A clear reflection on data driven decisions, advertising, content from INMA’s World Congress
A clear reflection on data driven decisions, advertising, content from INMA’s World Congress

It usually takes a day or two after attending an INMA conference to fully absorb all the insights and opportunities discussed. This year’s INMA World Congress in New York was different. It is weeks later and I’m still thinking through the presentations, insights, and opportunities offered.

As part of the organising committee for the INMA Data Insights Conference in Chicago, October 1-2, I am hyper-tuned to anyone acknowledging that data plays a significant role in his or her decision-making process.

Talking to several executives from all over the world at World Congress, it was clear that some still view data with suspicion. The vast majority of executives who were readily embracing data were struggling with how to go about collecting, aggregating, and interpreting the numbers (the latter issue can be easily resolved).

The other dominant thematic that ran through the conversations was where data fit in their organisations. The right answer? Everywhere. Be it advertising, content, or audience, data is an invaluable tool to help make the best decision possible.

A perfect example of this came from the “Branded Content: This is not your father’s advertorial” presentation by Neal Zuckerman, managing director of The Boston Consulting Group. Zuckerman and his team conducted a survey of more than 4,500 people in four different countries to learn how consumers actually feel about and are interacting with “branded content” (aka “native advertising”).

I was surprised — and my sense was I wasn’t alone after I scanned the room — to learn the survey revealed the “vast majority of consumers have encountered, enjoy, and seek branded content” and “consumers are giving media properties permission to play in branded content.” 

Before the conference, I thought even well-executed branded content or native advertising was effective for only a minority of consumers. Additionally, my gut told me our audience had little patience for branded content and we’d best use it judiciously.

Another myth busted by data.

Nearly every presentation at the World Congress touched on data in both the decision-making process for the member organisation or as a point of reference that altered pre-conceived (gut?) notions.

The importance of data in decision-making was evident even prior to the official start of the World Congress. Earl Wilkinson, INMA’s CEO/executive director, helped lead the media disruption study tour, visiting New York City’s leading digital media houses just before the start of World Congress.

Meeting with the Drake Martinet, director of global platforms and his team at Vice Media, Earl asked where data fits into the company’s decision-making process. The reply was succinct: “Gut, data, gut.”

Earl then noted in his World Congress closing address that if he had posed the same question to newspaper publishers in the past, the answer most likely would have been, “Gut, gut, gut.”

Join us on October 1-2 in Chicago to learn how data can enhance and improve decision-making from an audience or advertising or content perspective. And bring along the executives that will be charged with executing your data initiative. We’ll have deep dives for them on collection, storage, usage, tools, utilisation for data sets, driving engagement, targeting, content generation, social media trends, and much more.