Mediaedge:cia Unifies Lead Generation Under One Banner

WPP’s Mediaedge:cia (MEC) is integrating its online and offline lead generation into a single unit, to be called MEC Interaction. It will be headed by Rob Norman, who was formerly chairman of Mediaedge:cia UK and CEO of digital marketing agency Outrider Worldwide.

Interaction will consist of Wunderman Media, which handles direct response media buying and planning; The Digital Edge (TDE), which deals with online media planning and buying; and Outrider, which does general digital marketing but specializes in search. The integration follows up on a move WPP made to bring Wunderman Media into Mediaedge:cia earlier this year.

“What happened with the Internet is that people tended to define their companies by the channel in which they operated. But really when you look at what those businesses do, they all do the same thing,” Norman told ClickZ News. “They attempt to generate response and value and measure that value. And they try to get people to engage with something deeper, like content, or whatever it might happen to be.”

Norman said the re-structuring was partly aimed at bringing together existing disciplines within the organization, but would also serve to position the company for the emergence of media such as video-on-demand (VOD).

“What we’ve also got coming down the pike is digitalization of advertising and the video-on-demand channels,” Norman said. “We’ve tried to structure it from the ground up so there are no surprises.”

Alan Schanzer, formerly TDE’s managing partner, will become managing partner of MEC Interaction North America. Sarah Hammel, who was previously Wunderman Meida’s finance director, will be senior partner and finance director of the new entity.

Practice leads will oversee the various marketing disciplines at MEC Interaction. Chris Copeland, who was formerly Outrider’s partner and managing director, will oversee search marketing. Carrie Frolich and Todd Fraipoint will be senior partners for online areas, with Frolich handling East Coast and Midwest offices while Fraipoint does West Coast duties.

Over the past several months, the units have worked to integrate their analytics platforms, so they could plan, buy and measure each of the disciplines with a common currency.

“It was a bit like going from the Swiss Franc or the German Mark to the Euro,” Norman explained.

Over the coming weekend, movers will completely re-arrange the second floor of the company’s offices, to reflect the new integration and allow for cross-pollination between disciplines. Private offices for management will be eliminated, Norman said, to allow MEC Interaction’s 140 U.S. employees to more easily work together. It’s a structural change modeled on what the company has done in the U.K. at Mediaedge:cia.

“It will be impossible to distinguish between ‘departments’ as of Monday,” said Norman.

Though the MEC Interaction group will operate globally, the integration is being rolled out first in the U.S. The U.K. will follow next, with other markets being added over the remainder of the year.

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