MediaCom Exec On Quest For Best Value

As MediaCom looks for new ways to gain more value for its clients’ dollars, Susan Jones, who has been a planner at the shop for the past seven years, last week stepped into a new, specialized role that combines planning and buying duties: evp, buying optimization officer.

Jones, who formerly led planning for clients such as Kmart and Slim-Fast, primarily will work to ensure that plans reach the most eyeballs at the most efficient price. “The old tools like CPMs and other measurement tools aren’t going deep enough,” said Jones, who noted that she will look at the effectiveness of individual ads across all media. “In different ways, we’re getting closer and closer to judging how effective each ad is.”

“Sue is very collegial and gets different parts of the organization stretching beyond where they thought they could go,” said Dene Callas, co-CEO of the New York-based Grey Global Group shop, to whom Jones reports.

Given the amount of clutter and fragmentation in the marketplace, Jones said she stresses a disciplined approach. “We’ve taken a look at synthesizing actionable, doable media,” said Jones, who will use MediaCom’s proprietary “appeal ratings” with minute-by-minute data from Nielsen—which tracks ratings for individual spots rather than programs—to help measure effectiveness.

“We do have access to data that we’ve never been able to have before,” she said. “We’re getting closer … though nobody has found the Holy Grail.”

Guy Forestier-Walker, svp, business development at rival shop MPG, stressed the importance of a holistic approach to planning and buying. He cited the need to look at recency, ROI, effective reach and optimization in totality to achieve the best results. “One must take a multitiered approach; one concept does not replace the other,” he said.

“My role is not about traditional optimizers,” explained Jones. “It’s about maximizing value for each ad we put out there.”