Knowledge Networks Providing Actionable Research Results In Real-Time Says VP Kahlert

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Knowledge NetworksFlorian Kahlert is Vice President of Knowledge Networks, a research company.

AdExchanger.com: Knowledge Networks is not just a digitally-focused company. Can you talk about the big picture goals for the company?

FK: Knowledge Networks is among the top 15 custom survey research companies in the U.S., and we specialize in solving high-impact business issues. Our big picture goal is to work closely with clients to create healthy consumer-brand connections and effective marketing and advertising. Media plays a big role in brand health and growth and we recognize that our approach must span digital and traditional mediums.

What problem is Knowledge Networks solving for digital?

Our efforts are focused on helping our clients understand their Return on Campaign Investment (ROCI) and show them how to improve it.

KN Dimestore does this by measuring brand focused online advertising campaigns using traditional brand metrics - like awareness, purchase intent and consumer attitudes towards a brand and, almost more importantly, by enabling our clients to optimize campaigns in real time towards those metrics and thus, increase ROCI.

More broadly, KN's Media practice conducts custom, cross-media studies for clients. We also have syndicated products, for example MultiMedia Mentor which looks at how online and offline media use relates to brand strategy and media planning and "The Faces of Social Media" which helps CMOs understand the impact of social media use among their target audiences and how it relates to their categories and marketing efforts.

How do you differentiate from companies in your digital competitive set such as Vizu?

Our key differentiator at KN Dimestore is that our results are actionable in-flight; they can be used in real time to build look-a-like models for ad targeting and improve Return on Campaign Investment. We also support multi-question survey designs which many of our clients prefer as they provide more differentiated insight into the user's preferences and opinions.

What's your view on the online GRP? Do we need one to get brand dollars online?

What we need is a set of metrics that allow clients to understand what the effects will be when they shift, say, another 5% of a brand's marketing budget from offline to online. How will it affect the overall goals – the brand, purchase intent, favorability? Telling them they get x clicks or y interactions with a banner is not enough.

Are online GRPs the answer? I am not convinced yet and much of the success would depend on how a GRP definition for online relates to the existing definition of GRPs in television.

Is media attribution solvable between online and offline campaign tactics? Or even digital alone? How are you helping clients here?

Attribution is a tough one and I think sometimes we get too tech focused in the online space. Think about it - how do you decide to go see a new movie? Its not just ONE particular ad that ultimately makes you buy the ticket. There are buzz, trailers, reviews, online ads, and all these elements are contributing to the "gotta go see" moment. Attribution to the last ad you saw before buying the ticket therefore overvalues that impression and undervalues the other sources that got you to that point. We need to be differentiated, not binary when looking at attribution.

To answer how we at KN help clients: We apply our building blocks – like KN Dimestore, asking questions using KnowledgePanel, and evaluate purchase outcomes in our National Shopper Lab. We are always working on ways to combine these resources to get better answers for our clients.

Who are your digital media clients today? Please discuss verticals, agency vs. direct advertisers, etc. Any trends that you're seeing?

At KN Dimestore we are working with large digital Agencies, DSPs and Networks.

The agencies primarily represent large advertisers – mostly consumer packaged goods, retail, technology companies, financial services and some pharma clients. Our DSP and Network clients are, for one, very attuned to the brand client needs but are also very data savvy and utilize our technology to deliver better Return on Campaign Investment.

If there is one trend that stands out, it is the emerging agreement among all parties involved in brand advertising that many of the metrics that served us well in DR are clearly not doing the job for brand marketers.

If you were to wave a wand, what would be the one thing you would fix with digital advertising?

For the last 10 or so years ad technology companies have been thinking about media, delivery and technology mostly in DR terms. I think part of it is the synergy between the mathematical and iterative approach DR advertisers take and the ability to easily measure the reactions with technology. Waving the wand would make all of us take a step back and remind us that building brands is different from selling vitamin pills. And that the question is really – why would or should brand marketers move additional money from traditional sources online. How does it help the brand? How can we make it easy to move the budgets?

A year from now, what are a few milestones you would like to have seen Knowledge Networks accomplish on the digital front?

The biggest milestone, and this is not specific to KN but is part of our mission, is achieved when it becomes normal and expected for every brand campaign to measure awareness, purchase intent and consumer attitudes. That's when we as an industry are starting to look at outcomes of campaigns that truly matter to the marketer.

What are big media web publishers not leveraging today that they should be?

I am not really qualified to judge all the things they should or should not be doing. However, I notice through our work profiling web sites that many online publishers have more confidence in the accuracy and value of their user data than they should. They sell data driven targeting but often the results for advertisers are suboptimal because the data just isn't accurate enough – data gets stale very quickly.

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