Speaking on a panel at the Advertising Research Foundation conference, agency executives stressed the need for integrated data insights that allow true insight into consumer behavior. A holistic -- rather than piecemeal -- ROI emphasis was favored.
Romesh Wadhwani, who oversees Symphony Advanced Media, said there is too much emphasis on data and not enough on analysis. He referred to the conundrum as an “insights disconnect,” adding that “big data is not the answer, it’s the problem.”
Wadhwani is CEO of Symphony Technology Group, a private-equity operation, which invests in software and services companies from Netik, which helps the financial services industry, to Shopzilla.
He argued for more cross-channel research integration -- which Symphony looks to offer -- where there is a holistic ROI emphasis on TV, IPTV, in-store promotions, mobile, online, etc.
“We’ve got a serious challenge, and that’s how to connect all this together [with] one integrated set of insights,” he said.
Joining him on the ARF panel was Matthias Hartmann, CEO of Gfk, who joined Wadhwani’s call for synchronicity. Don’t “throw more piecemeal, more isolated data back at our clients” -- integration allows true insight into consumer behavior, he said.
Didier Truchot, CEO of Ipsos, argued that research entities should be able to bump aside consulting firms looking to get into the media insights and analytics business because of a certain neutrality they maintain. “We have nothing to [deliver] to our clients but information,” he said.
From a lower end, the research industry recently has seen an array of upstarts with would-be better mousetraps emerge. But Nielsen CEO David Calhoun said “cottage players” offer an opportunity both in terms of learnings and maybe acquisitions.
At Millward Brown, CEO Eileen Campbell said the company is looking to seed upstarts from within, encouraging employees to innovate and develop outside the usual channels. “We have skunkworks going on all over the company, where we say, “Go innovate, go play’ … come up with ideas that five guys in a garage might have,” she said.