MarTech Interview with Aimee Irwin, VP of Strategy, Experian

MarTech Interview with Aimee Irwin, Vice President, Strategy Experian

“While many marketers have first-party data, in order to get a complete view of the customer, third-party data is required to connect the dots.”

Tell us about your role and journey into Marketing Technology. How did you arrive at Experian?

I began my career consulting for technology and telecommunications clients and quickly saw how technology was changing behavior and making life better for consumers. I left consulting to work in the Marketing Technology industry and recognized early on that digital and mobile were the future of the advertising industry. I took positions at several successful internet and mobile companies prior to working with AOL, Verve Mobile and eventually, Nielsen.

Most of my roles focused on strategy and corporate development, but I also helped build several successful startups. The opportunity to apply my past experiences at a company, such as Experian — a leader in helping marketers better understand consumers through data and technology — piqued my interest. Experian is a company with the resources and commitment to innovation and advanced data, as well as the dedication to help brands have meaningful interactions with people. People need to be at the heart of every marketing strategy, and we wholeheartedly believe in that.

Which key technologies in Marketing are you keenly following?

Data and technology continually evolve, often times driven by consumer behavior and preferences. For example, the proliferation of devices and shift to mobile and on-demand video. There are many technological advancements and data sets designed to help brands better understand their customers, make the right marketing decisions and deliver relevant messages, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Advanced TV.

From our perspective, the data and technology that helps brand marketers resolve an individual’s identity and create a more relevant experience for the customer will have the greatest impact on the industry.

How does Experian’s data analytics and management expertise fit into a modern CMO’s technology stack?

With the proliferation of mobile devices, there’s been a reliance on smartphones and other digital channels to perform many everyday tasks. So, that means there are hundreds, if not thousands, of digital touchpoints that CMOs need to account for to better understand their customers. Experian’s data and analytical capabilities help marketers bridge the gap between offline and online data points. That means more accurately identifying customers, uncovering the most appropriate marketing channels, delivering relevant messages and measuring campaign effectiveness.

Tell us how Experian manages GDPR and privacy-related initiatives.

Privacy is at the heart of what we do and the way we work. We strictly comply with data protection laws in all of the countries we operate in.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in Mobile Marketing and how does Experian stay ahead in the race?

The mobile device is the most personal device and mobile is where consumers are spending most of their time — 70% of digital advertising is mobile. While many marketers have first-party data, in order to get a complete view of the customer, third-party data is required to connect the dots – mobile is one of the most critical pieces of the puzzle. Experian works in a privacy-friendly way to help marketers see the full picture and reach consumers in the right environment with the right message.

How can Marketing teams better prepare for AI and Automation? How do you prepare for these technologies?

Artificial Intelligence and automation open the door for marketers to use data more effectively and gain deeper insight into their customers — understanding behaviors and preferences. And with the advent of mobile, the ability to combine these insights with other digital touchpoints and offline metrics can help brands interact with people in more meaningful ways. At Experian, we have a research and development group, Experian DataLabs, and they are constantly testing new data sets and employing AI/ML techniques to address challenges such as disparate data sets in identity.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?  

There are a number of companies within the data and measurement space.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

Keeping abreast of developments in AI and understanding what applications make the most sense is important. In addition to staying up-to-date on industry trends, I constantly interact with Experian’s technology teams, which are at the forefront of these developments.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?  

A lot of new technology and novel ideas come from small companies, so it is important to be constantly aware of the start-ups in our space, as well as the products and technology they are developing.

One word that best describes how you work. 

Collaborative.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Peapod, Cozi, United Airlines (I travel a lot)

 What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Turn off Wi-Fi on airplanes (oftentimes it doesn’t work anyway) so I can clean out my email box without more emails coming in.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished “Bad Blood and Dreamland,” which are two totally different books, but both timely. Dreamland is about the opioid crisis and was excellent. I usually read on a Kindle as it is easier to travel with.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s all about the people — whatever job you take or decision you make, if you surround yourself with smart, talented, passionate people with high moral character, you will learn, grow and be happy with your decision.

Something you do better than others — the secret of your success?

Keep everything in perspective. We have so much to be grateful for and if you do your best and treat people well, it all works out in the end.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Sheryl Sandberg.

Thank you, Aimee! Hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Aimee Irwin serves as VP of Strategy at Experian Marketing Services. Aimee is a skilled strategy and corporate development executive with deep experience in digital marketing and advertising and track record of success in developing and building profitable new digital and mobile businesses at both early stage and public companies.

Aimee led strategic partnerships and strategic initiatives for Nielsen’s Marketing Cloud where she negotiated and managed strategic data and identity management partnerships supporting Nielsen’s data targeting and marketing effectiveness businesses. Aimee also served as SVP of Strategy and Partnerships at Verve Mobile, a leading location-based mobile advertising platform. At Verve, Aimee developed and led Verve’s mobile application business and inventory partnerships with hundreds of media companies.

Prior to Verve, Aimee was VP of Strategy and Corporate Development at AOL, where she was responsible for strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic partnerships for AOL’s advertising businesses. Previously, Aimee held executive positions at several successful internet and mobile companies including: Lightningcast, an Internet video advertising company now part of AOL, Leap Wireless, a large U.S. wireless carrier and Backwire, an internet and mobile marketing company acquired by Leap. Aimee started her career in consulting with KPMG and Bain and Company. Aimee has a BS from Georgetown University and an MBA from Kellogg.

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At Experian, we use data and insights to help brands have more meaningful interactions with people. Advertising has become smarter and more personalized and Experian is helping to set new standards in data management, usability, and measurement in this new environment. Being able to identify your customers is the first step to data-driven advertising, and as leaders in the evolution of the advertising landscape, Experian can help you identify your customers and the right potential customers, uncover the most appropriate communication channels, develop messages that resonate, and measure the effectiveness of marketing activities and campaigns.

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.

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