With the rise of social and people-based marketing, consumers are interacting with brands in new ways, but merging social data with first-party data and knowing how to use it right is a challenge. We invited Cory Ferreira, VP of Business Development at Affinity Answers, to discuss how they’re working with social data and what they think of the state of marketing today.
Can you give a brief overview of Affinity Answers?
In the past, the main benefit of digital and programmatic media was that it allowed marketers to convert consumers who have already given indication that they’ve passed through the first few phases of their customer journey. Brand marketing, however, with its objective of forming a positive relationship with a consumer over time, wasn’t as celebrated in digital and programmatic circles, in large part because data does far less to serve branding outcomes.
We built Affinity Answers in the hope that we could change this conversation by bringing quality social data sets to brands that help marketers understand better where their best undiscovered audiences exist. We do this by analyzing hundreds of millions of social engagements daily in order to understand a brand’s best audience in terms of their top affinities.
What challenge do you see digital marketers facing today?
One of the biggest challenges we see when marketers are trying to make their advertising more effective is:
“How do I find the most qualified addressable audiences without sacrificing significant reach?”
Only mutual affinity—your brand’s fans liking a TV show, for example, and in turn that TV show’s fans liking your brand—holds the key to correctly identifying a brand’s most qualified addressable audiences.
To meet this challenge, we work with LiveRamp to create new audience segment recommendations against first-party data that leverages our social data and affinity models to create incremental reach while maintaining the richness and quality of the first-party data. This is a first-to-market opportunity for advertisers and agencies that are looking to get even more mileage out of their first data asset.
What skill set is most vital for data driven marketers today?
I think the most vital skill for data driven marketers today is to understand that data cannot give them all of the answers to all of their problems with impunity. It’s important for data driven marketers to ask questions about the data sets they’re working with—to push on them and understand their potential limitations and biases—and then apply their learning with the appropriate nuance and understanding.
Steadfastly pursuing the wrong KPI can be a damaging exercise in waste and frustration.
What trend from the last five years has surprised you most?
I’ve been surprised that “branding” campaigns have been mostly left out of the initial swell of momentum behind programmatic advertising. Yes, it is incredibly cool that we can use technology to make sure we serve a CVS ad to a CVS shopper when they are nearby to a CVS store, but how strategic is this really?
To me, certain elements of performance-based, lower-funnel programmatic are incredibly tactical. I think today, more than ever, branding is crucial for the health of a business, and I think there is a lot of potential to achieve great branding outcomes via programmatic activation.
Can you give an example of a CMO you admire, and why?
Jeff Charney, CMO for Progressive Insurance. Working in one of the most competitive consumer marketing categories in the U.S., he continues to drive innovation and find ways to “out-create vs. out-spend.” He also takes great pride in developing talent and talks about the Charney Farm system he has been building since he started working in business.
Learn more about our partnership with Affinity Answers, and the rest of our partners on our partners page.