Media Experts' holistic approach

Mark Sherman - founder, owner, and executive chairman of Media Experts - says in the future it won't be big companies swallowing up smaller ones, but the fast eating up the slow, something that gives his shop an edge in the marketplace. The agency is back taking Bronze for a second year in a row after winning a Silver in 2011.

Sherman says the agency's size allows it to change direction quickly, adapt to changes in market conditions, learn new technologies and stay on top of ever-evolving consumer behaviours.

Currently driving change is its "Imagine 2015" project, an initiative launched in 2011 as a call to reinvent the agency. Focusing on each stage of the consumer's journey along the path to purchase, the project saw the agency taking a more holistic approach to online and offline media, bringing both "inline."

The focus on making the agency more efficient is integrated into every piece of its culture on a daily basis, he says. This includes things like how groups are formed, trials are initiated and ideas are shared.

The ongoing change initiative has continued to "bear fruit" for the agency, Sherman says, adding that during the pitch process for its recently won account for TD Bank's insurance, credit card, wealth management and banking services, the agency went up against specialty search firms and came out on top because of its approach to search.

"We didn't put search in a silo and we understood the intersection between search and other media," he says.

The program helped spawn the agency's programmatic trading practice and its trading desk Xpeto, which this year launched a Canadian-specific RTB report using data from the division.

At the time, Scott Atkinson, former managing director, digital solutions, Media Experts (now VP digital at Starcom MediaVest Group), said that the agency started the report after nearly three years of being in the RTB space because the team was tired of a lack of a good Canadian perspective on programmatic buying north of the border.

Sherman says the agency is constantly searching to add to its roster of offerings, such as Xpeto, pieces he says the smaller shop can put in place faster than larger ones.

"Our independence also ensures that we maintain our entrepreneurial culture," he says. "It is precisely because of our focus on our customers, and their specific business outcomes, that we have organized around the principle of speed."