Omnicom’s New Agency Network Helps P&G Double Down On Data-Driven Marketing

Hearts & ScienceWhen Omnicom Media Group on Friday launched Hearts & Science, its third agency network alongside OMD and PHD, it chose Annalect founder and CEO Scott Hagedorn to lead the effort.

The development comes four months after Omnicom grabbed the majority of Procter & Gamble’s $2 billion media account from Publicis Groupe’s Starcom Mediavest. Part of P&G’s reason for choosing Omnicom was the promise to create this new agency to serve its expanding data-driven marketing strategy.

Generating clear ROI is important for the CPG giant, which was one of the biggest and earliest advertisers to embrace programmatic. Way back in 2014, P&G set a goal to spend 70-75% of its digital media budget programmatically, and Forrester principal analyst Sarah Sikowitz notes it still invests heavily in the buying methodology.

“They’re one of the brands that has an in-house programmatic team, and it’s a big part of their strategy,” she said.

P&G sees “three to five times greater ROI through programmatic buying than we are through traditional environments,” according to Scott Franzer, a former Starcom MediaVest Group associate director who represented himself as employee of Omnicom Media Group, on a recent panel covered by Ad Age. An Omnicom spokesperson said Franzer had not started at Omnicom when he made the remarks.

Hagedorn was particularly well-positioned to lead Hearts & Science because he spearheaded Omnicom’s winning pitch in the 2015 P&G review, is well-known throughout the industry for his expertise around data-driven marketing and is trusted by clients who, as a whole, are increasingly skeptical of agencies.

“He obviously knows how to run an organization that relies heavily on technology and data and the minds who are able to make sense of it all,” Sikowitz said. “That’s why he, rather than someone from a more traditional storytelling type of agency, is in charge.” She noted the data and analytics that can drive emotional connection and storytelling around commodity products, like the type P&G sells, could be a big differentiator.

Of course, there’s still the question of what will become of P&G’s existing technology relationships, such as its preferred DSP, AudienceScience.

While the company prefers to engage directly with technology partners regardless of its agency’s preferences, Omnicom might seek to influence its client’s preferred technology stack. AudienceScience has strong global reach, but some believe its technology has not kept pace with competitors.

 Story has been updated to clarify Scott Franzer’s work history and the status of P&G’s technology partners. 

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1 Comment

  1. BoogieMan

    Why hire a media agency for data services? They don’t have the experience, processes, and culture (mind set) in place. Even if they hire tech-experts, working with media-driven people can be very chaotic (they tend not to be used to being very process-driven and structured). Better hire a consultancy or specialist who has been doing tech-implementations and data services for years.