After 15 years on the West Coast, including seven with Arnold and its precursor, Ingalls Moranville, Marla Pinto said she plans to take the approach of larger-agency media departments to her new job as media director of RDW Group, a small regional player in Providence, R.I.
Small and midsize agencies often wait too long to initiate media plans, or fail to work with all departments to fully understand what clients need, Pinto said.
"Media has to be involved from the get-go when you're pitching the account," she said.
Pinto, 38, last month succeeded Steve Hall, who left after a year on the job, at the 75-person agency. She had been group media director at Arnold San Francisco, the No. 2 slot at the agency, before it shut down in June 2002.
She heads a five-person department. RDW handles media for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Harbor One Bank, New England Gas and Ross-Simons.
"We've struggled to have the right person in that [media director] job. It's been the hardest job to fill at this agency," said RDW president Mike Doyle. He said he was looking for someone with a well-rounded understanding of media, not just a seasoned planner or buyer.
Regional players may not have the resources and buying clout of national shops like Arnold, but they can make up for a lack of depth by involving the media team in all phases of campaign conception, Pinto said
In that way, small shops have a chance to provide essentially the same services as larger vendors and can often do so for less money and with quicker turnaround in order to stay competitive, Pinto said.