Media Experts
Media Experts Group Photo

Silver — Media Experts

Media Experts has lived up to its name this year, capturing strategy’s Media Agency of the Year Silver award as a result of its efforts on behalf of clients like Telus, Mini and WestJet.

The agency has also made sure it lives up to the name by investing in systems to keep it ahead of the curve. Take its newly built demand-side platform, Xpeto. Media Experts is the first independent media services firm in Canada to develop its own online trading desk. Xpeto incorporates multiple ad networks, delivering Media Experts clients upwards of half a billion impressions while providing them with benefits in terms of behavioural and niche targeting, pricing, and the ability to pre-screen impressions in real time to better establish their value.

With an extremely large head-count in its digital group, the space is a strong focus for Media Experts. It has even devoted an entire day to digital that also celebrates the agency’s forward-looking approach, bringing everyone together from the shop’s Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver offices. Digital Day’s third anniversary was in March and featured speakers including Shelly Palmer of NBCU’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer. The prevailing theme was championing preparedness in the face of a rapidly evolving digital landscape with consumers changing the way they interact with content more often than they change their socks.

That theme is particularly fitting given that it was two years ago that Media Experts reshaped itself as a “tradigital” agency, a significant evolution that had an impact on all facets of its business.

Mark Sherman, founder and owner of Media Experts, explains the reorg as a “focus on how traditional and digital media work together and what insights digital media and [its] performance could bring to optimizing offline media. Online and offline media are inextricably linked. Offline creates interest, drives people online to search or display, where advertisers can harvest the interest created offline and close the sale online.”

The change affected not only the way the agency operates, but also its structure, right down to seating arrangements. Digital people were moved into traditional account and planning roles, and traditional personnel into digital capacities. The goal, says Sherman, is to cross-pollinate, creating over time a new breed of media executive that has the necessary broad skills that will bring maximum benefit to the agency’s clients.

“What we’re trying to do with our customers is help them understand that digital media is an important part of their arsenal that shouldn’t be left to a department in their company. Marketers need to be as adept and as informed about digital media as they are about traditional media and, moreover, be able to clearly understand how digital and traditional work together to drive engagement and business results.”

The “tradigital” approach has obviously been a success since its inception. On top of the work that’s helped propel the agency to strategy’s MAOY top three, it’s also helped attract significant new business recently, winning media assignments for the likes of Bell Canada. Tradigital is only part of the puzzle, however. The bigger picture approach has been labelled “Imagine 2015” an initiative that’s seeing the agency evolve across the board to adapt to the changing media landscape.

“‘Imagine 2015’ is a blueprint for the media services agency of the future,” says Sherman. “That blueprint includes and is influenced by tradigital thinking in part, but is more multi-faceted as it covers all aspects of our media management business.”

As part of that imagination, adds Sherman, the agency will redefine its digital practice, essentially removing the digital department and seeding the entire company with digital expertise.

“[Digital] is a very important part of our business,” says Sherman. “We can’t forget that we still have 80% of our investments in traditional media and we need to maintain, refine and improve those skills every day, particularly as traditional media becomes more digital. So, we want to bring digital thinking [and] analytics to traditional media and we’re doing it by seeding the department.”

The Facts

Number of staff: 120

Number of offices: 3

Number of clients: 28

New business: Bell Canada, Canadian Breast

Cancer Foundation,

Virgin Mobile Canada

Annual billings:

Almost $300 million