This year’s the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement (AM) 2014 focused on the Measurement Mandate and an immediate call-to-action for analysts to embrace the future of programmatic buying and cross platform measurement and lead their respective organizations through the considerable changes brought by today’s complex media environment.
Gayle Fuguitt, President and CEO of The ARF’s opening address set the tone for the event. In it, she explained there is a code red problem facing the industry. For example, the ARF’s research found that less than 10 percent of marketers say that mix models help them understand cross-platform advertising. Fuguitt emphasized that analysts must recognize this to be a transformative moment.
“This is not a measurement mandate, but rather a leadership mandate,” said Fuguitt. “We need to collaborate within our organizations, across organizations and across the world and we need to listen to each other and converge.”
In his address Bob Lord, Global CEO of AOL Platforms, delved into the power of convergence and how it can transform industries at the intersection of business and technology. Lord believes that measurement is key to truly understanding consumers and creating a brand strategy that meets consumers’ needs.
“Convergence of technology, media and creativity allows us to imagine and enable customer experiences like never before,” said Lord. “Technology, media, and creativity operating within the context of business strategy can transform a marketing problem.”
Lord also discussed his five principles when using data to better the consumer experience. He explained that brands need to put the consumer at the center and understand what motivates them and their journey to trying or using a product. Marketers must start thinking of their brand as a service and be aware of the fact that they are in the business of fulfilling consumer needs. It is also crucial to reject silos; consumers don’t care about inter-department issues and neither should businesses. Brands also need to act like a startup and employ agile methodology and prototyping. Finally, brands must embrace diversity in order to raise ROI’s on company performance.
AM 2014 wasn’t only a discussion of big data and ways to improve audience measurement across platforms. It was also a look at those who are solving measurement challenges and generating significant business results. In that spirit, the first annual Erwin Ephron Demystification Award was announced at the conference, an award that honors the legacy of media leader, Erwin Ephron.
Bill Harvey, Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor of TiVo Research and Analytics, was the first winner of this prestigious award. He has spent over 35 years in the media research industry and has pioneered thinking in New Media, industry data, and audience measurement standards.
“Bill challenges conventional thinking, and has a rare ability to translate ideas into action,” said Fuguitt. “The Erwin Ephron Demystification Award was part of the greater goal of AM 2014 to support, inspire, and promote the analytical minds that will lead organizations through this period of dynamic change.”
The overarching message of AM 2014 was the need for analysts to embrace new ways of thinking in order to keep their seat as the C-suite’s most trusted advisor, a mission that the ARF will continue in future events and research.