Home Agencies New MediaCom MD Hinz Talks Digital, Data-Driven Ads And The CMO

New MediaCom MD Hinz Talks Digital, Data-Driven Ads And The CMO


MediaComJeff Hinz has been named Managing Partner, Digital Director, for GroupM agency MediaCom. Hinz has a wide range of agency experience which includes executive roles at ID Media and K2 Digital. Read the release.

Hinz offered his thoughts on digital advertising today and some of the challenges ahead.

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AdExchanger.com: What’s happening with the CMO today? Any transformation you can pinpoint to a digital world?

JH: We have to look at the overall CMO position and understand that they’re under the gun. They’ve got a short window to produce results or the appearance of producing results. I think that lends itself to a number of digital initiatives or opportunities.

Because digital is the medium that has the ability to be measured on a number of different levels, it lends itself to being the first one to allow that CMO to get a sense of what’s working, what’s not working. It also provides great opportunities for the CMO to move digital into the forefront of their organization and marketing objectives, and help prove out their initiatives. Whether they can actually do that depends upon the corporate culture as well as their relationships with their agencies and a number of other elements.

I think that it’s a great opportunity for us (agencies). In the past, as a media strategist and a media marketer, a media planner/buyer, we’ve not had that level of relationship.   I think digital brings that to the forefront because it solves a lot of the marketing issues that previously could not be illustrated or become relevant within a CMO’s purview.

We’re seeing that the CMO definitely wants to be involved in the digital side of the business, but because their vast level of responsibility, it doesn’t give them the opportunity to be as entrenched as we are. We spend a lot of time educating. Then, we spend a lot of time collaborating and developing an understanding of the appropriate digital channels to use.

I think it’s difficult for the CMO to walk around their offices and be informed enough to speak to what their peers are reading in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and why are they not involved in that.

[AdExchanger.com] talks about technology. Demand side platforms have been all the buzz in the last two years, and every CMO is asking, “What is this? How do I use it? What is your perspective on it from an agency, and is it relevant to my business?”

So, that’s an education process that we have to deliver to the CMO, as well as then craft and formulate strategies that make sense for their marketing business. It’s a huge opportunity for us, and I think that’s really, from what I’ve seen, the change in the CMO…


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The CMO used to be the brand guy, and now he’s got to be the results guy. That lends itself to a huge opportunity for a digital partner who collaborates with the CMO and drives the business.

Where would you say digital fit within the agency’s cross‑channel strategic planning? Traditional media still rules the roost, does it not?

Traditional media still garners the lion’s share of spending, yes. I think that traditional media is evolving into digital media at a very fast pace. I think that’s driven more so by the consumer than anything else. The consumer is the one who’s driving this decision on where they’re going to consume media. I like to kid with the mobile guys and say consumers aren’t using mobile anywhere but in their home. It’s not like they’re consuming media everywhere. I like to turn it around and say they’re consuming every media in one place, and traditionally, that ends up in their living room.

You have to recognize that. I think that we, as marketers, need to understand that traditional and digital media work hand-in-hand and need to be integrated. From an agency perspective, the integration comes from working with the vendors who are offering delivery of their content on multiple platforms, whether it’s traditional or digital, and then understanding how that content is being consumed by the viewers or the users. And then, how can we capitalize on that on behalf of getting the best for what makes sense for our clients.

I think that’s really the big play here. Digital is going to continue to evolve and to become important within a client’s business moving forward.

Is there a natural bias that’s occurred within the agency model that has to be overcome by the digital unit, if you will? Generally speaking, the agency has been accustomed to the traditional media spin, hence there are constituents within the agency that take the lead and perhaps don’t take advantage of what digital can offer as much as they could. Do you think that’s fair?

Generally speaking, I would probably say yes. I spent 15 years on the traditional side of the business, so I don’t see a difference between the two. I guess I’m probably looking at it from a very optimistic perspective, but I do see that, in my working relationships within different holding companies, within different agency relationships in my career as a digital marketer, yes, there is definitely… I wouldn’t say it’s a bias, but I would say there’s definitely turf wars between traditional and digital.

Some of that does come from the clients, and some of that comes from the agency. I think that the more that we can collaborate and produce results, regardless of the platform, that’s a benefit for everyone.

If you can build a team of collaborators that includes the traditional media agencies, the digital agencies, the creative, as well as PR and other elements within the marketing mix, that’s a win/win situation. It’s rare to find that, but I have had that experience within my career. That’s when you can then produce results that are home runs for the clients.

How is audience‑based targeting, particularly in display, playing a part of digital media plans today?

I think that it’s the new opportunity to further demonstrate a strategic level on both thinking and targeting with our digital media plans. It’s a nice balance between that side of the equation coupled with the low cost of media, given that we’re buying on an exchange. The opportunity is to really drive down the media costs and improve performance. I think coupling the two of those together with the technology of the platform is where you’re seeing the success stories.

There are so many opportunities to really delve into an understanding of overall strategic direction. Whether that’s looking at the datasets, the cookie databases, the partners that you can work with, or how you can slice and dice the targeting capabilities  -and what that means for your clients.

Is it eliminating waste to find the most qualified consumers at the right price?

Is it putting together modeling that mirrors your current consumer?

These are things that we haven’t been able to do in traditional media. It’s taking the best of what we talked about from a research, focus group and strategic perspective and coupling that with dynamic media pricing in an environment that is current and alive – which is exciting.

That hasn’t happened before. I think that’s where the power is. From my perspective, you have to be careful to not look at just one aspect of the platform either being low cost or highly qualified targeting. I think sometimes people focus on one versus the other and don’t recognize that you can have both.

Looking at your new role, what were some of the drivers in joining Mediacom and Group M, and why was this the right time for you to make this move?

I think that one of the drivers was just the Mediacom organization, the global reach, the client list. On top of that, it’s the CEO of North America, Harvey Goldhersz, and then everyone that I have met who are my peers here at Mediacom. They’re all incredibly strategic, intuitive and creative. They’re drivers of the business. And they’re marketers, which is, I think, refreshing to see. My vision across pretty much every holding company within the U.S. has given me the opportunity to understand the differences and understand the uniqueness of each agency.

One of the things that Harvey said to me was that Mediacom is very much an entrepreneurial agency, and I believe that. I could see that from the individuals I spoke with and looking at the results that they’re producing. That’s what excited me about the business. Being able to have the flexibility of an entrepreneurial agency with the scale that Mediacom offers is unique.

Last question – if you were starting over in media today, what initial steps would you take after graduating college to lay the groundwork for a successful career? Any tips and tricks?

I would make sure that I am someone who is immersed in the digital space from a content producer perspective – and you’re going to need to be someone who has a passion for the business and wants to be engaged with digital media at the most base consumer level so that you understand how consumers are using digital media. That means working with people who produce content, working with creative agencies, understanding the way creative people think, understanding the startup mentality, going to seminars on digital excellence, being a part of meetups and getting involved in the community that doesn’t focus on the business of advertising.

So, it’s technology. It’s creativity. It’s content. It’s social media. Getting involved at that level – as part of your learning curve – that will fuel an understanding of how you can apply that knowledge to the advertising side of the business.

By John Ebbert

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