About Mary Anne He, Head of Data & Insights at Havas Middle East

As Head of Data & Insights at Havas Middle East, Mary Anne is a client business partner in building comprehensive intelligence, data activation, and measurement solutions. She leads a team of talented analysts and strategists to support clients on budget allocation and forecasting, consumer and category insights, quantitative and qualitative research, real time marketing, site analytics, dashboarding and reporting, econometrics and modelling amongst other things.   

Dedicated to data-driven decision making, Mary Anne is especially passionate about pursuing a deeper understanding of consumer behaviours and creating consumer-centric strategies. Moreover, she is leading the continued integration of data & insights across the Village departments of media, creative and PR, breaking silos and enabling synergies across the disciplines. 

Originally an auditor and Chartered Accountant with KPMG Montreal, Mary Anne has taken an unusual route to advertising. She started her advertising career in Hong Kong with MEC (now Wavemaker), eventually moving to Red Fuse, an integrated agency serving Colgate-Palmolive. Her background in both communications and accounting helps her translate data into insights that inform decision and have a real business impact.

About her thoughts for the industry

One of the most exciting aspects of our industry is that change is the only constant. Everyday, the status quo is challenged by new technologies, new tools, new ideas, and rethinking, revamping, reinventing the way we work. As brands re-evaluate their communications for the new normal, these are the areas more brands are embracing in a real way. 

Balance Between the Tech and the Human

With AI becoming increasingly integrated into our marketing ecosystems, more clients are investing in deeper, ownable consumer insights. They build leadtime early in the ideation process, commissioning custom quantitative and qualitative research studies (both agile and extensive) that truly drive strategy, leading to richer campaign and activation ideas. We guide our clients in leveraging this “owned” data to boost specific brand perceptions/attributes, and above all, build credibility as category leaders. 

Set Up the Right Structures to Enable an Omnichannel Consumer Experience  

As the future of technology becomes more tangible, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever before. They expect brands to know them across touchpoints and devices over a seamless journey. But delivering on this omnichannel experience is hindered when different parts of the journey are assigned to different agencies across creative, media, social, PR and CRM. While clients worry about putting all their eggs in one basket, delivering a poor consumer experience is a bigger risk. As a part of the Havas Village,where we work across media, creative and PR, I’ve seen some of the best integrated campaigns come to life. The synergies that are created cannot happen when the client holds on to these silos. More clients are taking the leap, mitigating risk with a thorough RFP process and a gradual integration, consolidating parts of the business every few months. 

Strive for Meaningful 

75% of brands could disappear tomorrow without anyone caring, according to our Havas Global Meaningful Brands study. There are different dimensions of meaningful –functional, personal and collective– the importance of which varies by category. In this time of recovery, brands should take this opportunity to reflect where they stand and what they stand for. During this month where we celebrate both International Women’s Day and Mothers’ Day, I would like to highlight a campaign whose core insight resonated with me personally. Mercedes-Benz’s global film “Be One of Many” draws attention to the under-representation of women in male-dominated fields with a thought-provoking question: “What if women didn’t have to be exceptional? What if they didn’t have to be the first, the best or the only woman?” Perhaps in the future, we won’t need this special day to rally for our cause.