GroupM's just-announced [m]Platform, which will combine existing data, analytics and technology from all its agencies, will be immediately available in main Asia-Pacific markets including China, Australia and India, according to Michel de Rijk, who is stepping up as its APAC president.
De Rijk said the company has found a replacement for his APAC CEO role at Xaxis, which will be announced in the coming weeks. A reorganization is also in the works, he revealed. “There will be a succession plan and there will be a few people from Xaxis that will take on important roles within mPlatform,” he said.
The new division aims to "unify" data from hundreds of sources including demographics, technology usage, behavioural insights, purchase history, location data and more. However, this will vary by market "according to local regulations" and must be "privacy compliant".
Brian Gleason, the chief executive of Xaxis, GroupM’s digital media arm, is to become global chief executive of [m]Platform. A new global boss for Xaxis will be named at a later date.
The new division, which has been in the works for over a year, aims to create what the agency calls an ‘mID’—a piece of code that will act as an ID for consumers as they switch across any device or platform.
The idea to launch the new platform is linked very much to the success of Xaxis. “We have a lot of interesting technology in Xaxis, and clients would like to have that across their full media plan,” the CEO said.
Insiders at parent company WPP have been pushing for years for GroupM to work more closely with other groups within the holding company.
Some had privately expressed frustation at the slow pace of change, particularly when rival Omnicom’s data-led offering was stealing a march on WPP earlier this year in pitches.
"One client we talked to has been asking for something like this, and they seem really enthusiastic and they want to use it as quickly as possible," de Rjik said.
The launch is the second significant move by GroupM’s new global chief executive, Kelly Clark, after his appointment last month following a string of big account losses including Volkswagen Group and AT&T to Omnicom.
He also shook up MEC, one of GroupM’s four media-buying networks, bringing in Tim Castree as global chief executive of earlier this month.