Merolle: An Interview with my Lofts Coach

James Olney (left) — Data Strategy Director, Havas Media Group, London and Christopher Merolle (right) — Director, Marketing Analytics & Data Consulting, Havas Media New York

An interview with my Havas Lofts coach, Christopher Merolle — Director, Marketing Analytics & Data Consulting in Havas Media New York.

About my coach..

Mets or Yankees?

METS (Actually went to a game last night. There is nothing else like Summer baseball in New York.) My other allegiances lie with New York City FC, New York Rangers, and the New York Jets.

Favourite meal?

All about BBQ lately since it’s Summer, especially after heading to the Big Apple BBQ Festival last weekend and Austin, Texas last month.

Favourite beer?

Allagash Tripel is one of my favorites, but always down to try different craft brews.

Havas Media..

What’s your ‘Havas Story’?

I knew very little about Havas heading into an internship at Media Contacts (the old name for the digital arm of Havas Media) during the Summer of 2010. I enjoyed my internship in the Analytics department, kept in touch with the team during my senior year of college, and was able to secure a full time position starting in 2011. I have been with Havas ever since, for six years full time now.

Tell me about your job. What are your responsibilities?

I lead the NFL account from an analytics perspective. I am focused on addressing client questions and helping them meet their business objectives. Me and my team are dedicated to delivering campaign success through constant reporting and optimization.

What did you do yesterday?

Probably attended numerous internal and external meetings to ensure that we are prepared to tackle our 6th season working with the NFL. I also attended class after work, as I am finishing up my last course as part of the Master’s of Integrated Marketing program at NYU.

What do you like most about your job?

The constantly evolving digital media landscape, as there is always something to learn. It certainly keeps my role in digital advertising measurement interesting.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Repetitive, but the constantly evolving digital media landscape. At the agency side, we need to be at the forefront of changes that are occurring and what is being discussed in the press. We need to be prepared to keep our clients aware of changes in the marketplace and address their questions on a daily basis.

What makes working at Havas different from working at other agencies?

The opportunities that are available to employees. The Havas Lofts program is a great example of this because it rewards top performing employees that have been loyal to the agency. The Havas leadership team understands that the agency need to help foster career development.

Our Industry..

What is the biggest story in the industry at the moment?

Keeping digital advertising relevant and non-intrusive, especially with a younger generation. There is a constant talk of ad blocking and creating better ad experiences to help counter a possible rise in the usage of ad blockers, particularly with Google and Apple who have announced their plans to have ads blocked in the Chrome and Safari browsers respectively.
Another huge story is how to connect and compare different platforms when companies are increasingly embracing a “walled garden” approach. This makes it extremely difficult to compare how Facebook may be performing compared to YouTube and Snapchat ads.

How does the future look to you?

The future of online advertising looks bright, but it is often hard to predict. I find it funny that every year seems to be proclaimed the year of mobile, social, programmatic, or big data. In reality, no one really knows what will change or happen this year.
From an analytics standpoint, I think our team will continue to be relied on by clients from a more strategy and consultancy standpoint moving forward.

What skill set do you look for in a new hire?

Problem solving skills, curiosity, thirst for knowledge, and drive for success. Sometimes the best skills are the intangibles.

Havas Lofts..

Where did you go on your Lofts experience?

London, UK office (before the recent move to the new Havas Village) as part of the 2nd Havas Lofts class in June 2015

What did you enjoy about it?

Experiencing how Havas is very similar yet very different in another part of the world. I met some great people, some of whom I still keep in touch with. I also got to explore London to its fullest as a tourist during my time there. The old historical pubs were definitely my favorite.

What didn’t you enjoy?

Having to leave London after an awesome 4 week experience.

What did you take away? Did it change your perception or view of anything?

I took away from being in London that someone saying “Are you alright?” means “How’s it going?” or “What’s up?” instead of you not looking good or something being wrong. But in all seriousness, I had a great coach (Ben Dudley) myself when I was in the London office who was able to show me the ropes. I met some amazing people, and learned the nuances of the UK market as well as how the teams interact internally.

One piece of advice for Lofters?

Hit the ground running as those 4 weeks go by so fast. Create a list of things that you want to do on your nights and weekends outside of the office. Definitely prioritize or you are going to run out of time to do everything you want to experience!

One piece of advice for Coaches?

Introduce your Lofts participant to as many people as you can and help to get them quickly acclimated to their new environment. Also, be open to things that you can take away from your Lofter and not just ideas that they can learn from you.

Thanks to Chris for his time and honest answers.

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