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CHE Proximity creates unique data-led planning team



Melbourne agency CHE Proximity this week signalled its ambitions for strong growth, appointing four specialist planning heads, rather than a single executive planning director.

The bold move comes in response to the new marketing landscape where audience fragmentation, customer value and ROI have become more important drivers of strategy.

“Omnichannel marketing will be the focus for brands in 2013,” said CHE Proximity managing partner Chris Howatson. “For that reason, we’ve broken down the planning function to service what we see as the four major specialisations required: data, customer experience, interactive and brand.”

“Over the next three to five years we’re going to see further explosive growth in the accessibility of data and unprecedented access to people through technologies like NFC.”

Howatson believed many agencies weren’t equipped to take advantage of these developments. 

“The traditional planning structure doesn’t necessarily provide for the exploitation of data and technology in engineering modern customer experiences,” he said.

The new team includes two new appointments to the agency. Tony Chilvers, Head of Interactive Strategy and James Needham, Head of Brand Strategy join
James Greaney, Head of Data Insights and Susan Lyons as Head of Customer Experience.

Chilvers joins the team from a content marketing role at ANZ and will focus on the agency’s mobile, social and digital media offerings.
Needham arrives from TBWA Melbourne.

“James’ background at AMV BBDO adds an experienced voice from the perspective of brands,” said Howatson.

Greaney, who has extensive international experience on Sainsbury’s and with SAS, runs a team of data scientists who will identify actionable data insights.

Lyons delivers what many data offerings lack – taking the data insight and translating the opportunity to a personal and intimate customer experience.

“Her role recognises that when engineering loyalty experiences, we have to balance emotional and functional satisfaction, not just rush for the customer,” said Howatson.

The agency is starting to make an impact having picked up work from News Limited titles Eureka Report and Business Spectator, VicRoads Custom Plates, and new projects for Foxtel, GE and City of Melbourne.

“It’s going to be an interesting 24 months ahead,” said Howatson. “Data and technology are rapidly changing the marketing landscape and presenting opportunities that previously didn’t exist.”