MEC’s Susan Schiekofer on Media Buying, Planning and Social Media

Susan Schiekofer is President of Digital for North America MEC, one of the world’s top media agencies. The Makegood recently spoke with Susan about her new position, brand communication and social media data.

The Makegood: In November, you were promoted to MEC’s President Digital, congratulations! Can you elaborate on your new priorities?

My priority is to continue to strengthen the digital offering within MEC.  We’ve got one of the biggest teams in the business with tremendous talent across social, search, performance marketing, analytics and overall digital strategy.  I want to make sure we are leveraging our talent and expertise across all of our clients, all the time.

The Makegood: Earlier this month, MEC announced the appointment of Joe Kowan as Practice Lead, Digital Trading and Activation, who will report to you. How will it change your job and the future of MEC?

Joe’s a great addition to our digital leadership team and we’re working closely together to create an expanded and dedicated digital trading team to leverage our significant spend in terms of efficiency and first-look opportunities for all our clients.  Joe will also be working closely with our Operations Lead to implement best practices with regard to data collection, dissemination and optimization.

The Makegood: What is MEC’s ‘University Leading and Managing Teams Training’ about and why is it relevant?

The training is about taking our best and brightest who are moving up the ranks and giving them additional tools to be a good manager.  We have a culture of collaboration and caring about our staff’s happiness so making sure our managers are leading their client teams in the most positive and productive manner is important to us as a company.

The Makegood: MEC’s paper ‘Exploiting the implicit’ is about new ways of looking at brand communication. What challenges does our industry face and what are your recommendations? 

This great paper talks about the “signals from the brand’s behavior or other people using/talking about the brand that can have the greatest effect”; in other words, natural endorsements/social sharing and the effect it has on the consumers’ perception of a brand and way consumers engage with it.  One big challenge our industry faces, among many others, is how to make sense of all of the social media data that is available.  We have a system for tracking and reporting both paid social and organic but the challenge is tying the organic data to results. We are working with a new technology company to tie unstructured social data to results and will be beta-ing this for our clients.

The Makegood: MEC’s core skills are media planning and buying, but you are constantly looking ahead to find new ways to actively engage your clients’ consumers. What new products and programs can we expect to see coming from MEC in 2013?

We have built a digital attribution model in-house that is proving to be immensely successful and we will be rolling this out widely in 2013.  We will also be beta-ing many social media advances from our key social partners in addition to our proprietary tracking tools.  Our work together with our Broadcast teams with regard to FEP best practices is significant as is our use of digital radio as a growing percent of our terrestrial radio buys.

The Makegood: Thank you, Susan.