Tackling the Big Media Industry Issues at GABBCON 2018

Reaching the right consumer is getting much easier and at the same time, far more complicated. At the  GABBCON conference, issues like privacy and the right to be forgotten on the consumer side faced off with fraud, viewability and attribution challenges on the advertiser side. The playing field is not only changing, we may not be able to discern the best path to the goal posts. 

And in the spirit of the time, Gabe Greenberg, CEO and Co-Founder, GABBCON, made a concerted effort to enlist a diverse group of speakers to participate on panels. This resulted in an event that included new perspectives on media issues. Here are some takeaways:

Choosing a Consumer's Tattoo, Shadow or Twin
What is the best way to target a consumer? A panel moderated by Wendy Dunlap, Senior Vice President Digital Investment, Blue449 (previously Optimedia of Publicis Groupe), parsed out the various ways marketers can profile a consumer – whether a Twin, a Shadow or a Tattoo.  
Dunlap explained that a Twin is an individual’s digital representation formed by the aggregation and analysis of their behaviors, preferences and attitudes as expressed in the digital world.  A Shadow is an outline of a real-world identity but is prone to distortion and misrepresentation based on imprecise data signals in providing a complete picture. A Tattoo, as coined by Bethany Mach, Chief Digital Officer of Initiative, is a permanent marker of an individual’s digital activity that doesn’t go away but can continue to morph based on new information.  

“The replica of a real consumer is an amalgam of their various behaviors,” Dunlap noted. “A tattoo is a great metaphor,” she continued, stating that we should track “how it holds up over time and what we add to it” and “how it changes, “as more attributes are added to it or whether it fades away.” 

With Employees, Should it be a Right Brain or Left Brain Hire?
Throughout the day, panelists brought up the challenge of hiring the right people – those with that careful balance of right and left brain capabilities and experiences. And should new hires be from media or outside media? These are no small issues for the industry at a time when there is a need for both creative and analytical solutions and the knowledge of the past and the capabilities of the future.  
Mach stated, “I am looking for new types of people to work for me.  I want a data scientist or engineer.” However, filling media slots with left brain experts may be missing an important ingredient in discerning consumer motivations and behaviors. Shouldn’t we also be hiring anthropologists, Dunlap countered? “It’s good to have an analytical perspective but you also need a social science background,” she added.

Blockchain is Coming. Be Ready. Or Else.
There has been a lot of talk about how Blockchain will impact the Media industry but what exactly is Blockchain? Jonathan Steuer, Chief Research Officer, Omnicom Media Group, defined it, “as an ecosystem. It is a technology method that provides a secure chain of custody for any digital transaction, data, or personal attribute all the way through a system. Where it is where it came from and what aspect of it you can use.”

It was agreed that Blockchain should be embraced and not deferred. Natalie Monboit, Head of Futures at Starcom, warned, “It will hurt you if you are not involved.” She advised to start now by looking ahead and asking, “What is that big disruptive vision? What is the future state?  And then work backwards. You have to be in it in order for it not to hurt you.”

While some may feel that the future application of Blockchain is just another monstrous transformation to upend business as usual, there are those who look on the bright side. Monboit concluded, “Blockchain has potential to solve for fraud and clean up our industry. It unearths everything we understand about engaging consumers. It is a lot bigger than just solving for current issues in ad tech.”

This article first appeared in www.MediaVillage.com

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