Partner Spotlight: Q&A With Marc Ryan, Kantar Millward Brown

By Rus Ackner / 4 minutes

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Data has revolutionized our industry, giving marketers new and innovative tools to achieve their goals. We invited Marc Ryan, Chief Product & Innovation Officer at Kantar Millward Brown to discuss the industry’s biggest challenges for marketers measuring their advertising efforts, recent technological advancements, new opportunities and how they’re working with location data to provide brands and marketers with critical intelligence to measure offline ROI. And of course…his favorite Italian food dishes!

Can you give a brief overview of your company?

A: Kantar Millward Brown is a leading global research firm specializing in media and advertising effectiveness, strategic communication, and brand equity research. We help our clients grow great brands through comprehensive research-based solutions.

What do you think is marketers’ biggest challenge in effectively measuring ROI for their advertising efforts?

A: As an industry, we still need to evolve to be able to provide reliable, consistent metrics across platforms & channels to allow marketers to effectively understand the impact of advertising. One of the big challenges is finding the right data to prove ROI. Often the metrics you want to use don’t become available until weeks after the conclusion of your campaign. One of the ways we solve for this challenge is with Consumer Behavior Insights (CBI). Historically we’ve relied on CBI to help us look at the behaviors people engage in online after seeing an ad, but now with the Cuebiq partnership we can look at offline behaviors, getting us that much closer to closing the loop on how advertising and brand impact sales.

In your opinion, which recent tech advancement have had the biggest impact on our industry?

A: It’s cliché to say mobile but it remains true. Mobile has been a platform that consumers have leveraged for over a decade but the advances in cell network speed has enabled the mobile device to become an enhancement to the desktop environment. Consumers often treat their mobile phones with more reverence than their wallets. What’s changed recently with these platforms is the marketer’s ability to leverage all that these platforms can do. Take geolocation as the perfect example: it’s not only opened the door to understanding if ad exposure leads to downstream behavior but it also helps us to understand the consumer environment. Was the consumer seeing billboard ads? Are they visiting retail locations? Understanding geolocation data is like seeing a true path to purchase.

What advice would you give CMOs looking for a better way to gain a comprehensive view of consumers, from insights to activation?

A: I’d say that it’s crucial for brands today to use data in the marketing process all the way down the line. Most CMOs understand that, but the biggest struggle is figuring out the right metrics and sources of data. It’s easy to dictate that all campaigns need to be measured or data-driven, but there’s still a human process needed to figure out the strategy. And it’s that strategy that tells us how or what to measure. Time and time again, I see brands measuring outcomes that don’t align with strategy because they’re using a tool they have on hand when what they need is a drawer full of tools that allows them to pick the most appropriate one for the job.

What do you value most about your partnership with Cuebiq and what do you think brand clients will find most compelling about it?

A: We’ve been measuring the impact of advertising on brands and sales for two decades but we’ve always felt that there’s a lot that happens between exposure and transaction. Telling the true story of a campaign meant that we needed to solve for the intermediate behavior, and Cuebiq brings that to campaigns at enterprise scale. As an example, I have an automotive client that knows intuitively that there’s a lot of touchpoints that occur in the 5-6 months it takes someone to buy a car. Up until now we could do little, from an offline behavior perspective, to fill in those gaps, but through our partnership with Cuebiq we can now show how advertising drives dealer visits – a key indicator of campaign success.

What’s your favorite Italian food?

A: Unlike many, I’m not a huge fan of pasta; my Italian food preferences tend to run towards the “fresh” style preparation of foods: bruschetta, caprese, and of course antipasto.

About the Author

Rus Ackner