Another executive with a data and technology background is taking a big leadership role at Omnicom.
Erin Matts, former North American CEO of Annalect, was named US CEO of Hearts & Science on Tuesday. Matts will succeed Scott Hagedorn, who was promoted to CEO of Omnicom Media Group on Thursday.
Omnicom has not yet named a replacement for Matts at Annalect.
Hagedorn launched Hearts & Science in 2016 with a vision of marrying creativity with media and data to drive results for clients. The agency quickly won Procter & Gamble as its flagship client, followed by AT&T.
But while Hearts & Science delivered on the data science part of the equation, the creative promise didn’t always come through. As CEO, Matts will focus on bringing creativity and innovative ways of working with media, data and analytics to the forefront.
“What I hear consistently from clients is, ‘You smoked it on the science round, but next time we want to see more hearts,’” she said. “It’s striking the right balance.”
At Annalect, Matts spearheaded the deployment of Omnicom’s data platform, Omni, across media and creative agencies in the group. Her ability to translate data for right-brain thinkers will help her bridge that gap between media and creativity at Hearts, she said.
While Hearts & Science won’t launch a dedicated creative team, it will hire more talent that has experience working with data and analytics and a desire to apply it to creative work.
“Seeing how agencies are so much more receptive to data and analytics as a way of inspiring creativity is exciting,” she said. “I’ll put more emphasis on the creative side and challenge talent to not only bring great data-driven ideas, but ones that bring that magic.”
Like any agency, new business will be a big focus for Hearts & Science this year. The agency lost part of P&G’s business to Carat and P&G’s own internal teams in January, but retained services for its skincare and baby product lines. Hearts won $1.9 billion in new business last year, including AT&T’s WarnerMedia account in October.
“Often people think of P&G as the business that Hearts began on,” Matts said. “But it was always with an eye to, what additional business can we win?”
P&G isn’t the only client in-housing and cutting agency fees, and Hearts & Science is positioning itself to capitalize on that trend. The group will bring in more consulting talent and develop expertise around performance media to deliver more strategic work for clients.
“There’s a shift in agency roles,” Matts said. “Whether or not they’re in-housing, clients are raising their hands and saying, ‘I need more consultancy work from agency partners.’ In my experience in the last few new business pitches, they’re willing to pay for it, too.’”
As for Annalect, the group will continue operating Omnicom’s data and analytics center, but will exist mostly as a platform to support other Omnicom agencies.
“If Annalect was 80% services and 20% platform at first, that has flipped,” Matts said. “We will always maintain services at Annalect, and that’s a nice way of making sure we’re all delivering best-in-class services to clients.”