WPP is aiming to beef up its £10bn-plus data marketing revenues, with Ogilvy & Mather following sister agency Wunderman in creating the role of chief data officer.
More than 25% of WPP’s annual income already comes from what boss Sir Martin Sorrell calls “data investment management” for clients, and it has a number of dedicated data divisions.
The move also reinforces Sorrell’s opinion that there are “massive opportunities” for the group to grow organically, in response to the recent mega-merger of Publicis and Omnicom.
Former Acxiom chief Todd Cullen (pictured) has been handed the global CDO role and has been briefed to create standards for using data which can be applied across the organisation worldwide. He will report directly to worldwide chairman and chief executive Miles Young.
Cullen was at Acxiom on and off for nine years, most recently as vice-president of global products. In this role he focused on identifying, securing, commercialising, and deploying consumer insight across marketing channels. Cullen also specialised in leveraging customer data to enhance online advertising and optimisation.
Wunderman first created the role in 2005, when it hired Andrew Rutberg from Harte-Hanks. He has since left to be president of sister WPP company Marketing Solutions Center, in Boston, US.
The CDO role encompasses data strategy; analytics; digital, business intelligence; technology-enabled marketing and privacy. It is designed to put data-driven intelligence at the heart of the business, ultimately increasing the size, scope and revenue base from its implementation.
Cullen said: “The approach here is not so much can they build a data and analytics capability; the difference here is the opportunity to scale it globally. Privacy, compliance and security are also definitely part of this remit.”