ZenithOptimedia mines data and taps content

For ZenithOptimedia, when it comes to creating work worthy of a MAOY mention, it's all about content and data. The agency has a lot more of it to create and sift through too, signing four new clients in the past year.

The increased use of data to mine efficiency for clients starts at the top, with the ZenithOptimedia Group rebranding itself as the "Live ROI" agency earlier this year, taking the media co's position as "The ROI Agency" and moving it into real-time. This update gives the Canadian office access to global ZenithOptimedia tools like the research database Touchpoints ROI Tracker.

Sunni Boot, CEO, ZenithOptimedia, says increased use of data has meant changes in areas from staffing (the agency just hired Xavier Lautour from Havas Digital Media's Paris office in the newly created position of head of analytics), to the amount of time it saves executives because of increased efficiency.

"Because of technology we can work faster and more accurately. It allows us to take more risks and be more creative because we get a quicker validation of whether media is being used properly," she says. "That frees up time for senior people to work on the creative executions they signed on to do. No one signs on to a media company to do discrepancies."

One such creative campaign from ZenithOptimedia this year was L'Oréal Canada's branded content series Canada's Best Beauty Talent, which aired around Canada's Got Talent on Rogers on Demand.

"We have to use media brands and custom content to break through the endless clutter. Digital has absolutely increased the clutter," says Boot.

The program garnered over 160,000 views during its run from April to the start of July, and taught L'Oréal a lot about how it will use media going forward, says Marie-Josée Lamothe, VP and chief marketing and corporate communications officer at L'Oréal Canada.

"This initiative taught us that the future of media will have this in-between where it is about talking to a specific community about a common interest and being part of that community," she says.

On the data side, a program for Purina with Corus Entertainment let the pet brand place and pay for ads on a cost per acquisition (CPA) model to promote its MyPuppy and MyKitten online programs. The agency provided Corus with access to the Purina live dashboard of real-time registration data, which allowed them to schedule ads in programs where they received the highest response rate and move them on the fly. The program allowed Purina to spend 72% less on marketing this year, according to a company representative.

Looking ahead, Boot sees more growth for content- and data-driven initiatives. "I see us challenging technology, developing original content and working with our media partners to utilize more of their content. Media companies have the talent, knowledge, presence and audience so I really see growth in that area. I definitely see growth of data, how we can manipulate it and tease more insight out of it to make smarter, more informed marketing decisions."