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An Interview with Kelly Dutton

President and Partner at Gaggi Media

October 23, 2014 Download PDF

As president and partner, Kelly Dutton leads Gaggi Media, a Toronto-based full-service media agency whose clients include The Globe and Mail; Holt Renfrew; SCENE, Cineplex’s loyalty card; Kao, the holding company for brands including John Frieda, Curél and Bioré; and the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). Gaggi handles the complete spectrum of media planning (digital and offline) and digital execution. The wholly independent agency has focused on integrated media buying and planning since its founding in 1992.

Can you tell us a little about your role?

Kelly Dutton: [Gaggi is] a small agency—there are 20 of us. Laura Gaggi is our CEO, and I’m the president. I work really closely with our vice president, Kirsten Carney. Between Kirsten and me, we service almost all of the executive roles you would find in any other agency, so we are the directors of client service, new business directors and often account directors depending on the client. We do the administration, HR and as a small company, we tend to be involved in everything.

We have a fairly serious mentoring culture at Gaggi, and Kirsten and I remain very involved in a lot of day-to-day training because it’s our style of doing business—that’s Gaggi’s way. I’ve been with the company for 20 years, so a lot of the culture that’s been built between Laura and me is sustained through my being very close to people in the office. It’s very different than a big company. Everybody in our office knows they can walk into my office at any given time.

What would you say are your three biggest priorities now, and also your biggest challenges?

Dutton: I would say keeping the new business pipeline open is incredibly important for us. We never have business that comes to us through a global relationship. Unfortunately, we sometimes lose business through no fault of our own, but through a global realignment. So you never know when something is going to disappear from your portfolio, but you also don’t know where it’s going to come from. We go out to potential clients that we don’t have a previous relationship with, and one of the ways we’ve been able to impress them has been by telling them what they don’t know they don’t know—if that makes sense. A lot of that information comes from properties like eMarketer.

Many clients have seen PMB Print Measurement Bureau, which is the Canadian version of MRI, but material that we glean from eMarketer is often really impressive and of interest to a client that hasn’t had access to that kind of information. So we obviously have a bunch of different ways that we try to keep that new business pipeline open. We try to build and foster relationships.

How has eMarketer helped you in your role at a small, independent agency?

Dutton: eMarketer data came across our desktop in a thousand different ways before we were subscribers. I looked into it more than once, but it was never affordable for a small agency. I found out recently at a conference where I met one of the account reps that there was a new, more affordable model, and we jumped on it immediately. I think we were signed up within a week. I really appreciate the new model because it absolutely works for us.

There are a lot of ways eMarketer helps us. Because we have a 360 approach, we need so much data when we’re proving anything. Our people need to know everything, from basic PMB runs, to the emerging technologies that eMarketer provides data on. Our people really appreciate the access because they are expected to have that kind of knowledge. It’s not always easy to have that at your fingertips, especially in Canada. A huge part of our job is educating clients about digital trends and emerging technologies and their actual usage. I think eMarketer works really hard for us in that way. You could spend a whole day with eMarketer and not even realize that you’ve lost a whole day just looking at all the amazing data that’s in there.

The way that eMarketer presents data in charts and infographics makes it less overwhelming for someone in the positions that we have, because we are looking at so much information—from the traditional planning side, the traditional buying side, the digital planning side and then the digital buying side. Being able to just grab a chart that speaks exactly to the proposition that you’re making to a client is amazing and such a time-saver.

Are there specific cases when you used eMarketer data to accomplish a goal?

Dutton: We recently put together an RFP on a tourism client—a US company that was interested in expanding into Canada. We found eMarketer absolutely invaluable because we knew that the data we were presenting was Canadian-focused, which the company probably hadn’t seen. We were able to bring that to life. We did a lot of comparisons with your data between US behaviors and US trends and US usage to specific Canadian trends and usage. It showed that we understood our market, but also that we understood how different we are from the US so that we can make the proper play here in Canada.

We don’t have access to MRI, so we can’t pull that kind of data for the US to be able to prove those points back and forth. But we do have access through eMarketer. This was probably one of the first new business pitches where we dug really deep into eMarketer.

Every day, eMarketer data comes into play when we’re looking at demographics and when we look at the mobile consumer, for example, or what consumers are doing in retail and ecommerce. It doesn’t matter whether they’re 18 or 35. This is the space that we need to play in.

Gaggi is a 20-person shop. Who has access to eMarketer?

Dutton: Right now, our senior staff has access—six people. Part of it is we’re a little afraid of some of our people getting lost in eMarketer and losing days to it. Our junior planners build their cases and their rationales, then the senior staff members come in with the eMarketer data to prove the cases, expand on the points they’re trying to make or rationalize [those] points. We may get to the point where we extend access to everyone.

What is the value of eMarketer to a small company like yours?

Dutton: Everyone in the country has access to the PMB data, so how do we stand out? Being able to bring the data that eMarketer is sourcing is great for us because clients and prospective clients aren’t seeing that from other agencies they’re pitching, or they’re not seeing that from their last agency. We’re able to be very impressive by bringing them new data. PMB comes out twice a year, so the data is six months old at least.

Quite often because we’re in Canada, there are pieces of research that come out that we don’t have control over, and we put them into a presentation. But data that’s a year old is ancient. Before we started working with eMarketer, we expended a lot of energy chasing down updated versions of existing data. The challenge is a piece of data from Deloitte in 2012 can absolutely perfectly tell a story that we need to tell, but in 2013, nobody wants to look at that data, because it feels irrelevant. The constant updates that we get from eMarketer help us keep that information in play.

eMarketer is also really valuable to us in that we can bring clients information not only about Canada, but from around the world. We have a lot of clients that are international, and they are being pressured from their UK office or their Japan office about mobile trends. eMarketer helps us battle those kinds of things.

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Kelly Dutton

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“eMarketer is also really valuable to us in that we can bring clients information not only about Canada, but from around the world.”

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