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816 Days … A Roadmap of Change

Originally posted on LinkedIn. If you want to view or comment there, here is the link.

In 2009 and 2010, I had a hand in developing a narrative and helping with the M&A activity that lead to the creation of Mediative. This became the national agency of Yellow Pages Canada. It was a company that was put together through a number of acquisitions which at the time allowed us to scale a national ad network business, shopper marketing business and enterprise services businesses. On January 6, 2014 I took over the role as President of Mediative.

This post is not about Mediative, but rather the story of my journey with the business and the lessons that I learned along the way. In 2013, Mediative was facing some big challenges. Many of the original founders of the acquired companies had left, many of the senior leadership had moved on, the AutoTrader property was no longer part of the portfolio (which eliminated high-valued display inventory), and the rest of the agency world had caught up when it came to data, programmatic and local based advertising. In addition, Yellow Pages Canada had just announced a new CEO, which meant there was a new corporate strategy to consider.

Despite all these challenges, the opportunity to lead the company through this transition came with a pretty impressive foundation to build from that included:

  • a 120+ person agency in 4 offices,
  • leading some of the most unique shopper marketing programs in Canada for the largest retailers,
  • still considered a leader in intent data for the purposes of programmatic advertising,
  • having one of the best enterprise SEM/SEO teams in Canada that serviced customers globally, and
  • having one of the best usability labs in the country

By April 2016, I had moved back to Yellow Pages core. By then I had successfully transformed Mediative into a different company. The Mediative team had accomplished our goals of growing digital revenue, generating profit, becoming masters at forecasting, changing the corporate culture and giving a new generation of leaders a chance to make their impact. It was an incredible journey.

When sharing my experiences at Mediative with other agency Presidents in Canada, US and Internationally, some key elements always seemed to resonate with people. I have summarized these below.

My time with Mediative consisted of a total of 816 days. I have divided this time into 4 distinct segments.

My first 100 Days

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