Shelley Zalis asks, “What is your Female Quotient?”

Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient (TFQ) and Creator, The Girls’ Lounge, comes from a data-driven research background, as the pioneer of online research and founder of OTX.   

Zalis is also well known for creating corporate cultures that strive to achieve work/life balance and gender equality. TFQ is on a mission to move beyond conversations and collaborate with corporations to create solutions for change that advance equality in the workplace.

Charlene Weisler:  What exactly is TFQ and what specific impact do you hope to achieve with the initiative?

Shelley Zalis: The Female Quotient is the first company that is bringing together the strongest advocates and best minds to develop and implement gender parity solutions.  Our initial focus for TFQ was The Girls’ Lounge. During CES in 2012 The Girls’ Lounge came about spontaneously when I asked my girlfriends to join me in Vegas and walk the show floor so I wouldn’t feel like the lone woman in a sea of businessmen. What started as a group of 50 friends banding together at a conference grew to 150 women walking the CES floor together. This heartbeat moment made me realize we were on to something bigger than ourselves, and I haven’t looked back since.  

Now in 2016, I see the need for a larger collaborative effort to achieve gender equality in the workplace, and TFQ combines community, collaboration, research and equality solutions under one large umbrella organization. 

Charlene: What are some next steps that can be taken to move things forward?

Shelley: It is very important to me that we move beyond conversations and into action and collaboration to effect measurable change. I will be hosting a weekly segment on Bloomberg called “Walk The talk,” which showcases companies that are embracing gender equality and realizing the benefits of a gender balanced board, management team and organization. I would also like to launch a weekly column, Next Step Solutions, where we can bring women and men in the industry together to work on solving these issues. It is important that we bring men into the conversation, we say FEMENISM, with “men” in the middle, because women and men working together is key to achieving success.  

Charlene: I am personally interested in Contexxt, which is part of your research initiative. Can you please give me more details on it?

Shelley: I’ve always had a passion for creating new ways of doing things and then making them sticky. Believing that data can be messy and beautiful, the products in the Contexxt portfolio, which are all powered through curation of data sources and applied cultural analysis, are focused on providing advanced insights for business growth. By integrating multiple data sources, connecting the dots and contextualizing complex information, we are creating big data integration solutions for media buying and content optimization, as well as new metrics for advancing equality in the workplace today. We are passionate about what we do and constantly strive to conceive and develop new techniques that leverage our knowledge and innovative thinking to meet the evolving needs of our clients and the workforce. 

Charlene: What do you think programmatic advertising will look like in three to five years?

Shelley: In one word, "BIG."  Programmatic will continue to grow in revenue and importance to advertisers as we continue to increase the level of consumer response level data.  We will see these traditional programmatic data sets expand to include additional elements that will create compelling value for marketers - elements such as reliability, efficiency, transparency and accountability to the media buying process. The good news is we will still need the human touch!

Charlene: You can contact Shelley at @shelleyzalis or through her websites and     

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Using A.I. To Measure Marketing. An Interview with Adgorithms’ Or Shani

Or Shani, CEO and Founder of Adgorithms, wanted to change the way marketing programs were executed and how marketing decisions were made. In an attempt to streamline marketing processes (from execution and optimization to analysis and calibration), he created an artificial intelligence-based marketing system he calls Albert (for Albert Einstein). “The complexity in the way we were buying, analyzing and conducting marketing was immense, and over the years it has gotten even worse,” he explained. His company, Adgorithms, purports to break through the complexity of digital marketing with Artificial Intelligence.

Charlene Weisler: How does Albert work?

Or Shani:  We developed artificial intelligence technology, which helps to do many of the time-consuming, manual tasks involved in modern day digital marketing without the complexity. We currently integrate with nearly 30 vendor platforms within the martech and adtech ecosystem. Albert comes in and acts as a single centralized point of contact. Within minutes, we can run Google Search, social, paid and non-paid campaigns on the fly without any manual input (other than the KPIs and target customer information the marketer gives us upfront).

Charlene Weisler: What does your company contribute to TV measurement to gain a greater understanding of how TV is being used/consumed?

Or Shani: When it comes to TV measurement, we integrate with any third-party solution the advertiser is already using. By doing this we’re able to use their viewer data to inform all facets of their digital campaigns, which brings online and offline efforts into greater alignment. Ultimately, this approach gives TV and digital efforts a shared focus, where digital insights inform TV efforts, and TV data informs digital targeting and conversion.

For instance, Albert can use TV data to correlate certain consumer behaviors that he sees online—on websites, social, and search—with specific TV advertising spots. Equipped with information about the relationship between TV and specific user patterns and trends, Albert can now make assumptions about different audience micro-segments and begin acting on them. This introduces a new way for brands to convert customers online and on mobile, who they’ve initially identified through TV. Whereas most second screen solutions are primarily focused on pairing conversion opportunities directly with specific show content, we’re able to use viewer data to “find” specific user-types and lookalikes online, which we can then target and convert using the content that's most likely to appeal to them (rather than TV-specific content).

Charlene Weisler:  What data metric do you use to match digital to TV?

