Math always came easy to Kevin Moeller, senior director of North America Media, Insights & Analytics at PepsiCo. In college as a side job he tutored calculus to English-as-a-second-language students. Last October, the IAB named Moeller a Data Rockstar.
Moeller leads the media insights and analytics team across North America -- a new role created after the company restructured about six months ago, which increased capabilities related to media measurement and insights. He said now it allows the company to take more of an ownership approach internally when it comes to how $1 billion in media is spent in North America.
Recently, Data & Programmatic Insider spoke with Moeller to talk about how he got there.
D&PI: What type of data does PepsiCo use and where does it come from?
Moeller: My team is focused on media. There’s an abundance of data corrected just by investing in digital media. We have performance data that tells us how many impressions we get. We have CPM data. We have reach and frequency data. We also have consumer responsive data, such as how the exposure to a campaign influences the way consumers feel about our brands.
We look at how we engrain ourselves into the life of Americans. It’s not just delivery data, but also consumer responsive data, social analytics data, and then we tie it to more traditional CPG data like sales, pricing, and shipment — everything related to a massive manufacturer and CPG company.
D&PI: Did you always have a love for data? When you were in high school, what did you think you’ve grow up to do?
Moeller: It’s so odd, I was really into the Nielsen ratings as a child that I ended up working there when I graduated from college. It’s the finite nature of the objectivity.
Information data has always come naturally to me. I learned early in my career, understanding data is very different than interpreting it, which is very different than apply it.
You can have the best data scientists in the world, but if they don’t have the strategic mindset to analyze and apply it to what they’re trying to solve, all the math and heavy analytics goes out the window because you can’t make it applicable to solve problems.
D&PI: Did you ever think about becoming a mathematical engineer, rather than go into media?
Moeller: Never. What I love about my job is the application. It’s not just knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but what am I going to do with this information and how will I allow people to make different decisions based on the data? It helps others with more informed guidance or responses. It’s the purity of data that’s appealing to me. It’s the strategic approach and what you do with the information that gets me excited.
D&PI: What’s the best piece of advice anyone gave you and from whom did it come?
Moeller: An old boss once told me, and he was approaching a needed career change himself, that it’s okay to not always strive for the next role or assignment. Sometimes it’s just as rewarding being happy at what you’re doing. And to take a step back and realize you’re happy.
We live in a very young media industry and it’s interesting to think about hiring from within, but sometimes people just fade away, especially on the agency side. That advice gave me perspective into how to craft a success and long career.
The key is evolution. Media has transformed dramatically in the time I’ve been in the business, even less, in the past five years. It’s important to stay information about the industry, not only in the moment, but in the future to determine skill sets you might need.
D&PI: Numbers can be stressful. When you can’t sleep at night, what keeps you awake related to your profession?
Moeller: Opportunity. Especially in my current role, I think we have an opportunity to reshape and evolve a massive organization. We’re a leader, but it’s important to remain one and continue the transformation.
What keeps me up at night are all the things I want to accomplish. All the things I want my team to realize about the work they’re doing, about themselves and their contribution.
When I’m up at night it’s more of a restlessness than anxiety.
D&PI: What book are you reading and how does it relate to your profession?
Moeller: I am currently reading Is A Camel A Mammal?, by Dr Seuss Learning Library. My 4 year old loves rhymes and spoiler alert, yes, a camel is a mammal. I do have a long commute in the car though and listen to the Digital Marketing Podcast by Target Internet to ensure I’m staying on the pulse of fundamentals in analytics.
D&PI: What do you see for the future of data in advertising?
Moeller: Data will overcome privacy concerns in a safe and transparent way that satisfies needed regulations but that keep data at the forefront of decision making. Data will overcome technological challenges that will propel measurement to what we want and need it to be in order to power answer to our investment questions. Data will continue to evolve and get more complex, but new tools will help further simplify and streamline our access to those insights- we’re in the process of transforming our marketing analytics suite of tools by partnering with IBM on revolutionary access to data through a connected ecosystem of tools. Overall these enhancements will democratize data to up-level marketing functions. Insights functions will continue to be specialists who sit on the cutting edge of what’s next in data, measurement and insights.