Sonic Boom hires first-ever CMO

Jonathan Levitt aims to disrupt the typical ad agency model with the shop's data-first focus.

Sonic Boom Creative Media has hired its first CMO, Jonathan Levitt, who is looking to shake up the traditional ad agency model with the shop’s data-first approach.

Planning to work out of Sonic Boom’s Montreal and Toronto offices, Levitt jumped into his new role last week after leaving his post as CMO customer analytics firm OpinionLab. He has held various marketing leadership positions over the years and worked with brands such as Walmart, P&G and Google.

His new position will see him working to build awareness for the agency, its growth strategy and brand management, he says.

“We’re looking to grow the business pretty aggressively,” he says. “I think a big part of my job over the next several months is going to be to really plant our flag in the market as more of a customer experience agency, if you will, than a traditional ad agency.”

Sonic Boom has not had much of a marketing strategy in the past, he explains, and has undertaken several overhauls over the years. Most recently, the agency, which has offices in Montreal, Toronto and London U.K., switched gears about three years ago when it brought in two new partners, moving focus from digital to more holistic communications, positioning itself as a customer experience agency, he says. And where a traditional agency might use “shiny toys and fancy creative,” the shop is guided by research and measurement.

“My vision is really to break the existing schema associated with the traditional ad agency,” he says. “The paradigm shift we’re seeing in the space is really about moving from monologue to dialogue. Allowing data to drive that strategy is really where I focus.”

For Levitt, his new position allows him to take his work with analytics a step further, he says.

“One of disconnects for me was that as a vendor [in my previous position], we were delivering this incredible data stream to marketers but we weren’t really involved in helping them then take that data and drive strategy for their own brand,” he says. “So I didn’t really feel like I was helping the customer experience from start to finish. I was delivering a set of insight and a data stream that was very unique and interesting for these brands, but then ultimately it was their responsibility to take that data, go away and make something happen.

“This is an opportunity for me to really continue to preach the gospel that I’ve been preaching most of my career, but to now have a strategic relationship with these brands so that we can help take them from A to B.”