Global Chief Performance Officer, UM
Born: Shropshire, England
Worked in: I started my career working for Millward Brown in Leamington Spa in the UK. I moved to the US in 1995 as part of their International Exchange program and worked in Connecticut for three years before moving to San Francisco during the late 90s. I lived through the peaks and troughs of the Internet boom in the Bay Area and then moved back to New York in 2004 where I have been since.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Two come to mind. Firstly, soon after I joined UM we decided to create a new, best in class channel planning tool. Working with our partners within Mediabrands, we built and implemented a system that now operates in over 50 markets and is used in every plan that we develop. Secondly, based on the limitations that we saw with traditional ROI measurement techniques, we developed and rolled out a ground breaking system to allow us to measure and optimize media performance at a level of granularity never before possible. It’s live in the US now and about to be rolled out to three additional markets. The insights that it gives us are unlike anything else available in the industry.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? It’s all about the data. Every market has different issues regarding both the availability and quality of data that we can tap into. A solution that we build in one market may on the surface resemble the solution in another, and yet the separate pieces that combine to provide the solution will be entirely different. Every market needs to be tackled separately. The concepts can be scalable, but the data will be different every time.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? It’s critical. Every month, more and more data becomes available to us that describe different aspects of a consumer’s relationships with brands and marketing. If we don’t constantly innovate in terms of tapping into that data and creating new measurement and analytic approaches, then UM will be left behind.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? Hopefully, it drives everything that we do. We try never to be complacent or happy with where we are today. We always are looking to develop the best new approaches, tools and techniques.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? My exchange to the US was only supposed to be for two years, but 17 years later I am still here! Every time I visit a market for the first time I try and experience the local cuisine. Eating raw chicken sashimi in Taipei was the one time I almost broke my rule!