Customers First, Technology Second

Jeffrey L. Hinz
Jeffrey L. Hinz is managing partner and digital director for MediaCom U.S.
Recognizing the growing importance of online, social and mobile to its brand clients’ future, media planning and buying giant MediaCom has hired away a senior executive from rival ID Media charged with running U.S. digital operations.

Jeffrey L. Hinz has been tapped as managing partner and digital director for MediaCom U.S., a unit of WPP Group PLC’s GroupM media services arm. In addition to providing digital leadership, he will also work to increase interactive marketing’s role at key MediaCom clients – but through a realistic lens.

“Brands need to pay attention to consumers first and technology second,” Mr. Hinz said. 

“It’s too easy to chase the shiny new object and lose sight of what’s really happening with how people use digital media,” he said.

Many flavors
Mr. Hinz will advise clients on the strategic incorporation of digital media such as display, video, search engine optimization and marketing, mobile and social media. He is based in New York.

MediaCom claimed U.S. billings of $6.6 billion and Canadian billings of $851 million for 2009, the latest year for which numbers were made available by RECMA.

A resume rich with experience in digital will help Mr. Hinz’s with his mandate.

At his last post – senior vice president and director of digital and emerging media at ID Media – he ran digital and social media planning and buying for agency clients such as SC Johnson, Subaru, Nikon, Jose Cuervo, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal and Maybelline.

Mr. Hinz also served as general manager and vice president of marketing for K2 Digital, where he worked from 1999 to 2002.

In this interview, Mr. Hinz spells out his vision, the challenges facing brands and how online and mobile play a key role in engaging consumers in this fragmented media environment. Please read on.

As head of U.S. digital services, what’s the No. 1 priority for you in this fragmented media landscape? 
It’s all about attacking this Web 3.0 environment.  

Digital opportunities are everywhere and they need to address the larger strategic issues facing a client’s business.

Perhaps it’s early to ask this question, but obviously you’ve given it some thought: What would you like your first 100 days to look like? 
My focus will be on three things: clients, employees and consumers.  

I will be spending my time embracing each one at MediaCom, leading to the development of a quality product that produces measurable results.

Your mandate covers the entire digital waterfront. Any areas where you think brands need to pay more attention? 
Brands need to pay attention to consumers first and technology second.  

It’s too easy to chase the shiny new object and lose sight of what’s really happening with how people use digital media.

Your thoughts on mobile? 
Is 2011 the year of mobile? Possibly.  

Tablets and smartphones are helping to deliver on this. It’s very exciting that we can now deliver an experience to someone that is unique to that person based on the melding of content, platform and location.

Everyone’s talking about mobile and social. What will you advise clients? 
Again, I will advise clients to get a solid understanding of their customers and the behaviors that motivate them to take the appropriate actions.  

Once you have that, everything falls into place.

Will you service mainly WPP clients or also look for new business?  
My first priorities are to the current MediaCom clients.

Let’s play long/short: Apps? And tablets? 
They are both here to stay. Consumers have embraced them. 

They will continue to evolve and we as marketers can take advantage of the many opportunities they offer.

So what’s the biggest challenge today for media planners and buyers, especially with digital and mobile? 
Staying abreast of all of the new and innovative opportunities that are presented to them on a daily basis and understanding how to evaluate them on a strategic level for their client’s business.


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