Starcom EVP Pavia On His New Role And Today’s Digital Specialist At The Agency

StarcomMark Pavia was recently hired as Executive VP, Digital Managing Director at Starcom USA, a Publicis agency. Read a bit more in Ad Age.

Pavia discussed his new position and the evolving role of digital specialists within the agency. What attracted you to the EVP role at Starcom?

MP: It was a number of things. Coming from the Martin Agency, as Director of Innovation – and my previous work at Four Points Digital –  the opportunity to do something on a large scale is very attractive. The resources at the VivaKi and SMG levels are impressive. And another thing that attracted me is this notion of human experience strategy, what [CEO Lisa Donohue] believes and the type of people Lisa’s hiring at the senior management level.

I have worked in a completely non‑siloed environment my whole career and attached at the hip with a creative director since the day I started in media over 25 years ago. So to come to a company like Starcom and have the opportunity to create really scalable experiences – that’s powerful.

Can you talk about what the responsibilities of this role entail?

It’s about making sure that we have a best‑in‑class digital product. I’ll be working with SMG and VivaKi to move Starcom’s client and vendor relationships “upstream” as well as taking advantage of what they’re developing “downstream” in terms of new product innovation. 

The other piece is the human element – to foster people’s careers here and help them do great work.

Speaking of careers in agencies, do you see a progression in the digital specialist, if you will, from your earlier agency days compared to what you see now? What is it today that specialists need that that they didn’t need before?

Let me go back about 12 years ago to when we started Four Points Digital. At the time, we were trying to hire people who were really good multi-taskers because the job required it. We found those people – and it’s even more important today because there are still more elements to juggle.

Also, early on, the notion of performance was in its infancy, and today it’s far more mature. Having folks understand all the resources that they have available to them in the agency is critical.

In fact, we have come full circle [at the agency] in my opinion. Back in the early days, digital folks were fine being “siloed” off because they had their “membership badge.” Today, that notion has evolved to where you’re seeing people think in a much more, non‑siloed way. Digital has become connective tissue. It used to be a line on a flow chart or something somebody wanted to test. It was crazy.

So, when I look at people, I think, “Are they multitaskers?” because the job absolutely requires it. People who succeed are the ones, frankly, that just think in simple, human terms and know how to connect all the dots.

By John Ebbert

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