Jarrod Martin will lead performance agency Reprise Digital as global CEO, the company announced on Thursday.
The news comes after a flurry of executive changes within the IPG Mediabrands network. Former Initiative global CEO Amy Armstrong last week announced her departure for a position at Amazon Ads, moving Dimitri Maex, Reprise Digital’s former CEO, into the global CEO role at Initiative.
Martin, who comes from Initiative as chief operating officer, moves into Maex’s old position at Reprise, which he had held since 2019.
“I am joining an agency that’s absolutely on fire,” Martin said. “It’s a proposition that’s resonating with clients. So first, it’s about protecting the magic we have — the product, people, point of view in the world and distinct culture.”
But Martin also sees opportunities to “cast a wider net” with performance marketing capabilities, leaning into AI and automation to free employees from rote tasks so they can focus on higher-level strategic work. Under Maex, Reprise brought Vincent Spruyt as chief AI officer in February 2021 to lead this agenda, and he’s been focused on automating reporting.
AI will also lead to differentiation for Reprise. A new tool, for instance, incorporates IPG Mediabrands’ responsible investment principles into media plans. Another uses AI for SEO copywriting.
“I would like for there to be a heavier focus on strategy,” Martin said. “Automation should be a tool used to free up people for more value-added tasks.”
At Initiative, Maex will continue to work closely with Martin and Reprise, which operates as the performance marketing speciality agency powering the “front-door” media shops within Mediabrands, Initiative and UM. Roughly 90% of Reprise’s work supports UM and Initiative, with teams referred to as “red stream” and “blue stream.” The agency does not pitch for business.
“We need the best pure-play performance marketing agency in the industry, but we also need a system to integrate that [expertise] in the most optimal way into Initiative,” Maex said. He added there is “alignment of incentives” with this model, as he now is responsible for performance of the entire “blue stream” team.
Keeping the agencies separate also allows Reprise to continue to recruit talent from outside of the agency world and “hardcore performance specialists,” Maex said.
In addition to leaning into Initiatives’ momentum and culture, Maex is also looking forward to increasing the agency’s focus on performance marketing as well as content, the latter by working more closely with the Mediabrands Content Studio.
Both leaders have a close eye on the talent crunch the industry is facing and are leaning toward hiring the best fit for open roles, regardless of geography.
“A lot of the joy has been sucked out of this industry through the pandemic,” Maex said. “People like working for agencies because they are dynamic environments where you meet interesting people. For young people, social lives revolve around work. All of that just disappeared. So we’re looking at, how can we bring back the joy with a hybrid model?”