Starcom Mediavest’s Jeff Rossi on the Power of Outsider Thinking

Jeff Rossi is the VP Digital Group Director at Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the largest global media buying companies. Jeff  has worked at other major media agencies including MEC, Avenue A and Organic. One of the truly great guys in the industry, we recently spoke with Jeff about his current role and the media advertising industry.

The Makegood: Can you explain a little bit about your role as VP Digital Group Director at Starcom MediaVest Group?

JR: The short answer is that I manage digital media investment for Procter & Gamble.  The longer answer is my team works with our clients to determine the appropriate tactics in both efficiency and effectiveness to drive business. The analogy I use around the office all the time is that it’s our job to “land the plane,” meaning to take all of the strategy and consumer insight work and have it materialize into marketplace executions. I have been lucky enough to have a stellar team that does this extraordinarily well.

The Makegood: You have built a successful career in media. What would you say are some of the secrets to your success?

JR: Thank you.  I actually fell into this career unexpectedly while looking to start a career in journalism, and for my first few years saw it only as a stopgap until I could get a ‘real job’.  I typically looked at problems as an outsider – approaching issues with the mind set of “I’m not marketing guy, but I am a dude who buys (insert brand here) and this is what I think…”.  That outsider approach has served me well throughout my career – especially during the dot-com boom where we forgot how to speak like humans.  You’d be surprised how many clients respect people who “do things” and “work well together” and not those who “implement impactful strategies” and “synergize”.

What agencies need to work harder at (and probably the industry as a whole) is taking complex issues and making them simple.  If you truly have a mastery of the space, you should be able to translate the work you are doing for anyone to understand.  

The Makegood: Who do you admire most – past or present – in the industry?

JR: This industry has become more complex than ever, and clients are looking more and more to agency leaders to help guide them.  Being pulled in all of these different directions all the time can be challenging for people to find the right work/life balance while still staying ahead of this crazy industry.  I’ve had the privilege of working with a few people who are able to be both visionaries, while staying grounded.  If I have to name names, Carrie Frolich and Amanda Richman are two people who consistently blow me away by being such insightful and effective leaders while still being fantastic human beings.  They both have that rare mix of admiration that makes you say “damn, I wish I thought of that” while still seeming like people that would be great to get a beer with (they both are).  I would be remiss if I don’t also give a shout out to my Mediavest P&G team who I am in constant admiration of their dedication and hard work – and yes, they are ALL great people to get beers with.

The Makegood: Thanks, Jeff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pmo Paul Ollinger

    nice guys finish first. Way to go, JR>

  • http://www.facebook.com/Groovus Brian McFarland

    Jeff has been a visionary in the space since I met him back at Rolling Stone in 2004. Smart, cool, fun and wants to really build things together that make sense for everyone involved. He’s responsible for the inspiration of many in this business, and it is humbling to have such a positive relationship with such a fantastic person.