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Recap: 4A’s Data Summit 2017

Lucas Stewart

The UN-style conference room was packed with prominent thought leaders from the media, advertising and high tech industries. This year’s 4A’s Data Summit felt pivotal and pressing, with topics including data fraud (and countermeasures), cybersecurity, and privacy. And all of these conversations were threaded by one trend: data analysis, and how we can improve it.

“If you don’t know what you’re asking for, it doesn’t matter how much data you have.” –Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer at Publicis

Rishad Tobaccowala kicked off the first keynote with a wake-up call on the future of data for marketing and advertising. He listed layers of nebulae in today’s media and marketing data landscape, driving home his point that, due to incomplete data analysis, marketers are creating “crap optimized on crap.” For those at IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting last week, this was reminiscent of Marc Pritchard’s sentiment on the media supply chain.

Rishad’s serious –though good-humored– predictions for the most data-deluged industries set the stage for the following panels of industry thought leaders, including strategic members at companies like Google, NBC, Allstate, and GroupM.

Panel topics included data integrity and quality, successful programmatic, data driven planning & strategy, as well as a thought-provoking discussion on cross channel ROI & attribution. Ari Schwartz, former security advisor to the White House, closed out the summit with a history lesson around major cyberattacks over the last several years– and steps forward for brands and agencies.

Such critical topics naturally produced a flurry of quotable lines on data and analytics. Here are some of the best:

  • “The only commonality between CES and Davos is AI.” –Rashid Tobaccowala
  • “You do need data scientists to mine the most granular pieces of data, because that’s where insights live.” –Sharona Sankar King, EVP of Marketing Science at BBDO
  • “Data quality starts with known, trusted partners. We work closely with partners who have a high bar on where the data comes from.” –Dan Taylor, Google
  • “Programmatic is no longer a marketing tactic. It’s a marketplace.” –Adam Heimlich, SVP Programmatic at Horizon Media


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