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Prentice Guides Research at Starcom

Dec 19, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Try not to picture Grant Prentice, the new research head at Starcom USA, in a white lab coat.
Although he began his career as a research analyst, he’s more interested in explaining new data than generating it.
“My core competency is talking to those people and helping to translate, helping to take all those great ideas, all that great information, and making it mean something,” Mr. Prentice said.
After starting in the ad agency business, Mr. Prentice held client-side marketing posts with Monsanto and Dairy Management before launching his own marketing consulting company.
“I would say I’m a research guy who knows a lot about what marketing folks are looking for,” Mr. Prentice said. “I’ve worn those shoes, looked at it from that perspective, and maybe have a better idea than other research people that maybe have not held those positions.”
As senior VP and director of connections research and analytics, Mr. Prentice will have all of Starcom’s research units reporting to him, including those that sift syndicated data, those that do television research and online analytics and those that do data modeling to measure campaigns.
The idea is to more effectively use all the information to which Starcom has access.
“There’s a recognition that we’re on an evolutionary process where the impact of the digital environment and digital-level data, second-by-second data, is going to grow, and we’re going to have to be even more carefully, thoughtfully organized around making use of that information flow.”
Mr. Prentice said he was interested in joining Starcom because the agency puts a great deal of emphasis on innovation and using new tools for its clients.
“Working in a department that plays a key role in that—that was the primary attraction,” he said.
Born in Scotland, Mr. Prentice came to the U.S. with his family when he was 13. They lived in New Jersey for three years and then moved to the Midwest. He’s spent most of his life in the Chicago area.
At the University of Illinois, Mr. Prentice studied advertising and psychology. He also worked at the school radio station, where, in addition to doing an on-air show, he was commercial production director.
He knew he wasn’t going to be a salesman, or a finance person, but he thought he was good at solving problems. He got his start as a research analyst in the strategic planning unit at DMB&B in St. Louis, which launched him on a career that took him through Tatham Laird & Kudner, then to Monsanto and then Dairy Management.
Mr. Prentice is married with three children, sons 15 and 16 years old and a 12-year-old daughter. “That’s where I like to spend a lot of my free time,” he said.
He’s also a runner and has participated in four Chicago marathons.
Mr. Prentice said he enjoys “popular music” and going to concerts. The Foo Fighters are “one of my top bands at the moment,” he said.
Who Knew: Since he doesn’t have an accent, most people are surprised to discover that Mr. Prentice is from Scotland. In fact, he named his consulting company St. Andrews Consulting, after the town in which he was born. St. Andrews is also the home of golf. “One would expect, given my heritage, that I would play a much better game than I do,” he said. “I love to play. I’m just not particularly good.”

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