Dentsu Aegis opens big data consulting shop in Toronto

Data2Decisions wants to help marketers optimize big-picture strategy

Neil Weitzman, Canada managing partner, Data2Decisions

Data2Decisions, a marketing data and analytics group owned by the Dentsu Aegis Network, has opened an office in Toronto.

The consulting practice helps marketers make data-informed decisions about their marketing investments and media budgets. Using data analysis and statistical modelling, Data2Decisions helps companies evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing strategy and maximize ROI.

“It’s a marketing effectiveness consultancy, which is a fancy way of saying we use data and analytics to help companies get more out of their marketing spend,” said Neil Weitzman, SVP data and analytics for Dentsu Aegis Canada and managing partner for Data2Decisions. “Quite bluntly, it’s just understanding how to use analytics so you understand how to better spend your money.”

Weitzman said Data2Decisions helps clients grow revenue through improved marketing practices and reduce costs through efficiency, leading to net gains that can be worth 2-5% of revenue, or tens of millions for large companies.

In one case study with a U.S. auto manufacturer, Weitzman said the firm recommended changes that would grow the client’s business 8% year-over-year by optimizing its marketing spend across its brand portfolio — increasing spend on opportunity brands and cutting back spend on those that didn’t benefit as much from marketing.

Dentsu acquired Data2Decisions in 2012, around the same time as its $5 billion acquisition of Aegis was announced. The U.K.-based big data firm has since been expanded to the U.S., APAC, and now Canada.

The new Canadian office will work closely with Dentsu Aegis Canada, both supporting Dentsu clients and offering its services on a standalone basis.

According to a recent survey by Marketing and Acuity Ads, 91% of Canadian marketers think data analytics are important to their business, but only 48% have implemented analytics in the past three months.

Weitzman said it’s largely because agencies and experts haven’t been leading the way for their clients. “There haven’t been enough great organizations out there pushing marketers,” said Weitzman. “That’s what we’re going to do.”

Weitzman was brought on three months ago to launch the business. In the long-term, he will also work on developing Dentsu Aegis’ data, analytics, and media buying capabilities. Previously he led a Centre of Excellence at Rogers Media focused on audience insights and media analytics; before that he was a VP at Nielsen.

Data2Decisions Toronto currently employs three dedicated staff. Weitzman said it’s already working with several Canadian clients, though he could not disclose them.

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