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It is now time to turn the spotlight onto global media agency MediaCom, an agency which has five offices across the UK, including Manchester's MediaCom North.  

MediaCom UK plan and buy media for some of the country's biggest advertisers, such as Sky, Volkswagen, DFS, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter and Gamble and Universal.

They work across all traditional, new and emerging media, from TV, to Digital, Print to Content, Out of Home to Mobile and Sponsorship to Search. 

Rob Weatherhead 

Representing MediaCom North is Digital Operations Director, Rob Weatherhead. Rob has been working with MediaCom for over 2 years, having previously worked at Latitude Digital Marketing. Rob was named in Media Week's '30 under 30' in 2011.

Rob is a contributing author for the Guardian Media Network, Econsultancy and Haymarket Publications. In addition, he has a passion for all things digital and is a regular speaker at events such as Fresh Business Thinking, Business North West and SAScon

Hello Rob, and thank you for letting us interview you for our Digital Agency Showcase. What is your main job role and responsibility within MediaCom?

I am the Digital Operations Director for the MediaCom iLab function based out of Manchester. It is a centralised digital department which services MediaCom offices in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin delivering strategies for our clients across PPC (pay per click), SEO (search engine optimisation), Affiliate, Display and Technology.

As Operations Director, my role is to ensure the teams are delivering digital strategies for our clients, which not only meet the brief, but are also at the forefront of the market in terms of thinking and innovation.

Aside from client strategies, I am also responsible for ensuring our technology solutions set us apart from our competitors and deliver real added value to our clients and staff. 

2. Please could you pick a case study from 2012, and explain why you have chosen it to represent MediaCom's work?

I have chosen to highlight the work we completed for National Tyres on their local strategy. This case study stands out as it won an award at the 2012 UK Search Awards. It is also a great example of where superb results can be achieved without the need for huge budgets and where, with a little bit of innovative thinking, search can deliver in different ways based on a client's needs.

3. What brief were you initially supplied with, and what objectives did the MediaCom team devise when briefed?

The brief provided by the client was deliberately open ended, 'how can we use search to support our local branch network.'

National Tyres historical media strategy had centred predominantly around regional press to generate branch awareness. Whilst successful in some areas it came with a reasonably high cost per customer.

In addition, advances such as mobile Internet has provided consumers access to information wherever they are, and if a consumer needs a tyre urgently they would look to find a local provider on their mobile.

Mediacom was challenged with putting together a strategy, which made the most of this changing consumer behaviour.

4. What campaign strategy did the agency devise to answer the brief and objectives that were set?

The objectives of the campaign were four fold: capitalise on the growing use of local search to find tyre providers, provide a greater performance than regional press activity, drive calls from mobile sites directly to the local branch network and reach people that are in need of a tyre urgently at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. 

MediaCom put together a strategy consisting of: a local search campaign based around the branch network, effective planning around key times of tyre purchases, and an effective localised user journey which allows for direct contact with the branch and local level offers which could be redeemed in branch.

5. How did MediaCom implement the campaign strategy?

In order to reach people in the right location, we set up geo-targeted campaigns around the catchment area of each branch involved, and this supported the regional press activity using complementary messages.

Advertisements were targeted to the location of the searcher and ad extensions in the form of maps further enhanced the local appeal. This also enabled distressed users to get directions to their nearest National Tyres, and further helping those that may find themselves in distress in an unfamiliar area.


Ad-scheduling was implemented on all of the geo-targeted campaigns to take into account a number of factors:

Typically National Tyres would see an influx of interest at lunchtime and after 7pm during the week so increased bids were put in place at these times to make best use of a relatively limited budget.

Monday and Tuesday were the two high-volume days were we typically saw a 40% uplift in conversion to customer calls. Advertisement bids were significantly higher on these days to capitalise on this trend.

Working alongside our print team we were able to co-ordinate tactical increases in CPCs (cost per click) in line with our press activity being distributed to capitalise on any potential brand awareness benefit.

In addition, click to call extensions - which enable customers to directly call from the numbers on mobile sites - allowed for a direct call through to National branch from mobile devices further playing to the needs of the mobile searcher.  This saw a huge impact with over 100 direct calls per month generated through click to call alone representing over 7% of overall call volumes. 

Bespoke, mobile friendly, landing pages, were created to specifically target branch location, gave customers the details they needed including maps and directions.  In addition unique 0800 numbers directed them straight to the relevant branch should they wish to follow up by phone. 

As a final incentive to use National Tyres over a competitor and in support of National Press activity, bespoke offers based on branch locations were displayed in both the PPC (pay per click) advertisements copy and the landing pages. 

Specific offers for individual branches such as "20% off Exhausts in Portsmouth" or "50% off MOTs in Kingston" could all be followed through in branch and tailored to an individual branch managers' needs and pricing strategy.  

These offers could be redeemed in branch simply by displaying the offer coupon on the mobile phone.

6. Could you tell us what results were derived from the campaign strategy, and any positive feedback that MediaCom received from the campaign?

The PPC (pay per click) advertisement activity was a success from launch, driving calls at a cost 70% cheaper than regional press across the five initial test branches. Due to this positive performance the activity was expanded to include a further 13 branches, and this generated over 1,300 calls per month direct into branch.

Local PPC (pay per click) advertisements now forms part of the launch strategy for any new branches introduced by National Tyres as the client considers location based advertising key to the success of their branch network.

7. Could you give a top tip to any perspective digital marketing candidates who would like to work in an agency like MediaCom?

Love digital, and keep learning.  The people who do well within an agency environment love what they do, and keep looking for ways to learn and do things better.  If you are looking for an easy life, then an agency probably isn't for you.  But if you are looking for an environment where you can learn quickly, have variety in your work and be rewarded based on performance then an agency can be a great place to work.

The Candidate's Summary:

Here at The Candidate we are extremely impressed by the great use of local within this campaign. MediaCom took a challenging task, and overcame it with great results. It definitely deserved the award at the UK Search Awards.

We would like to thank MediaCom North and Rob for taking part in the Digital Agency Showcase, and we hope they continue to win at what they do.


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