Or Shani: In matching digital advertising to TV, Albert utilizes both deterministic data from the different media providers and different targeting methodology.  For example in a digital campaign coinciding with a TV one, Albert could target users based on a number of different interactions they have with the specific TV program during which the TV Ad will be shown.  This could include targeting users that have the TV show as one of their interests on Facebook, liking its social pages, or even those that are following the show's main stars on Twitter.  When it comes to the Search channel, Albert could target users that are searching for the TV show or related searches before, after, or during the time of the program.

Charlene Weisler: Do you work with segmentations?

Or Shani:  In a way, yes, but segmentation works differently in our system. For example, one of our clients might come to us not knowing exactly who they should be targeting. Maybe their target customer only represents 2% of the market they’re in and they don’t know exactly how to find them. Or maybe their recent campaign didn’t produce, so they are reluctant to keep targeting the same audience over and over. Albert will step in and find the right audience for them.

One way we do this is by integrating with our customers’ CRM and getting further data about their clients or customers. Albert will then start with mini-campaigns, creating micro-segments or audiences of one, as he goes and learns what works and doesn’t. Once he’s determined this, he rapidly expands and continues calibrating along the way until he meet the marketer’s KPI.

Charlene Weisler: What metrics do you use?

Or Shani:  Technically we can track everything. The measurement trend in marketing is to match back to more and more concrete results that are tied to revenue. And that is a good direction for the industry. Some clients aim for clicks and eyeballs but there is more demand for sophisticated optimization metrics that tie back to revenue or sales.

Charlene Weisler: Can you track engagement?

Or Shani:  Everyone has a different definition of engagement. Some define it as one minute spent on the site. Others define it as a visitor reading an article, viewing a video or downloading a whitepaper. It depends on what works for your brand. These things can be easily tracked, but anything based on sentiment or an overall feeling about are hard to assess through analytics. With a system like ours that is committed to performance metrics, we can bypass these more abstract measurements and simply look at the results. Did we do our job? It’s an easy yes or no. The trick is measurement which is very hard. Analytics cannot provide that type of measurement solution.

Charlene Weisler: What about the roll-out of Smart TVs? Will you be able to measure that?

Or Shani:  Theoretically, yes, but it is very complex to do so. Different connected TVs have different operating systems. And just like mobile, it is still evolving. It is not as simple as tracking IDs.

Charlene Weisler: Do you see marketing as a creative job or as more quantitative?

Or Shani:  Marketing has and always will be a mix of art and science. Due to issues I mentioned previously, however, the pendulum has swung more in the direction of “science” in the past decade-plus. As a result, the creative aspect has started to suffer. Marketers own the brand, customer acquisition and retention. The best way to build a strong, sustainable brand, which supports the overall business growth, is through storytelling.  This requires a completely different part of the brain than the part used to analyze things until you’re blue in the face. And marketers as a whole aren’t particularly good at this type of analysis anyhow (mostly because it’s nearly impossible for any human to scour that many channels and produce meaningful insights on each in a short period of time). The need to tell a good story doesn’t go away with data, and marketers are good at telling those stories. Let them focus on tugging at the hearts and minds of customers, while technology focuses on the data aspects of marketing.

Charlene Weisler: Looking ahead the next five years, what do you see happening in the media measurement landscape?

Or Shani:  There will be many more AI-driven technological solutions that will make life easier for us, like self-driving cars or personal assistants. These things will become more common. In media, CMOs will be liberated by technology. Marketers will be free to make marketing fun again and not just focused on execution of a campaign plan.

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FTC Regulations in a World of Big Data, Consumers, Advertisers, and TV

FTC regulations regarding consumer privacy are pivotal pieces of legislation. Television has increasingly come to rely on big datasets, with new initiatives by Viacom and Turner concerning their linear, addressable, and programmatic data platforms.

Wherever big data is used, there’s an unspoken assumption that the industry will be privacy compliant, that the data is hashed, and that it’s only used to target consumers on an anonymous basis. But as companies gather ever more granular data that can be combined and modeled using machine learning, how close will targeting become to specific one-to-one marketing in television? And at that point, how much privacy can consumers expect?

Failing to Create Standards Creates Risk
Cooperation across companies to develop a data-privacy industry standard not only helps consumers—it helps businesses as well. In a recent article in AdExchanger, Brad Smith, SVP Revenue and Operations at Videa, noted, “Guidelines and best practices drive consistency and repeatability in systems and processes. It also preserves and improves the art of selling broadcast linear television advertising and the use of first- and third-party data overlays to better understand audience value. (It) establishes rules of engagement between marketplaces so demand and inventory are represented fairly.”

Read the full article on the Videa blog.

Optimizing Short Form Digital-First Content. An Interview with A+E’s Shannon King

Shannon McGarrigal King, SVP Digital Content Partnerships & Social Media at A+E actually began her career in banking where she honed her skills in general business management. But she soon realized that, while she wanted a career in sales & marketing, “that banking was not nearly as interesting to me as media & entertainment.” 

