"The new post basically gives me another vantage point from which to view the industry," said Tobaccowala--who co-founded the digital communications agency Starcom IP, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group, and also is president of innovations unit SMG Next.
Coming from an agency background, Tobaccowala expects that Revenue Science's publisher-centric focus will provide him with a different angle on the industry as a whole. Behavioral targeting systems such as Revenue Science contract with publishers to combine demographic and user behavior data so that marketers send ads to the users considered most likely to purchase their products.
"In a world where it's going to become more and more difficult to reach people, this is a very interesting way to target them," Tobaccowala said. Marketers have always tried to reach consumers by aligning ad messages to their passions--but, he said, "we used to do it obliquely."
Bill Gossman, president and CEO of Revenue Science, said Tobaccowala's traditional agency-side experience and leadership will help the company make strategic decisions. "His insights on everything from how off-line media dollars will migrate online to digital media convergence will be tremendous assets," he said.
The Internet has had three key effects on media consumption, said Tobaccowala. First, the Web has limited programmers' control over how content is consumed, because viewers can now call up programming instead of waiting for it. In addition, the Internet allows for the collection of information for greater targeting, measurement, and ultimately, relevance.
These factors, he said, will lead to more compartmentalized consumption. What's more, marketers will one day need to draw from consumers' demonstrated passions across all media in order to be relevant to them. He expects that consumers will accept behavioral targeting because it can provide them with more relevant ads--but only if their privacy is protected.
Tobaccowala has 21 years of marketing and strategy experience. From 1996 to 1998, he was the president of Giant Step, Leo Burnett's interactive subsidiary. Prior to that, he was director of Leo Burnett's Interactive Marketing Group, as well as director of direct marketing.