When Wavemaker, the agency born from GroupM’s joining of MEC and Maxus, hired former Publicis exec Oleg Korenfeld last month, it asked him to build a platform to facilitate media planning, buying and strategy across eight major markets.
The agency knows that having globally scaled technology is key to its ability to consolidate.
Korenfeld is also designing systems to manage, optimize and personalize media spend most efficiently for clients.
“Our job is to invest our clients’ dollars as efficiently as possible, and that requires the proper technology to show that these costs, these inputs, actually drive value and outputs,” he said.
Korenfeld doesn’t have a team yet (Wavemaker is still developing its org structure), but he’ll recruit data- and tech-savvy talent across the agency.
“As the value of the agency evolves, technology is more important to everyday operations,” he said. “To have this skill set internally that’s not off on its own island, but as part of day-to-day work, is critical for us.”
Wavemaker has access to GroupM’s other tech assets, as well as its data and leverage from its buying scale.
Korenfeld will spend his first few months on the job determining what assets available to the group are most valuable for Wavemaker clients, figuring out where to plug gaps and eliminating redundancies between the two former agencies’ assets.
“My first order of business is to understand what we have,” he said. “GroupM, over the last few years, has developed technology that has been used successfully across the organization. I’ll be finding the best use cases of the stack and replicating that to make it standard.”
Korenfeld anticipates building the stack with a combination of vendor technology and solutions built in-house, but said it is too soon to tell exactly what he still needs, or what exactly he plans to build versus buy.
“We see the marketplace broader than most [companies] and that allows us to build with a broader view,” he said. “At the same time, our job is to be unbiased. I can’t imagine us completely relying on just our own technology.”
To customize the platform to each client, Wavemaker will consult with clients on their data strategies and educate them on platform selection based on what vertical they’re in and how far along they are in their data-driven marketing evolution.
“Some [marketers] may have a DMP or CRM systems that they understand well,” he said. “They may or may not have robust analytics, or data that is valuable in that. We have unique access to this technology and methodology that we’ll apply to complete that story for clients.”
As Wavemaker scales the platform globally (Korenfeld said there is no specific timeline), it will have to understand the nuances in data availability and laws around using it for marketing across regions and set realistic expectations by market. But having consistent access to the platform and best use cases globally will offer a more agile approach to media for multinational clients, he said.
“Technology is regionally agnostic often enough,” he said. “There’s a general vision where we all are headed, and I think that’s fairly consistent across the globe, but activation in each marketplace will determine a more customizable stack for each client.”