Well, maybe not…but after attending the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival for the past few years as a Media company person (First with Microsoft and then with Clear Channel) it was a different experience bringing my new CEO of Sysomos to Cannes for the first time. Seeing the festival through the eyes of a Big Data person certainly changed my view of the future of the industry. With a lot of the talk being around data, the undelivered promises to date of Data Science and marketing and the sheer confusion on a lot of clients and customers faces, it was a much different Cannes this year.
The questions on data range from not trusting the data, to building true real time ROI/attribution modeling that can better shape a campaign across Paid, Shared, Owned, Earned. To do the latter, we have to build systems that can ingest and analyze any and all forms of structured and unstructured data and give more control of the systems to the Agencies and clients. Of course all the while protecting data privacy and the consumers. But I’m encouraged that the discussion is actually more around the consumer and their experience than simple data. We want Paid, Shared, Owned and Earned content to enhance the user experience. If we can do that, then stories are relevant and welcome, not intrusive and unwanted.
The good news is we know we can solve a lot of the issues. Data Science to date has largely been built for the “experts”, keeping a lot of the great insights to small groups who are overworked with all the requests while at the same time overwhelmed with the various tool sets, none of which are completely doing what they want. I can remember announcing “Looking Glass” back in 2010 at Advertising Week. “Looking Glass” was a Microsoft built prototype tool for listening to Social, monitoring and reacting/engaging with users on Social. Microsoft never really got the product to market, but it was my first look into how the growing and changing social world could impact all of marketing and beyond. And, the growing desire for such tools and platforms from Agencies and Clients. We filled our 10 beta spots before I left the Times Center that day.
Today at Sysomos, we compete in a very competitive market of Social Listening/Research/Monitoring and again we are at the beginning. The meetings in Cannes with friends and colleagues left me nodding every time, “yes…we can help that…and that…and that”. From Creative process to all areas of media, to analyzing the return across Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned…even to how best align Brands and Talent in a way that’s genuine and authentic (whether that talent is a proven celebrity or an emerging platform star).
There is no question that Cannes has changed dramatically in the past decade and beyond. From P&G showing up as a client to the invasion of the Tech giants, from traditional media parties to social media dominance to a swarm of Ad Tech innovators. One thing is for sure is that we seem to be getting back to thinking about customers holistically and using media and technology to enhance our story telling, not replace it. I joined Sysomos three months ago to help just that. Not to have data drive the decisions blindly, but to guide and enhance the amazing creativity you seen at Cannes Lions. We have work to do, but I’m encouraged by our new direction and energy and by the willingness of our partners and clients to add energy and innovation with us.