Wednesday night kicked off Magnetic’s roadshow series Data Magnified at the beautiful Chicago Athletic Association. Marketers from all over the Chicago area gathered for an evening of appetizers, signature cocktails, engaging conversation and insights from industry experts. Featured speakers from Selligent, Placed, Walgreens and OMD led an engaging panel discussion about the ongoing collision of marketing and ad tech – or MadTech – as it continues to get even madder.
If you were unable to attend the event, check out the video recording and our key takeaways below –
“Every retailer is in the same boat right now, no one is immune to it – shopping behaviors are changing,” said Lisa Mathison, Director of Media at Walgreens. Mathison spoke about retailers becoming more self-aware and understanding their consumers’ underlying needs, namely convenience and human interaction, which power their businesses, and can be translated into new tools and approaches as retail continues to shift. “I think it’s an exciting time, and for customers it’s going to get more and more convenient, and certainly change the way we shop and consume products. I don’t think [digital tools] eliminate the need for human touch and interaction; we all need that, it’s human instinct.”
Echoing Mathison’s comments, David Shim, Founder and CEO of Placed, raised an interesting point. “Everything I’m wearing right now was digitally purchased, but they’re opening up storefronts. I think across the board, the digital players are coming in and saying, the touch matters.”
As concerns and conversations around data privacy continue to brew over Capitol Hill, we turned to our panel for their take on how these changes and conversations can impact the industry. “It’s a trade off,” said David Frankland, Chief Strategy Officer at Selligent, “you’re giving up some private information and getting something in return.” Woody Meachum, Group Director of Digital Strategy at OMD, felt much the same when asked about the new opportunity for ISPs to sell consumer browsing history. “Do you get tracked right now? Yes. In theory, more data access should make [digital experiences] better for us. It’s like a dirty pair of glasses – would you rather wear no glasses or a dirty pair of glasses? It just helps us see a little better.”
“It’s all about transparency,” said Shim of nascent data sets and the essential need to be clear with users about how their data is used and collected. “It took a slow roll to go in and be transparent and to build [Placed] the right way, but now that we have that, it’s huge. It’s everything.”
From a retailer perspective, Mathison asked the audience and the industry to consider how data accessibility fits in with their goals. “The important question is, what’s the end game? For retail, where it’s challenging, you want to be able to personalize your advertising message to that customer in order to help support their need, or find a solution, or to sell a product. It’s a race to the bottom, and whatever tool or data point is available to help deliver on that need is going to be really, really important. Advertisers will grapple with balancing that level of trust with finding the right customers to sell.”
Ad fraud and brand safety have made a lot of headlines lately, and our panel was eager to offer their perspectives on the impact of walled gardens, who gets left holding the bag when ads are fraudulently delivered, and what we can (and cannot) promise about brand safety.
“Breakdown in trust between agencies and brands is getting more prevalent, and some clients are deciding to buy media themselves rather than asking agencies to buy it for them,” James Green, Magnetic’s CEO, prompted the group. Meachum was quick to remind the audience that media buying is not as mechanized as we’d like to believe. “There’s still an art to the science.” He acknowledged the changing role of the media planner as relying more heavily on understanding available technologies and navigating alignment on a technology stack and set of shared principles between agencies and brands.
As the conversation moved towards brand safety and keeping advertising away from appearing alongside objectionable content on the web, Meachum acknowledged that while technologies like MOAT keep fraud low and brand safety high, they are not perfect because the fraudulent inventory is still being paid for, even if it is not being used. Mathison summed it up nicely – “We’re better together, and if we band together and live by the same core principles in the space, it’ll be a better industry.”
For further details regarding our city line-up, agenda, speakers, and RSVP requests, check out our site: www.datamagnified.com
Magnetic is a digital marketing and artificial intelligence company. We use machine learning and AI to deliver smarter, faster, and more effective advertising. Our powerful AI platform continuously analyzes the attributes of 320 million live user profiles alongside real-time inventory supply and bid opportunities to deliver highly performant and profitable campaigns for our clients.