by Dina Liu, WH ’12
I read an interesting article this morning on my train ride to Kraft in Northfield, Illinois, about the rise of agency-bred & raised consulting shops. These “sexy” agencies are starting to realize that their advertiser clients are demanding more insights, more analytic prowess, and most importantly, more actionable recommendations for what to do in-market. From trying to stem the hemorrhaging of lost market share to re-positioning an old network as the new Hispanic Millennial destination, these agencies’ clients are demanding more. Interestingly enough, while the world of agencies is still playing catch-up and starting to understand that it’s not sufficient to just be a “media shop” or a “creative shop,” Nielsen has carved a spot out for itself that is now ingrained in our clients’ business models. And this is why I’m making the claim (you heard it here first!) that marketing research has replaced traditional consulting. Gone are the days where your “research vendor” sat in the corner and only serviced you when you had a problem that required immense data crunching. Now? Now we sit with our clients, have dedicated consultative teams that align to our clients’ business groups, and provide the ammunition they need to make real-time decisions that make the most impact on top-line revenue and bottom-line margins. Nielsen is the foremost leader in this area of consultative insights provider. It’s not enough for me to tout my company’s credentials in this guest blog & claim that I’ve got one of the coolest jobs ever. Here’s a short story on what happened not a few months ago:
I did a tour of duty through product marketing for a digital ad effectiveness product called Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR for short). Nielsen’s focus on digital advertising has sharpened over the last five years, as the industry continues to see TV dollars migrating across screen to Digital and Mobile. Not only did I get the opportunity to understand the depth and chaos that is digital advertising in this day & age, but I got to be part of an incredible product leadership team that created this product, from concept & ideation to full-scale production & commercial release. OCR is now one of, if not THE, accepted currency on which digital advertising will be traded on, similar to how the Nielsen TV Ratings serve as the foundation for the television advertising world. Nielsen’s focus didn’t stop there. Domestic? Sure, we’ve got the US market…but what about our clients who span multiple countries and continents? One of my major projects was the preparation for the commercial launch of OCR in the French market- a European country whose privacy restrictions are notorious in technology/telecom. Working hand-in-hand with our incredible team of engineers around the globe, our own data provider partners, and our client service and sales teams, I got incredibly close to this product and was sent to Paris by Nielsen to train the local Nielsen team and host a client roadshow across the biggest publishers, advertisers, and agencies in France. Never thought two years ago, that here I’d be in Paris presenting to the directors of digital strategy for Starcom Media Group, Carat, Havas, Microsoft, L’Oreal, and Yahoo on why OCR will revolutionize digital advertising as we know it.
Long story short: Nielsen as a company embodies this incredible transformation we are seeing in how clients use big data and their consultative partners. We are no longer just a “data provider” or a “research vendor.” To sit on our laurels & accept those descriptors doesn’t do Nielsen justice. The culture, the mentality, and the senior leadership continuously push us to be THE solution to our clients’ problems. Spread sheets and number crunching? They’re most likely here to stay, but at least we can say that this is no longer the ONLY thing marketing research can provide.
Dina Liu graduated in May 2012, from Wharton with double concentrations in Marketing and Management. Primary extracurricular activities: President of Penn Mock Trial and member of Sigma Kappa, worked at the Penn Housing Office 3 out of 4 years. Junior summer, interned at Blackrock supporting their retail Defined Contribution business in their marketing and sales department. Currently working at the Nielsen Company as an Associate Media Analytics Consultant servicing the Viacom and Discovery Communications accounts in our Watch business. Live in Manhattan, have 2 goldfish, and enjoy foodie dates around the five boroughs.