Anush Prabhu has an unusual title -- Chief Channel Planning & Investment Officer. But his background is immersed in analytics and data that in my opinion define him as a researcher. He essentially harnesses data and connects it to communications planning for Deutsch NY. Research, in Prabhu's opinion, is part and parcel of analytics, qual and quant work with a vast repository of new, different data sets to add context and insight into consumer behavior.
In this interview, Prabhu talks about his work at Deutsch, fragmentation, cross platform solutions, issues of privacy in tracking consumers, his "remarkability" metric, the future of sales in an increasingly programmatic media world and some ideas about what the future of media will look like.
Charlene Weisler: How has the whole field of research and analytics evolved since you started in the industry?
Anush Prabhu: I think what has changed is the vastness of the information and the fragmented nature of what we can get in terms of data. I can get to specific mobile behavior for a person when they walk into a Gap store and then they go into another store. I get all that data about how they behave just from geo-located data. At the same time I can look at social behavior. I can look at what they are shopping [for] on a particular aisle. Those are things that behavior-wise we did not have access to, that today we have access to in a bigger and broader way. Where we used to use quantitative research to get some of that information, today we can actually get the actual behavior. And we will see that change even more as we move into the realm where we can see more and more information about a particular customer.
CW: It sounds like analytics is moving into one-to-one marketing.
AP: Yes. We will not be advertising to the masses. We will advertise directly to the person in a more precise way. That is because of the power of data that we will have at our fingertips and the technology that enables us to deliver against the data and communicate to the consumer at the right place at the right time.
CW: Can you talk about some of the data sets that you currently use?
AP: We acquire data from various aspects of the funnel. We have social data that we get from some of the propriety tools and botnets like Netbase. We get information from the Forresters of the world. We get specific media data from MRI. We also do a lot of our own proprietary research from a quant perspective where we can tie into the social aspects of people's behavior by getting their permission to lean into Facebook status updates and such, almost using Facebook as a research or search mechanism where I can look at what you typed in and your status reports for the past six months and see whether you are talking about food or getting into finance. I can tell if you are an influencer. There are various aspects that we can now plug in.
CW: How you get all these data to work in harmony with each other?
AP: Obviously it is not very simple because these data are coming in from different sources. At the end of the day we have to tie it in together. Some of the time it is easier to tie the data together. Sometimes we need to make a leap in making sure that we are connecting the dots. This is where a little bit of art comes in as well as experience to figure out what is really happening and understanding it. Sometimes we add on quantitative or qualitative research that starts to bind these data elements. You will see that more solidified as we proceed.
CW: Do you think we will ever see commercial ratings?
AP: That is interesting because as we proceed into the cross media world, as television gets more digitized, as Netflix becomes a channel and as ABC becomes a Netflix or a digital channel it will be interesting to see how we measure a digital view versus a television view. To me, yes I do believe that there may be an opportunity to rate commercials but at the same time I also feel that the entire system may need to be overhauled in terms how we measure everything because it is not as simple as it used to be. The question really is, "What is a view in today's world?" Also, should we be measuring just a view or the impact of that view?
Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com or at WeislerMedia@yahoo.com. Full disclosure: Charlene hosts a street art blog on The Starry Eye blog community
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