Mark your calendars. Next week (June 14-16) is the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement conference: a must-attend event for our industry’s researchers. After declaring the Measurement Mandate last year, ARF’s President and CEO Gayle Fuguitt has chosen “Translating Talk Into Action” as this year’s conference theme, stating the need for an actionable leadership mandate where insights and analytics leaders will need to reinvent themselves in order to be relevant.
The conference will offer panels of seemingly unlikely pairs -- companies operating in the same measurement space -- as a way for the industry to truly parse all of the different measurement initiatives in cross-platform. The conference is on the verge of being sold out, but I have been told that there will be sessions streamed on the ARF website for those who cannot make the conference in person.
This is an excerpt of a longer interview. The full video can be viewed here.
CW: What are some of the highlights to expect next week?
GF: We have important keynotes. Arianna Huffington is going to be talking about both her book “Thrive” (which is really relevant for us in research) and the way she re-invented herself when publishing, consumer connections and journalism itself had changed.
Lynn Power, CEO JWT, is going to be speaking about translating big data into creative connections to consumers. I love that: it is the combination of art and science. Everyone is trying to figure out what to do with big data, and she has created an important treatise about how to take insights from big data and translate [them] into creative ideas to make better consumer connections.
The speaking sessions are going to be more panels this year rather than individual speakers. It is a combination of groundbreaking research, with David Poltrack (chief research officer, CBS) and Leslie Wood (chief research officer, Nielsen Catalina Solutions) using new technology in an interactive questioning system.
Artie Bulgrin (senior vice president, global research & analytics, ESPN) will be moderating a panel that will give a call-to-action for the industry with a provocative point of view — I won’t give it away here. This panel will have, for the first time that I can remember, all of the players… that are formerly known as competitors, who will share their cross-platform measurement solutions.
CW: What is the ARF’s Measurement Mandate?
GF: The ARF’s Measurement Mandate is actually a leadership mandate that translates talk into action. That is the theme of our conference. We are looking for common GRP, common ROI metrics, so that we can compare measurement across platforms. That is critically important.
We are looking for decision-timed, C-suite-friendly communication, which is a leadership mandate, and we are looking for new solutions, experimentation and experiential learning. Everyone has to share.
What I have discovered in this job in the past two years is that there are amazing things going on in the industry — and we have presented a number of those on our stage — but not everyone has seen the others’ solutions. The feeling in the industry now is that we really haven’t made progress in cross-platform measurement. So our mandate is to define and articulate what the principles of measurement are, and what they need to be.
CW: The conference has been in Times Square for as long as I can remember. But this year the conference is downtown. Why?
GF: We are going downtown! We need a fresh view and a fresh approach. The thing I really love about the Conrad Hotel is that it faces the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
We have done surveys, and people say that these are the most complex times in over 50 years in advertising and the research and analytics industry. And so what place to be better inspired than overlooking the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Freedom Tower? It reminds us that even in times of great stress and change, there are opportunities and inspiration. It puts it all into perspective.