In new business pitches an agency’s data management capability is often presented as a sort of Holy Grail that seamlessly unites all fragmented data points. And Tuesday morning's 4As data management session started off in the weeds with a lot of jargon about first-party data, scalability and measurement to achieve these goals.
Thankfully Julie Fleischer, senior vice president, head of customer intelligence, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) cut off the navel-gazing indulged in by her fellow panelists and pointed out that she was the only "client-side" executive on the stage.
"We are all talking about this like a hammer," she said to the audience's applause. The goal is not necessarily to covet micro-targeted advertising. That might help on the margins or bolster media budgets, she says. The data focus for WW is to pair whatever the company knows about a customer to improve his or her experience. "That is what we are here to do about data. The rest is commentary," she says.
Matt Sweeney, CEO, Xaxis North America quickly agreed with her viewpoint. “We have been so focused about how programmatic delivery works and its results that we have forgotten at the end of day, no one cares about click through rates.” His agency is trying to have more "strategic discussions" to develop better formulas for success. For instance, for all of the data auto brands have on potential customers, they ultimately only need to use that digital information in order to get drivers into a dealership for a test drive.
Fellow panelists Adam Gitlin, president, Annalect; Jon Williams vice president, agency & consultancy development, Oracle Data Cloud; Laura McElhinney, Chief Data Officer, Horizon Media and Louisa Wong, Chief Operating Officer, Carat US continued to speak about walled gardens, metrics, value exchanges and how "data is the new oil."
Moderator Ed Montes, Chief Revenue Officer, DataXu caused some friction with Fleischer with a poorly framed question asking how the agency side could dumb down data's complexity to better communicate with clients. "Are you mansplaining me?" Fleischer shot back. “You basically asked me to translate data spiel so agencies can better entice clients to tell them to do something differently than what they want to do.”