Catching Up With Industry Veteran Gary Savoy, Part 2

  |  May 21, 2008   |  Comments

Challenges and developments in behavioral targeting, including why ISPs and marketers must become smarter about achieving relevance. First of a two-part series.

Gary Savoy, an executive for EMC consulting company BusinessEdge, is responsible for interactive advertising at the industry-focused business and technology consulting firm. Last time, he discussed the launch of an ISP targeting consortium in the U.K., behavioral targeting on emerging media platforms, and how his company is responding to issues related to behavioral marketing.

Today, he discusses the challenges with mining data and how ISPs and marketers alike must become smarter about providing more relevant ads to consumers.

Anna Papadopoulos: Who do you see as the early adopters or trendsetters in your charge to create a horizontal or cross-channel platform?

Gary Savoy: Agencies, carriers, and MSOs [define]. The cable industry is banning together to form an alliance called "Canoe" that will hopefully solve for the interactive advertising challenges they've faced due to inability to do specific set-top-box (STB) targeting. It's a smart approach to tackle this collectively and develop common standards and requirements. It will also create an easier path for media buyers. Carriers are following suit, and as long as users continue to bundle services like broadband, phone, and TV with one provider, it's only a matter of time until consumers demand a relevant experience no matter what device they're using to access content. There's also a new technology solution called ISP Targeting. It's an enabler that will allow marketers to cast the wide net needed to capture users on their infinite content journey.

AP: Who do you think is missing out, and what would you tell them to get them on board?

GS: Content providers, agencies, and ISPs/carriers/MSOs. Mining data has always been a challenge to effectively and efficiently execute. Even before digital content, publishers and manufacturers have been working to utilize the consumer data that's been captured through the regular course of business and through specific initiatives to capture targeted information all geared towards minimizing waste and increasing efficiency. I once heard Irv Shames, the former CEO of General Mills, speak at a conference where he confessed to only utilizing 15 percent of the data General Mills possessed of its existing or potential consumers. With our economy continuing to struggle, it's crucial for the entire advertising value chain to get smarter about minimizing waste. Now that we have technology capable of capturing raw consumer data and other solutions that segment and bucket data, we can be much smarter about achieving relevance. Getting smarter about how we utilize and leverage technology to get the right ad to the right person at the right time and at a fair cost is a win-win across the board...Marketers will increase efficiency, publishers will improve run rates, and consumers will benefit from a more relevant media experience.

AP: What role do you think agencies and vendors play in this environment?

GS: Agencies are working feverishly to get smarter about how they plan and buy media for their clients. There's a much bigger burden to develop creative that speaks to the specific user we've all worked so hard to target and uncover. The consumer who earlier showed they were in market for an SUV shouldn't be shown an ad for an economy car. Agencies are also building smart technology solutions that optimize the media they've purchased and generate smart real- or near-real-time reports that tell a qualitative story. I've been impressed with what WPP has been working to achieve through its recent M&A activity. Too many agencies are still relying on building huge spreadsheets by hand that aggregate various third-party reports and take so much time to build, the data gets stale by the time it's accessible. More integration and open vendor APIs [define] need to be developed to continue to automate this process. If ISPs are working on the ability to sell ads horizontally, agencies will need to get smarter on how to buy horizontally.

AP: Anything else you would like to add?

GS: As an industry, we must be diligent about ensuring and installing fail-safe measures to protect consumers' personally identifiable information. We also have an obligation to continually educate on privacy policies. If we can help consumers feel more comfortable about sharing information and offer value in return, like relevance and reduced data fees, we'll move closer towards media and content efficiency.


Anna Papadopoulos

Based in New York, Anna Papadopoulos has held several digital media positions and has worked across many sectors including automotive, financial, pharmaceutical, and CPG.

An advocate for creative media thinking and an early digital pioneer, Anna has been a part of several industry firsts, including the first fully integrated campaign and podcast for Volvo and has been a ClickZ contributor since 2005. She began her career as a media negotiator for TBS Media Management, where she bought for media clients such as CVS and RadioShack. Anna earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from St. John's University in New York.

Follow her on Twitter @annapapadopoulo and on LinkedIn.

Anna's ideas and columns represent only her own opinion and not her company's.

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