COLOGNE – Clients want their agencies to be as far upstream as possible in the planning process and are taking a more holistic approach to performance goals, says Vittorio Bonori, Global Brand President of Zenith, which is “obsessed” with performance.

“Because for the first time commerce and communication are converging, we can really track performance along the entire journey. Leveraging new digital technologies, we are delivering solutions in a new space which we call real-time marketing,” Bonori says.

One of the industry’s earliest media agencies, Zenith rebranded itself in 2002 to assume an ROI positioning. About a year ago, it re-launched its network brand identity, proposition and platforms with the term ROI+, Bonori explains in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent DMEXCO conference.

In simple terms, ROI+ rests on three pillars, the first of which is the designing of a “digital transformation journey and agenda for the clients, helping them fix specific business challenges,” says Bonori. “It’s all about understanding what is the value.”

The second is a planning base where, among other insights that are surfaced, “we detect an expectation gap. Because Amazon is the new norm, the expectation level is very high. Unfortunately, brands are struggling. They really need to improve the way they are designing experiences.”

Third is one-to-one optimization using machine learning algorithms, something Zenith began to harness several years ago. “We are now scaling this solution and we have a very powerful platform for that, and it’s really helping clients to automate partially or completely the end-to-end customer journey.”

As media agencies have continued to evolve their offerings, they want to be seen less as vendors and more like partners, according to Bonori. “T he degree of cooperation has expanded a lot, clients are building more capabilities inside, which is good because we have more stakeholders challenging us, raising the bar, making sure we can really elevate the conversation. You need to partner in a different way.”

Agency clients still may foster barriers that can complicate the partnership, for example at companies where teams remain disconnected. “It’s a disaster because there’s no one single truth in terms of culture within the organization.”

This interview is part of a series titled Advertising Reimagined: The View from DMEXCO 2018, presented by Criteo. Please find more videos from the series here.