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The Myth of Data Genius

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I recently heard a media buyer at a major agency repeat this chestnut: “If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius.” For advertisers and media buyers, there is major confusion and pain in trying to make sense of the massive amount of data produced by digital media. The demographic, behavioral and contextual targeting of digital advertising has provided a huge amount of previously unavailable data. The migration of media from simple network television, with an average unit cost of about $10,000, to the new reality of digital media, where the average ad unit can be mere dollars, has resulted in an explosion in transaction count and data detail. But the legacy systems that power the planning and buying of media have not kept up with the innovation in media types and delivery mechanisms. For years these legacy systems have dominated the landscape, inhibiting media buyers (and thus marketers) from understanding this new data. Imagine if you had to search the Internet without a search engine and spent hours clicking through pages and inputting information in Excel spreadsheets in order to find answers to your questions. In today's technology-driven world, this nonsensical state of affairs isn't conceivable. Yet, in the world of media buying, marketers and advertisers have been crippled by archaic architectures that do not maximize the usefulness of available data or the ingenuity of media buyers. What is the answer? I suggest all marketers take a hard look at the technology their media agencies use and decide whether they have the tools necessary to mine the Information Age. If you are not happy with what you see, now is the time to ask these demanding questions: ? Do you have the tools you need to understand all this new data and leverage it to your advantage? ? Do you have the tools you need to make yours a more flexible and agile organization? Ask these questions now, because the data explosion is well under way, and those who master it will find themselves at a unique competitive advantage. Brad Keywell is co-founder of MediaBank, a provider of integrated procurement technology and analytics to the advertising industry. He can be reached at brad@mbxg.com.
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