding another corporate culture that would fit his style as well as Four Points Digital did. (His bond with that company was so strong that he got himself a permanent "Four Points Digital" tattoo.) Last month he joined Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., as senior VP-executive media director.

Appropriately, one of his first duties at his new post is to tear down some old boundaries. Barbara Joynes, partner and exec VP, Martin, said Mr. Pavia is charged with reuniting the media buyers and planners within the 50-person department. "While buying was building itself, planning became more customer-focused. So they sort of got separated," Mr. Joynes said.

Ms. Joynes said Mr. Pavia is the right candidate for the new position because his career hasn't been limited to just buying or planning, but instead it has embraced both. She also was drawn to his experience working for national brands. Prior to joining Four Points Digital, Mr. Pavia was VP-client media director for Coors Brewing Co. and Kimberly-Clark brands at True North's FCB Worldwide, Chicago.

Mr. Pavia's goal is to make Martin's media department more prominent. Changes he's considering include showcasing its accomplishments for clients so far, and building a stronger tie between the media and creative departments.

"Part of the reason why I came here is [Martin executives] were very open to changing the media department," he said. "They realize media has to play a bigger role in the company." The Martin Agency had billings in 2000 of about $402 million, and the agency reports that 19 of its 21 creative clients use its media services. Martin does not partner with any other Interpublic media company, such as Initiative Media or Universal McCann, to serve any of its clients today. However, in the past it's worked with Interpublic shops to do some international media buying.

The Martin Agency is not the only Interpublic agency to have its own media operation. Lowe Lintas & Partners and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, for example, also handle media.

"Clients want three things: value, results and service. If we can deliver on those three, then we will have succeeded," Mr. Pavia said. And his keys to delivering at the traditional agency bear a strong resemblance those he employed at MarchFirst: "Change the rules all the time, and don't take no for an answer."

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