Sunil Garga

President-Business and Consumer Insights, Information Resources Inc.

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Sunil Garga helped usher in a new age of accountability for media when he and his partners founded Marketing Management Analytics in 1990. Now he's looking for new ways to quench marketers' growing cravings, pushing retail data cruncher Information Resources Inc. deeper into the media arena.
SUNIL GARGA
WHY HE WAS CHOSEN:
  • Built partnerships with TiVo and ComScore

  • "Visionary leader and recognized catalyst" in helping marketers achieve ROI


IRI lured Mr. Garga away from MMA in 2005 to bolster its media-and-marketing-
accountability practice as president-business and consumer insights. IRI's new-media lab seeks to quantify such things as the impact of emerging digital media on sales through a recent partnership with ComScore. It also set out to show the damage to TV-driven advertising models from digital video recorders through a partnership with TiVo.

The goal is for IRI to help marketers understand media. Marketers, IRI analysts and their partners look for ways to reach the most valuable consumers for a brand at the lowest cost. None of that can happen without retail sales data or the analytics to match them against media consumption, something Mr. Garga, 43, has spent most of his career doing.

Marketing-mix analytics, which use complex econometric models to determine how media buys affect sales, were little-understood when Mr. Garga helped found MMA, where he was president and chief operating officer. Despite the seeming threat such scrutiny poses to media, Mr. Garga is convinced the outcome has been positive.

As a result of MMA and more marketing-mix modeling, he says, "I think more and more money has been spent on media because it's become more accountable. It's put some teeth in the media budgets."

IRI CEO Scott Klein calls Mr. Garga "a visionary leader and a recognized catalyst" in helping marketers achieve better return on investment.

But some of what IRI is finding now is scary for marketers -- such as declines in sales of new products in homes that have DVRs vs. ones that don't. But IRI is also investing in measuring the sales impact of ads linked to video on demand, "which I think will be very big," Mr. Garga says.

Either way, he believes media analytics remains a growth industry. "It's been better than I ever expected," he says.

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
Mr. Garga's interest in advertising began when he started collecting vintage advertising lithographs as a hobby, before he ever started analyzing whether media works.
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