So King left banking and entered media where she worked for both  a series of digital start-ups beginning with Moviefone (later acquired by AOL), and then leading digital sales innovation and integration within established media companies such as Yahoo! and Time Inc. As COO, she then lead Levo, a career navigation network which helps young millennial women in the first years of their career establish networks, gain mentors and create a professional foundation. From there she accepted her latest opportunity – helping to create a new short-form & social media agency for the highly regarded and strongly branded A+E Networks. 

Charlene Weisler: What are your responsibilities at A+E?

Shannon King: I am responsible for the distribution and monetization of short form digital-first content as well as managing the social media platforms for all of the A+E brands.  At the heart of A+E Networks we are a video storytelling company. 45th and Dean is our new dedicated effort to tell those stories on platforms beyond the linear TV format.  Through careful and strategic use of data, we help enable the development of digital and social-first content as well as determine the best platforms to distribute it. 

Charlene Weisler: Tell me about 45th & Dean. 

Shannon King: 45th & Dean is a multi-platform video storytelling hub and full service studio and social media agency. We develop short and mid-form video content for our brands and our advertising partners. The name comes from a combination of where our headquarters are located on 45th Street in Manhattan and where our new production facilities are located on Dean Street in Brooklyn. We are a team of award-winning social, digital and television talent whose goal is to reimagine brand stories by integrating advertising partners’ messaging with A+E Networks characters, shows and themes for audiences across all platforms. 

Charlene Weisler: How does Analytics and Data factor into your mission?

Shannon King: Analytics and Data are at the core of everything we do. We analyze the performance of our content using real-time analytics and adjust accordingly. We put the content out there on Facebook, for example, and see how it works. Then we learn from the data results, adapt the content and push it out again – learn, adapt, push. What we are finding is that different content works on Facebook as compared to Twitter as compared to Snapchat. We look at each of them with a different lens. What is the audience and what creative works best? What business model makes the most sense?

Charlene Weisler: What are the differences you see across the major social media platforms and how do you use them to give your brands a voice of their own beyond individual shows?

Shannon King: You can’t ignore the sheer scale of Facebook- We typically use Facebook for video and mass reach. Twitter is great for live events such as the Critics’ Choice Awards, etc. often as a companion piece to other content where we can use talent directly to promote and interact with fans. Snapchat works well for talent engagement and behind the scenes. Since this content disappears quickly it feels exclusive to our fans. We also use other sites like Reddit which offers a deeper dive about a certain topic. Recently we covered the DB Cooper mystery and used Reddit to continue the conversation via live chats. 

Up until now we used social media as an extension of our shows to drive tune in.  Moving forward, we are focused on organic conversations relating to themes that give each of our brands their own voice. Examples are – Lifetime and our Fempire campaign about strong women and equality for all, while History which is about people and their stories. We focus on the tenets, the core themes related to each brand and how to ladder to that theme. The digital versions of our brands have an identity of their own. They are not just used to send promos out. The audience is different for each brand, and they expect different content and experiences from each platform. Social media can be used to share memories that are common to us and allows our audience to participate. An example is our 9/11 programming. We can run a full length documentary on air, and then compliment the experience by utilizing an Instagram gallery to invite viewers to post photographs relative to the content with a hash tag. It enables us to allow our viewers to participate in the storytelling by remembering. 

Charlene Weisler: What are some of the challenges that a traditionally "TV-centric" media brand has to overcome in a digital first consumption environment?

Shannon King: Powerful brands like A&E and History are so well associated with TV that it’s hard to get people to think of them in any other way. That’s a huge challenge for us. At the core of A&E, History and all of our brands is excellent storytelling. We understand that consumers want to interact differently on different platforms with our content. So long as we continue to tell compelling stories with this in mind we’ll be sure to deliver the premium content our fans expect from us across all screens. 

Charlene Weisler:  What are the advantages that your linear platforms bring to your social and digital platforms?

Shannon King: For me, combining TV and digital is the Holy Grail in my career. I have a digital background and being able to tap into the linear space is an exciting prospect. The two are the perfect complement to each other, they boost each other. Being disruptive in the digital and social space is a challenge and to have access to powerful brands, programs and talent is a huge advantage. TV is one of the biggest drivers of conversation. Digital and social publishers rely on it whether they have their own linear property or not. Luckily we do and we’ll continue to use our linear, digital and social platforms together in an effort to deliver engaging360 degree experiences and conversations for our audiences. 

Charlene Weisler: How do you achieve work/life balance?

Shannon King: I laugh every time I get that question and believe that balance is a misnomer and sets the wrong expectations for men and women alike -it’s more like juggling or integration. There is never a perfect “balance” because every day is different. You can’t say that you will do the same things at 9a or 5p every day. Life-- neither at work or at home-- is simply not that predictable. To be successful, one needs to be able to constantly reassess the priorities of the day or hour and realize that in fact each layer of your life adds to the other with a compounding effect. Finally, we all need strong support systems both at home and at work.

Charlene Weisler: What advice would you give the next generation of media executives?

Shannon King: Say yes first and figure it out later!  You can do a lot more that you think you can do. Say yes. Then you can decide how and even if you like it, but you don’t want to look back and say “I wish I had tried that.” Say yes first and figure it out later. 

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