Q&A With 'Data Junkie, SocialCode's Todd Parsons

Todd Parsons joined SocialCode as chief product officer less than two months ago. The self-proclaimed "data junkie" likes to analyze zetabytes of data -- but more importantly, it's about how the data gets used by brands to connect with consumers.

At SocialCode, Parsons spends time thinking about about how to decode the experience across platforms and target consumers that spend most of their time on many more than one channel. It's not just about taking data and decoding strategies, but rather creating the message that makes sense both in Snapchat and Facebook. He said it's about providing insight to execute the strategy so it's not just "vanity" metrics coming out the other end.

DTI: What will advertising, marketing and targeting look like within the next five years?

TP:  I think it will be more sense- and response-based, meaning the orchestration of outbound messages or inbound marketing will become so difficult to manage that brands will navigate toward wanting to know more about customers' behavior and how to take events like time and location to deliver the answer.



DTI: In what other ways are you thinking about IoT devices and data?

TP:  I think about how ID-based access to data extends to media, but brands are really stuck in things like connecting CRM files to social platforms. They still want to work with partners who have the vision to understand how IoT can be used as a signal, but most are not there yet.

DTI: You wake up at two o'clock in the morning and cannot get back to sleep. What are some of the things related to data and tech that keep you up the rest of the night? 

TP:  It depends on the night. More esoterically, [I think about] how automation and artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the world we live in. I think about that on a very big level. On a smaller level I think about the difficult aspects of accelerating and how companies can experiment. Companies want to innovate, but many are not built for it. So you need to come up with a better way of delivering it.

DTI: When you look at advertising today, what square piece do brands try to fit into a round hole?

TP:  They try to treat social as a channel rather than a data asset. I still see people who say they have $20 million for a campaign and they want to equal weight it, based on the reach of a specific social platform. Is that the fault of an organization, old habits, or lack of awareness?

Another one is not looking for opportunities to connect with consumers as they go from the phone in their hand to other media and devices like the desktop at work or TV at night.  

DTI:  What's the best piece of career advice you have ever received? 

TP:  Be persistent. I had a boss going way back that was secretary of the army and COO of Westinghouse. He consistently brought me back to being persistent to get to the answer, make a decision and move on. It's advice I've been driven by ever since.

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