Tell us about your role at comScore and how you got here. What’s the most fascinating aspect of leading a customer-led measurement firm?
I’ve built a 25-year career on navigating companies in highly disruptive industries to positions of market leadership. Given the pace of change in the media landscape at present—and the need for a trusted, independent measurement partner able to account for audiences across platforms—I am so energized to lead comScore at this pivotal moment of the business.
Prior to comScore, I was CEO and Executive Chairman of 360i, which saw explosive growth as one of the very first agencies to help brands unlock the full potential of shifting consumer behaviors within digital and mobile channels to drive business impact. Before 360i, I helped lead a turnaround effort at the early VoIP company Net2Phone.
In my previous experiences and now with comScore, the focus has been the same: applying a customer-obsessed mindset to deliver against complex challenges and push the industry forward. To me, that’s the most exciting aspect: being the trusted partner who can deliver against a critical, previously unmet (or insufficiently met), need. In that case of comScore, that need is trusted, third-party measurement.
Given the changing dynamic of digital analytics landscape, what roadmap have you charted for comScore for 2018-2022?
Measurement was historically considered a backroom function, but as the landscape grows in complexity (e.g. content is consumed across platforms), it’s becoming a critical asset for making business decisions. There’s a great deal of chaos in the marketplace right now—you have media properties grading their own homework, a proliferation of walled gardens, and an undercurrent of confusion when it comes to standardized metrics and nomenclature. Our goal is account for audiences across platforms to help our customers solve their most pressing business challenges.
How should brands unlock their cross-platform capabilities? What are the major obstacles in achieving the goals?
By this point, media buyers and sellers are well-aware of changing consumption habits that are upending the traditional media measurement models. As we move away from these paradigms, it’s clear that the entire ad marketplace needs to adopt a more advanced view of how content is consumed across digital and linear TV. Connecting the dots requires a vast data footprint and sophisticated data science that spans all platforms.
Cross-platform measurement is incredibly complex, but that doesn’t mean the way we talk about it needs to be. Measurement partners can do a better job of describing our methodologies in straightforward and simple terms, and by applying a customer-first mindset that focuses on solving business problems instead of pushing products.
Viewability and brand safety have been some of the most critical issues for marketers to navigate over the past few years. What’s next?
Concepts like brand safety and viewability are table stakes for today’s media buyers. The next evolution of this conversation centers on the notion of advanced audiences and how they can help advertisers confirm that they’re media dollars working as efficiently as possible against their brand objectives. This shift takes the notion of brand protection and makes it more proactive: instead of simply avoiding irrelevant or unsavory placements, buyers should look to advanced audiences to help them proactively optimize spend toward the most relevant partners and opportunities.
Could you tell us about a particularly formative moment in your career?
My most formative moment came years before I was ever leading a team, let alone a company. After college, when all my friends were well on the finance and business track, I couldn’t shake the entrepreneurial bug, so I hustled my way into a sports marketing agency. The role was far from glamorous and had me covering a range of tasks—including dressing up as the Kool-Aid Man for promotional activations.
That experience taught me a lot about the value of grit and perseverance. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I also knew I had to take certain steps to get there—and those steps weren’t always easy nor fun. But that’s the thing I love about building companies: it’s hard work, but when those efforts make an impact on a team, a company, or an industry, there is nothing more rewarding.
One word that best describes how you work.
Velocity. I am always looking for ways to increase speed — it’s about achievement over activity and working smarter, not harder and prioritizing the things that are going to move the needle for our customers.
A close second for me is accountability: I value those with a 1:1 do/say ratio and hold myself to that same standard.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Evernote is a life-saver and helps me be a more active listener. I use it to organize and prioritize my notes and next steps — something that has been tremendously helpful during my first couple of months at comScore, in which I have some 30 customer meetings on the books.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I think people tend to downplay the importance of prioritization in business and life. Each of us has so many things we could potentially be doing at any one point of our day. You need to be able to assess what is the most important. I double-down on the biggest, most important aspects of work and divert my energy to only those things. Where I can streamline and simplify, I always do. 80/20 rule.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
I tend to run at, instead of away from, big challenges. This has been a differentiator throughout my career and has led me to have incredibly fulfilling experiences in building and scaling businesses that thrive amid disruption. In the face of significant hurdles, I always aim to stay focused to avoid getting rattled by what may seem like a daunting task. Even the greatest challenges can be broken down into more manageable components.
Thank you, Bryan! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Bryan is an entrepreneurial executive with a proven operational track record of delivering shareholder value by growing revenue, profit and cash flow in both private and public companies. Bryan’s career has thrived for nearly 25 years in chaotic markets relentlessly disrupted by digital technology.
In 2004, Bryan co-founded and was co-CEO of digital marketing company Innovation Interactive that was sold initially to Livedoor, bought back in ’07 and then sold to Dentsu in 2010 creating a 4.3x and 55% IRR return for its investors. Innovation Interactive was made up digital advertising agency 360i and digital marketing optimization cloud based technology provider IgnitionOne. 360i became one of the pioneering firms in the search and social space and grew from a $5mm business with 40 people in 2005 to $180mm and a thousand people in 2016 under his leadership as CEO and then Executive Chairman.
Prior to this, Bryan held a number of senior officer positions at public Internet companies including at Net2phone, a pioneering VoIP communications public company around the turn of the century. At Net2Phone, Bryan helped lead as President a massive business turn-around increasing EBITDA by $75mm in 2 years and helped re-capitalize the company with a $70mm raise in a public market equity offering in 2003.
comScore is a trusted partner for planning, transacting and evaluating media across platforms. With a data footprint that combines digital, linear TV, over-the-top and theatrical viewership intelligence with advanced audience insights, comScore allows media buyers and sellers to quantify their multiscreen behavior and make business decisions with confidence. A proven leader in measuring digital and set-top box audiences and advertising at scale, comScore is the industry’s emerging, third-party source for reliable and comprehensive cross-platform measurement. To learn more about comScore, please visit comScore.com.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.