In Publicis news that doesn't have to do with the Omnicom merger, VivaKi today announced two new hires and one promotion. Shirley Xu-Weldon has been hired as VP of analytics, a new position at the company; Tamara Knight has joined the company as VP of search operations; and Danny Hopwood has been named head of platform, EMEA, a newly created position.
Chris Paul, general manager of Audience on Demand (AOD), VivaKi's trading desk, spoke briefly with RTM Daily about the new hires, why the company felt the need to create new positions, and what the roles and responsibilities of each will be.
Before the interview even really started, RTM Daily asked if the new hires and promotion were in response to yesterday's PubliCom news in any way, and both Paul and a VivaKi representative said no. All three of these moves were finalized before the news yesterday.
RTM Daily: What will the responsibilities be for each person in their new role?
Chris Paul: Tamara is going to oversee the operation and growth of our Search Hub. It's a practice we've had running for several years now where agencies can take advantage of the search expertise within the Hub to complete everything end-to-end.
Shirley's role is new. The vision there was to take an analytics practice within AOD that had been very focused on campaign reporting and optimization for our clients and actually elevate the practice given the sort of emergence of "big data" conversations, [and] given the advancements that we want to make in our own proprietary data and insights tech.
Shirley's role is going to be to...elevate thinking on the analytics team and build it out to advance our thought leadership on the big data side.
RTM Daily: Heading overseas, Danny Hopwood will head the trading desk for EMEA operations. Does yesterday's merger (which means Omnicom's Accuen trading desk is also in play) change the way Hopwood does his job, or does his work go on like nothing happened?
Paul: I'm not going to comment on [the Omnicom merger and a potential impact on AOD/Hopwood's role]. But I will say that all of the decisions that we've made were independent of that announcement, and the vision we have for Danny will be the same.
Danny has been instrumental for the growth of AOD in Europe. He's going to have a broader role as we continue to strengthen its presence in Europe. [He will also act as a contact overseas, even with some of our work in Asia]. We have to have folks that are extremely knowledgeable in these international markets given the variances in tech, data availability, and policies that the different countries are adopting.
RTM Daily: Does Hopwood have any role in U.S. AOD operations?
Paul: Danny is actually connected closely to our platform team here in the U.S. [But] having boots on the ground in these individual markets will help us adjust…our thinking to not force something [that a particular market isn't ready for].
RTM Daily: You mentioned one of Xu-Weldon's roles will be to "build out" the analytics team. In order to add team members, you need the resources to do so. Where did the resources come from, and why focus on the analytics team?
Paul: AOD is growing over 100% year-over-year. We have an opportunity to decide what we want to do with the revenue and how we want to invest in ourselves, and we made the strategic decision to make analytics a big area of focus for 2013 and beyond. So that's what enabled me to get clearance to go out and hire Shirley, and it's what enabled us to build out this plan for the analytics team.
[We want to] focus on large data sets, data sets from multiple sources - first, third, CRM, social, transactional - all of the different data sources. That's really what we are trying to craft and create.
RTM Daily: Thanks for your time.