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Starcom President Explains Her Holistic Approach to Data


Who Amanda Richman
New gig President, investment and activation, Starcom
Old gig President, digital, MediaVest
Age 46

What is your mission statement?
It’s truly to break down the silos in the marketplace and within our organization so that we’re investing in building out experiences for our clients, no longer simply media plans.

What is the most pressing digital priority for your clients?
The real challenge is driving convergence and integration and taking digital from a siloed vertical world to making it horizontal across the organization and helping to fuel and power all of the media connection points.

How does your digital background inform how you approach traditional media?
Digital is about the art of the possible, so bringing that creativity into the discussions, freeing it from looking at things by channel or medium or by daypart to more holistically look at content and audiences and bring a greater appreciation of the data. That is playing a much bigger role in the upfronts—and really, all media conversations.

What has been the most important disruption in the past, say, year?
Social and mobile are both huge disrupters of the business in that they bring the two-way dialogue between consumers and brands to life. And with mobility, too—the idea of place and location data, and how that is changing how we connect. They are two great forces that are difficult to separate.

Take-away from the NewFronts this year?
It was a great pivot from last year, where the story was about building awareness, to this year, really showcasing the quality of content and demonstrating that there are other sources of video supply. It’s not all about the television upfront and the traditional ways we do business. There is a much broader landscape here and a greater opportunity to look not only at video but the experience surrounding video.

And the upfronts?
What you see with the TV upfronts is great attention to storytelling and promotion, and digital has something to learn from that.

What is your view on program- matic buying?
The industry has shifted that way, and there is valuein attaching the right data to inventory and finding consumers in new areas. But it’s not going to replace the direct-buying model. The fear of it is unwarranted, and the two can coexist. The data from programmatic can fuel the richer experiences we can design with media partners that will never be programmatic and require human interventions.

What’s the most important peoplesoft thing for you to stay in touch with in order to be good at your job?
I need to be able to listen for a whole range of emotions and value them as equally as a data point on behavior. There is an EQ element to this business that still needs to be embraced along with the science.

What digital platform are you not using but find intriguing?
There hasn’t been a Netflix opportunity per se yet, and I think that’s interesting, particularly if you look at their work with House of Cards and how they take data around the audience likes from talent to genre, all packaged up to actually create content. That’s a huge opportunity for us, to be more predictive in making hits and to do that in collaboration with the networks.

Have an opinion on Google Glass?
There is a risk there. As humans, how much real-time data can we process? And does it become a distraction from experiencing life?

2014 will be the year of?
2014 will be the year of data.

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