MarTech Interview with Kevin Dean, President of Marketing Services at Experian North America

MarTech Interview with Kevin Dean, President of Marketing Services, North America at Experian

“Brands need to reach the right audience, with the right message, through the right channel, at right time.”

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Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What inspired you to take the role at Experian?

The evolution of data and technology continues to play a significant role within the Advertising ecosystem. Brands want to have a more substantive relationship with their customers. As more and more people consume information and transact from different devices, brands need to cut through the noise and deliver relevant communications to build that relationship.

Part of what attracted me to Experian was our commitment to continually innovate and help brands leverage data and technology to better understand their customers and develop messages that resonate with their customers. As Experian’s President of Marketing Services, I oversee the strategic direction of our business and ensure our clients have effective solutions to address data, identity, audience activation and measurement challenges.

You are one of the most active, data-driven marketing leaders in the industry. What are the most unique challenges you face in your industry and at your workplace? How do you tackle these?

While it’s not necessarily unique to our industry, two of the more significant challenges we encounter are the proliferation of smart devices and evolution of consumer behavior. In the past, people watched TV as a family and read newspapers to consume information. Nowadays, people jump from device to device, stream live Video via smartphones and tablets, and purchase products remotely. Add to that, consumers are bombarded with hundreds, if not, thousands of ads daily. How do brands cut through the noise and reach people through effective media channels and deliver a relevant message?

Brands need to leverage data and technology to counteract the evolution of data and technology. That means connecting the hundreds of digital touchpoints to create a single customer view. Proper identity resolution can help brands understand the messages that are most relevant to people, their preferred communication channels and even the most effective time to reach them.

Tell us how you work with technology. What Marketing, Sales and Messaging tools do you use for your business?

Across Experian, we have a strong commitment to technology and innovation. The Experian DataLabs, our company’s Advanced Analytics research and development group, constantly tests new data sets and employs AI/ML techniques to address challenges such as disparate data sets in identity.

In fact, we recently launched our new innovative solution that uses the fusion of Data and Artificial Intelligence, to help marketers connect Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs) with digital and offline identity attributes to better understand their target audiences.

You have been part of many Business Intelligence and Data Analytics projects at Experian. What did you learn from these projects and how do you apply experiences in your current role at Experian?

There are insights and learnings you can take from nearly every project you work on. At the end of the day, do the findings help you adjust current and future product sets? Does the data prove or disprove a hypothesis? Our job is to help our clients maximize their data to have a more meaningful interaction with their customers and create a positive experience.

Tell us more about your recently launched Identity solution. How has it impacted your Sales and Marketing campaigns internally?

With so many people reliant on digital devices, the concept of identity has quickly become the foundation of every consumer interaction. People watch video and transact via mobile devices, and those are touchpoints that are critical to understanding your customers. Our new solution, developed in collaboration with Experian DataLabs, leverages Experian’s data assets and incorporates Machine Learning algorithms, as well as deterministic and probabilistic techniques, to connect billions of advanced identity signals, including Mobile Ad IDs.

Brands that can effectively and accurately resolve identities are better positioned to implement various campaign components, including audience segmentation and activation, as well as measurement.

How much has the CMOs role evolved in the modern Digital Era? What is the future of a tech CMO?

The role of the CMO has changed significantly into one that is more technologically savvy and data-driven—five to 10 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Today, these individuals make decisions across a wider array of topics than just creative and ad placement. Additionally, the role has shifted from predominately revenue-driven to one more focused on experience and relationships.

The conversation has shifted from how do I get in front of the largest audience possible to how do I get in front of the most relevant audience and deliver a message that resonates. Brands need to reach the right audience, with the right message, through the right channel, at right time. As people continue to become more depended on digital devices, the need to tell a relevant story across the customer journey will be imperative.

Tell us about your most recent customer success story. How did you manage to leverage Sales-Marketing alignment with this win?

If we can help our clients connect with their customers, that’s a win for us. Our new MAID resolution capability has led to clients seeing an improvement in match rates and scale in terms of their ability to connect consumer and household identifiers. Ultimately, that leads to a more meaningful conversation and impactful relationship.

What drives the current competition in the ‘Data Economy’? How do you see data-based marketing and branding evolving with the maturity of other digital channels, especially video and social media?

The sheer volume of data is part of what spurs competition. The industry understands the importance of data, but not every organization understands how to maximize it—particularly when there are data silos within organizations. As people become more dependent on digital channels and the number of digital touchpoints grow, the need to create the single customer view will become mission critical.

Brands that can accurately connect digital touchpoints with offline attributes will be better positioned to effectively communicate with their audiences.

Thank you, Kevin! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Kevin Dean is Experian’s President of Marketing Services for North America, the primary data, identity linkage, and audience activation partner in the advertising industry today. Under Dean’s leadership, Experian Marketing Services has emerged as the centerpiece of today’s data-fueled revolution in advertising, serving as the common link and trusted data execution partner for the advertisers, agencies, technology vendors and publishers that make up the advertising and marketing technology industry today.

Prior to joining Experian, Dean was in leadership roles at Equifax and Vita-Mix Corporation. Kevin received his MBA from the University of Akron and holds a BA in History also from the University of Akron.

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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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