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50 Leading Companies of the Year 2021

Scale your business through performance media and achieve maximized ROI with Icon Media Direct, a leading brand response media agency


In the highly competitive world, we live in, advertisers are searching frantically for new ways to fill the advertising space more efficiently. Marketing budgets are generally used up in conventional mediums and emerging media, which creates a void in developing a message. Branding in marketing plays an important part, but marketers are finding it very difficult to find metrics that can justify the spending. The marketers solve this issue by using effective brand response campaigns. Branded marketing is used by marketers to raise awareness of a brand among different demographics. Exposure to brands heavily influences consumer’s purchase decisions, and this helps them decide whether their values align more when compared to another.

There are various marketers globally who excel in brand response campaigns, but Icon Media Direct stands out from the rest. Icon Media Direct is a leading brand response media agency obsessed with maximizing ROI for its clients. The company was founded by Nancy Lazkani, who started her media career as a direct response media buyer 30 years ago. She started her career at a time when anyone who was labeled a “direct response media buyer” did not qualify as the “gold standard” of advertising. They were the black sheep of the industry, laughed at and mocked by the big brand agencies. Although Nancy never worked for David Ogilvy, heralded as the “Father of Advertising,” she related to his philosophy on advertising. In a 1985 speech to DMA attendees, he said, “I predict that the practitioners of general advertising are going to start learning from direct response advertisers’ experience. They’re going to start picking their brains... the direct response was my first love... and later it became my secret weapon.” He was right, and so was she, evidenced by Nancy’s meteoric rise at the helm of Icon Media Direct over the past 21 years.

Today, her company represents many disrupters and iconic performance-based advertisers, companies like Proactiv, Nutrisystem, TrueCar, and WellCare, just to name a few. Icon Media Direct’s philosophy is centered on the accountability of driving positive ROI campaigns for its clients. As the industry has evolved, so has Icon Media Direct’s measurement technology, which includes some of today’s industry-leading media attribution tools and platforms, such as WebTraxx® and M3SolverTM. While Icon Media Direct has always understood the science of direct response, the art of triggering consumers to act remains fundamentally the same as it has been for the past 30 years. Icon Media Direct’s rich history of blending the art and data science is what separates them as a brand response agency, a combination that is imperative to thrive in today’s media environment.

In conversation with Nancy Lazkani, CEO of Icon Media Direct

Q. How do you maintain the idea of exclusivity for brand response through marketing?

Brand response is perfectly positioned to present and highlight the exclusivity of a brand. That is because, in successful brand response, a brand must clearly and convincingly demonstrate the unique value that their brand brings to a consumer. This compelling blend of audio and visual messaging is central to how a brand attains exclusivity. Combined with strong reasons to believe, effective brand response messaging will not only demonstrate exclusivity but also act as a strong motivator for consumers to take action and visit, join, buy or download.

Q. For any brand, a well-developed brand story is a necessity in defining its products not just as commodities. What are the key factors in a successful brand story?

Simply put, Demosuasion® elements; messaging components that demonstrate a brand’s unique selling proposition in a way that persuades consumers to take action. Presenting the unique value that a brand delivers for its consumers in a light that differentiates it from its competitors. It orientates them on how a brand is a solution to a problem, a better “mousetrap,” if you will. It creates an emotional tie that speaks to the true benefit of what the product will bring to a consumer’s every-day life in a straightforward way that one can connect with immediately. If a brand’s benefit is subliminal or too complicated to understand, it will be challenging to maintain a strong connection with the audience. And finally, an impactful, well-developed brand story should be memorable, something that will stick in the consumer’s mind and can be recalled when they are ready to make a buying decision.

Q. Tell us about the contribution of new technology for the success of your business.

The single largest investment at Icon over the past ten years has been in our own proprietary technological developments, specifically as it relates to attribution and media optimization. For 21 years, performance measurement and media flexibility have been the lifeblood of the organization’s success. Icon’s data science and business intelligence teams have built best-in-class automation and attribution models, empowering the human element to be the best possible stewards of clients’ media dollars in today’s fragmented media marketplace. As we develop new data products, machine learning technology has allowed us to run thousands of data scenarios in minutes, leading to customizable and optimized paths forward for each individual use case.

Q. What does the future hold for Icon Media Direct and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

Icon’s future is vast and bright as we continue to bring the most innovative solutions to clients in linear and connected TV to help them grow and evolve with the mediathesiliconreview-nancy-lazkani-ceo-icon-media-direct-21 landscape. With the surge of direct response advertisers over the past decade and the growth of direct-to-consumer buying habits, Icon’s ability to deliver campaigns that deliver positive sales growth and positive ROI is more relevant now than ever before. Across the diverse mix of industries Icon’s clients represent, the common thread throughout is the reliance on accountable media, delivered with transparency and reliability. Data analytics and attribution are the core of how Icon delivers successful results to clients repeatedly; Icon will continue to leverage its experience with emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and ACR to make its mark on the direct response industry in the years ahead.

Meet the leader behind the success of

Icon Media Direct

Nancy Lazkani is the CEO of Icon Media Direct. Nancy has an incredible drive to succeed and equally a drive to do what is right. This combination creates someone who is always challenging the process and encouraging clients, employees, and partners to push the limits. She values the relationships and even when there are challenges to overcome, instituting a culture from the top down to always look at the truth and the story behind the data. With that philosophy, the Icon team will continue to take calculated risks and methodically push the limits to success at scale. This identity creates trusted relationships and unbreakable bonds with its partners. Relentless in her pursuit to maximize results for Icon’s clients, she is never comfortable or complacent, pushing innovation and staying on the forefront of marketing technology to ensure that irrelevance and obsolescence are two words that do not find their way into the Icon dictionary. This resilience and fearlessness have allowed Icon to remain the gold-standard in performance marketing for over two decades.

“We are fueled by data analytics and attribution and empowered by the relationships we have built with our clients and partners.”