Francine Marcotte says good-bye to Cossette Media

After nearly four decades the SVP announces her retirement, offering some insight into what's changed, and what will always be true about the industry.

These days, it is rare that anyone in any industry can boast a 40-year career, let alone one spent at the same company, but Francine Marcotte has always been a bit of trailblazer and after 37 years with Cossette Media, the SVP is retiring.

Marcotte is the first to admit the industry she started in in 1982 is virtually unrecognizable now. When the transformation of digital media hit in the early aughts, expenditures represented just 1% at Cossette, and now are close to 50%, she tells MiC. “It’s a big, big revolution,” she says. And it’s not just that the channels of investment have changed – it’s influenced the ways in which brands communicate. “With the involvement of big data, brands have to speak individually to the consumer.”

Still, some facets remain as important as ever, Marcotte says, pointing to the need for passion, creativity and an open-mindedness to continually challenge and innovate, core values of her own work ethic. “Those are things that I tried to apply throughout the years,” she says. “That’s how media has evolved. And this is what I loved about this profession.”

In a joint statement, Pierre Delagrave, head of Vision7′s Innovation Group, Joseph Leon, CEO of Vision7 Media and president of Cossette Media and Axel Dumont, senior VP and general manager of Cossette Media, Quebec and East commended Marcotte’s “fierce loyalty” to both the agency and the industry in Canada. The trio said many of today’s industry leaders have benefited from strong relationships in which she understood “the importance of preparing the next generation.”

To hear Marcotte tell it, Delagrave was the mentor, one whose trust she had from the beginning and from whom she learned the importance of maintaining her vision. Arriving as a media buyer and rising within the ranks to an executive role, Marcotte knows a thing or two about a constantly evolving landscape. “Media have invested a lot of money in content and in technology as well,” she says. And, for every success along the way, she believes there have been just as many challenges. Solving them requires niche expertise, but also those with overarching knowledge of the industry at large.

“To be successful, you have to have the spirit of an entrepreneur as well as the drive to overachieve objectives, to reinvent, always reinvent and be the leader of new ways of working in media,” she says. “But, at the same time, we need the consumer and the advertiser. They need results, they need to be able to follow the performance of their campaigns.” And a good dose of humour, she adds, chuckling. “I’ve always worked and negotiated with partners but at the same time the humour was always there.”

Preparation for retirement has been a plan some two years in the making for Marcotte, who is ready to become more of a media consumer. “I had the chance to slow down and be prepared,” she says. “Now I can have a different eye on this.”