Martin O’Boyle is founder & advisor at MGO Consulting Ltd. He’s worked in media since the late 90s and has held roles at Publicis and Starcom, from heading up digital and online investment for P&G, to launching Publicis Groupe’s PeopleCloud platform in the UK, and most recently as MD for Partnerships and Advanced Advertising at Publicis Media. In 2021 he launched his own consulting firm, where he works with both buy and sell side.
Who is your digital hero?
Eddie Adedeji, Managing Partner at Publicis Media & absolute legend.
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Firstly, Eddie gave me my first break in media, bringing me onto the P&G TV buying team, but not only that, he was one of the first offline experts to make the jump across to Digital in the mid 00s, a path a subsequently I followed a couple of years later.
At this point, digital was in its infancy, with digital departments at agencies growing at a phenomenal rate, and as a new medium, a lot of the processes and strategies that are still followed today did not exist. It really was the wild west back then and whilst there was a lot of opportunity there was also a huge amount of confusion which made clients uncomfortable. They knew they needed to harness this opportunity but were also worried that they were not doing it the right way.
How has his heroism helped drive digital?
When digital was still a new medium, the reality was consumer behaviour had changed far more quickly than the industry, and everyone struggled to keep up. Advertisers wanted to spend in this space and reach their consumers but were sceptical about a lot of the claims and promises that were being made. We needed to be able to provide the comfort and rigour that advertisers had always been used to, to ensure that they were still reaching the right consumers and not wasting money.
Eddie helped to establish basic standards of engagement and trading with digital companies which helped to drive growth in digital media for our clients. He brought the standards of media buying such as quality, control and cost into our trading agreements, to ensure clients had comfort and assurance around their digital investment.
In addition, Eddie was and is a great translator, which was, and still is, needed with all the jargon and terminology that still exists to this day. It was his mission to ensure that we translated complex concepts in the most simplified way possible without losing the essence of it, to allow us and our clients to grab the opportunities in front of us.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
Whilst the 00s were the wild west of digital, it is far more complex today. Most traditional media now falls into the digital category, to the point where the term digital itself is relatively redundant.
We need, and will continually need, heroes to step up and commit to translating and simplifying concepts to show how the opportunities in the market will ultimately help to drive growth for advertisers. It is imperative that everyone, on both the buy and sell side of media, is able to cut through the jargon and acronyms, to show the true value of advertising opportunities to our clients – who are you going to reach, how will the campaign stand out, how much consumer attention will you grab. I’ve personally committed myself to driving this and whilst others do as well, the more heroes who can do this the better for our industry.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
I like to think I have been involved in many successes in my time, however, the one that sticks out for me is when I was leading the P&G team at Starcom c.10 years ago. We wanted to ensure that digital was at the heart of everything we do, whether that be buying, planning, research – therefore we had to ensure that digital did not sit in a silo separately from our offline media campaigns.
To achieve this, we embarked on a period of upskilling, growing capability in our media planning teams, and our, then, offline teams. However, we had to ensure our digital experts broadened their view as well, which has proven to be extremely important as the likes of TV, radio and outdoor are today also considered digital media. We wanted to combine the digital expertise with the rigour and processes that were long established prior to the explosion of digital.
The result was a team where we didn’t have digital or offline specific roles, however, the expertise was still there, and this enabled us to utilise new opportunities to create and deliver stronger campaigns, to grow and retain the best talent, and to truly put digital at the heart of everything we did. I believe we were one of the first agency teams to do this, and since then many agencies have adopted and evolved this approach.