IPG Taps Arun Kumar To Scale Data And Technology Across The Holding Company

Cadreon’s global president Arun Kumar has become IPG Mediabrands’ first-ever chief data and marketing technology officer. In addition to overseeing all data, technology and analytics assets within Mediabrands, he will still head up Cadreon.

Among Kumar’s top priorities is scaling IPG Mediabrands’ data stack across the unit and IPG at large.

“We’ve gotten pretty good at our trade craft and figuring out how data pieces work together,” Kumar told AdExchanger. “The next stage is to scale that and increase access.”

IPG Mediabrands’ data stack, AMP, gives the media-buying unit the capability to execute people-based marketing by connecting offline and online data sets. In the four years since AMP was built, however, access to that data has been largely limited to Mediabrands’ Insights and Technology teams.

Kumar wants planning, digital and creative agencies throughout the network to have access to the data.

Data will allow creative teams to develop assets around the different triggers and customer journeys pertaining to specific audience segments, Kumar said. Access to a unified data pool will also smooth out the workflow process between planning, buying and creative execution by keeping audience segments consistent.

“Think about how many times an audience is created,” Kumar said. “Each time, there is a loss in understanding of who the consumer is.”

Among the challenges for Kumar will be marrying the more qualitative data sets creatives rely on with quantitative data from the media and digital world. Putting data at the center of the planning and creative process will require IPG’s digital and creative agencies to evolve.

“The fascination with data has largely been siloed in the digital and programmatic world,” Kumar said.

Cadreon will also benefit, he added, as it will be able to better understand and target consumers programmatically.

IPG is the latest holding company to build a centralized data unit. Omnicom’s Annalect offers data and analytics expertise across the holding company. WPP’s GroupM launched mPlatform in November to bring data and technology expertise under one roof. And Dentsu Aegis Network acquired Merkle in August to leverage its M1 platform as a centralized data tool.

Kumar’s team has already began developing new products. Although he declined to provide more detail, key areas of focus will be data integrity and scaling the data unit across the world so that it meets global privacy requirements.

“The objective here is to transform the way the agency uses data,” he said. “Our job is to build the backbone and activate it quickly.”

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