Centro, an emerging player in Madison Avenue’s digital media buying and planning “workflow,” has named two high-profile industry executives -- long-time media services agency chief Scott Neslund and former Undertone marketing chief Kelly Wenzel -- to key positions, as part of its plans to accelerate its growth and adoption among agencies.
Wenzel, who joins as CMO, was senior vice president-marketing at online rich media advertising platform Undertone. Neslund, who most recently was president of Publicis’ Moxie Interactive unit, joins as executive vice president-media.
Centro CEO Shawn Riegsecker, who founded the company in 2001, said there were a “couple of big reasons” for making those hires now.
“We needed to get our software to a certain level of automation before we thought we’d be ready to go big,” he said, adding: “That time came when we came toward the end of this year.”
To date, Riegsecker said Centro has managed more than 5,000 digital campaigns for agencies during 2012, a 46% increase over last year. Those buys, he estimated, were worth about $200 million in digital revenues managed by Centro this year.
Bringing Neslund and Wenzel on at this point, he said, is a critical step toward getting Centro more deeply embedded in large agency organizations.
Neslund is a veteran of big media shops such as WPP’s Mindshare and Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group, and also ran small digital shop Redbricks for a while. Wenzel has more than 17 years of experience marketing enterprise software.
Centro’s ramp up comes as the two biggest players in Madison Avenue’s enterprise software and processing -- Donovan Data Systems and MediaBank -- have merged into one consolidated behemoth, Mediaocean, on the one hand, and as a litany of other online platforms and intermediaries seek to provide software and infrastructure around facilitating digital buys in real-time exchanges via agency trading desks.
Riegsecker asserts that those moves have polarized the market, and left a nice space for Centro to fill in the middle where agencies are experiencing a crunch over their workflow, especially for digital media, which ironically continues to be some of the most labor- -- indeed, paper-intensive -- of all media to buy.
“Our competition is Word, Excel and PDFs,” Riegsecker quipped when pressed on what part of the market Centro seeks to fill. That said, Mediaocean and a multitude of other developers hope to fill that void as well.
Unlike Mediaocean, which is focused on the entire media ecosystem -- including analogue media like print and outdoor -- Riegsecker said Centro is focused only on media that can be bought digitally, which currently includes online, mobile, social and some digital out-of-home, but which ultimately could encompass most of the media marketplace, especially as TV becomes increasingly digitally processed.