Credit bureau and consumer data provider TransUnion has hired digital ad veteran Matt Spiegel as EVP of digital marketing solutions.
Revenue for that group, which provides in-market financial data and other custom targeting segments to marketers and data exchanges, expanded 21% in the second quarter to $55 million, about 10% of the company’s total revenue.
Spiegel, who consulted with TransUnion in his previous role at MediaLink, says it can grow substantially more.
“As I got to know the business, there was a pretty large appetite to find another growth vector in the digital marketing and media world,” he tells AdExchanger.
If digital advertising were the boy scouts, Spiegel’s sash would have all the badges. He has founded companies (Resolution Media, Tap.me), led big agencies (Omnicom Media Group), held senior roles in ad tech (MediaMath) and advised brands and platforms (MediaLink).
What appealed to you about TransUnion?
The work I’ve been doing on a consulting basis is helping companies adapt granular consumer insights to all aspects of an advertising business.
TransUnion was a client. I had a chance over time to understand the high-quality assets they had. They had the proper business backing to be able to have really accurate consumer information. That started with understanding people’s credit data. Now they have deep relationships in financial services, healthcare, insurance and rental screening. The company has done a good job of diversifying beyond what is considered a credit bureau.
What is TransUnion’s history in the marketing vertical?
What we’re doing now is the basis of what we’re doing going forward. We provide custom segments in standard segment definitions to the Oracle Data Cloud and others. We are a supplier of targeting data in those marketplaces. We also do some direct work with marketers, often as an extension of other work they’re doing with TransUnion. Take financial services as an example. Maybe they’re working with TransUnion to acquire new credit card customers or to find consumers who are in market for a mortgage. Our digital team will work with them and try to extend those marketing campaigns via email, Facebook and social channels and broadly in display.
That history is a starting point.
Is your hire part of an expansion of the marketing vertical?
I inherit a team of 20-plus. Others have been working on this over time. I assume the digital group from someone who held sway over a whole host of things, and the opportunity is to make this bigger.
What does your role entail?
Three are three areas.
First, TransUnion is structured in both verticals and horizontals on various products. These horizontal products like fraud and risk management are designed to service across the verticals. One aspect of my job is to make sure that across all of our verticals we’ve got a suite of digital marketing products. What’s the best intersection of financial services and digital marketing? Or government and digital marketing?
A second component of my job is to create a vertical which is really entering the media industry writ large. Today that means providing segments to things like the Oracle Data Cloud. But television is becoming more digitized and addressable. Measurement has become more sophisticated. We want to get big in the media industry because we think the company can be a really valuable partner.
A third part of my job is around identity, specifically developing our identity strategy to make sure we’re making the right investment and that we’re protecting data in the right way when it comes to identity resolution.
Is there any change in how you enable marketers to activate on data?
There’s a mix between being a provider of customer intelligence indirectly to marketers and publishers - meaning to use the aggregators - versus going direct.
Our channel partnerships are critical, and I can absolutely see us expanding our relationships with market aggregators. And we have an opportunity to work directly with the marketer as well. We’re going to lean in both directions.
Will privacy legislation such as GDPR and California's upcoming privacy legislation affect TransUnion's opportunity in the marketing and media vertical?
Of course there is an impact but not a negative one. TransUnion already operates in regulated industries and with regulated data and has done so for 50ish years. I’m confident we’re well equipped to handle GDPR and any other future regulations.
Interview has been condensed.