Bridging the marketing and media agency gap: ZenithOptimedia's Nickie Scriven

ZenithOptimedia's new Melbourne office chiefs talks about swapping brand marketing for media managament

Nickie Scriven, ZenithOptimeda
Nickie Scriven, ZenithOptimeda

It’s not entirely uncommon to hear marketing managers bemoan the inadequacies of their agency partners. It is somewhat less common, however, to see a marketer dive in to do something about it.

That is exactly what Nickie Scriven has done. In October, she resigned her post as head of marketing and brand at AustralianSuper to take the reins of the Melbourne office of media agency, ZenithOptimedia.

“I’ve always been passionate about media,” she tells CMO. “Having spent the earlier part of my career on the media side of the side of the fence, and then being on the marketing side, I could see some big gaps in the agency model in terms of really understanding data and using data and insights and mapping the entire consumer journey.”

A conversation with ZenithOptimedia chief executive officer, Ian Perrin, revealed he felt the same way.

“When I started to look under the hood and see what ZenithOptimedia was doing, I thought there was some real innovation here,” Scriven says. “It looked like a great opportunity, and having always loved media I thought it was the right challenge for me.”

That innovation includes apps that allow clients to see disparate date sources aggregated into a dashboard, delivering insights that clients can act on in real time.

Related: The rise of marketing-as-a-service for CMOs

Scriven commenced her working life in the fitness industry before moving to the media industry, briefly with Fairfax, and then in the key accounts division at News Limited. It was this role that gave Scriven her first exposure to the media side of the advertising industry, and led her to complete a Masters in Marketing.

“I wanted to get to the heart of marketing strategy,” Scriven says.

Her next role was in media strategy at NAB, before a restructure saw her leave and start her own marketing consultancy firm. When she saw the job at AustralianSuper, she jumped at it. Her time in the role saw some notable successes, in a sector that frequently fails to achieve cut-through with its audience. This included moving brand awareness from 19 per cent when she arrived to 31 per cent when she left.

Related: Co-creating with consumers: AustralianSuper’s digital innovation journey

She also drove the company’s youth engagement strategy, with a campaign built around the TV talent program The Voice. That campaign took what had traditionally been AustralianSuper’s least engaged segment to become its highest, reaching 45 per cent awareness at one point.The campaign was also successful in achieving its objective of encouraging younger workers to stick with AustralianSuper as they changed employer, with the average number of accounts held by members dropping from five to less than three.

In her role at ZentihOptimedia, Scriven has the remit to build her team as required, including the recent appointment of Tim Beveridge as strategy director.

“We are really driving strategy and working so much more closely with our clients to make sure we are aligned to their business KPIS and returning on investment,” she says.

“We have to be the right arm of our clients and help them see the full picture, help them bring campaigns to life and monitor and optimise them constantly – not just through the bought channels, but the owned and earned as well.

“And I see that as the real opportunity – actually understanding the consumer journey and the customer experience and making sure the promise is delivered in the experience.”

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