Media Insights Q&A With Experian Simmons' Ken Wollenberg


Ken Wollenberg, president/general manager of Experian Simmons, has a range of measurement experience from MRI to Nielsen to Arbitron, which led to his current position at Simmons. In my interview with him. Ken talks about the pros and cons of STB data measurement, research quality, and the modeling and hybridization of STB data and other big data sets -- especially as it applies to Experian and the future of media. Ken also discusses the development of Simmons Connect, a new cross-platform media planning service that links consumers’ consumption of eleven traditional and digital media platforms, including mobile, to rich behavioral, attitudinal and lifestyle information, including brand preferences.

Below is an excerpt of the interview. Click here to see it in full.

CW: I’ve heard that Experian is developing a way to take Internet data and develop a cross-platform measurement tool from it.



KW: We are now at a watershed moment in our industry, as we all work to understand the impact of technology and media on consumer behavior.  As the silos break down between consumers’ use of digital and traditional media, it is imperative that tools be developed to provide our clients with the measures needed to understand and account for investments against these behaviors.

What Simmons Connect will do is use passive measurement procedures to gather people’s activities on their PCs, their tablet computers and on their mobile phones -- and bring them together with the 60,000 variables that Simmons collects in the National Consumer Study, including that of traditional media.

The end result will be a robust look at cross-platform media behaviors within the context of the consumer’s complete set of behaviors. This will be done on a syndicated basis, published quarterly and placed within the boundaries of the complete planning, buying and selling processes.

CW: You speak of age and gender as “surrogate” demographics. Do you think we will eventually get away from age and gender as standard measurement demographics?

KW: It really depends on how sophisticated the complete system is. One of the reasons we stay with age and gender is the simplicity of it and the ability to carry it through the entire process, including any post-analysis.

It is this simplicity that must be overcome. I think that as new generations of planners and buyers and sellers come in and there is a greater demand for accountability, the means will be found to bring this more robust measure, as well as other more direct and focused measures, into play -- and we will slowly move away from age and sex. At the end of the day, behavior predicts behavior, not age and sex.

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