Sorcery, data deluge, and disconnecting to decompress
Editor's Note: "Meet a Media Planner" is our ongoing series of Q&As where we find out what's on the minds of media planners at agencies across the country. Allow us to introduce Andrew Garibay, a finalist in the 2012 Yahoo Young Media Stars competition and a media planner at Cronin & Company in Glastonbury, Conn. Andrew joined Cronin two years ago, starting out as an ad operations assistant. Today, in addition to his media-planning duties, he also helps execute and report on search and display campaigns for clients including Amica, Liberty Bank, and Konica Minolta Business Solutions.
Yahoo Ad Blog: How do you explain your job to your mom?
Andrew Garibay:Ha. I think a lot of people view my occupation as a kind of sorcery. Often, they can be kind of cynical about media planning and remarketing, and the kind of data you can collect on people. But I just refer to it as magic---serving the right ad at the right time. It's like, "How did they know I was shopping there?"
I try to frame what we do in a positive light. We're trying to serve things that are relevant to you and not waste your time. We're trying to provide a good online experience, not a bad one where you're constantly seeing meaningless pop-ups.
YAB: When you moved into media planning, what surprised you about the job?
AG: The biggest surprise was the role that data and analytics play in decision-making. Lots of our clients are focused on data-driven analysis and decisions, and it was surprising to learn just how much can be tracked and how much understanding we can glean from the campaigns that we execute online.
YAB: What kinds of issues or challenges do you hear clients talking about?
AG: The biggest challenge is this deluge of data. There's so much data coming in, and it's very easy to be distracted by all the data points that we collect. It's like, "How do we make sense of all this information that we're pulling in?"
As an agency, it's our responsibility to translate that data into a story that's comprehensible to other people and to answer questions like, "What are the right marketing mixes? Who are our customers, and what do they really want? What is this data telling us about our campaigns?"
That's probably my favorite part of media planning---the reporting at the end of the campaign, because you can learn so much about your execution, what you might have done differently in terms of planning. It's just fascinating to me.
YAB: Media planning can be stressful; what do you do to decompress?
AG: During the work week, I feel like I'm pushing myself intellectually to analyze results and handle a lot of multi-tasking. It seems like I'm always in front of a monitor. So for me, it's really important to disconnect and go out for a really relaxing hike with friends. Or get them all together and play some board games, like Arkham Horror, which is really interesting because it's collaborative, very complex, and has lots of layers. We also play Dominion; it can also be very complex, because you have a bunch of assets at your disposal, and you have to choose the right ones in reaction to what the other people are choosing.
YAB: Wait, that sounds like media planning.
AG: (laughs) Yeah, basically.
YAB: What new and emerging data trends are you excited about?
AG: The data that we're collecting via social platforms is exciting … and as platforms become more integrated, it will be really interesting to see how people can use predictive analysis to target certain demographics.
I think what will happen is that as we collect more data, the pockets of people that we target will become more granular. The targeting is becoming more complicated and the audiences more fragmented, so you've really got to get more granular and start targeting individuals. I think integrating social information into search engines is absolutely fantastic, and I really look forward to seeing how that affects SEO in general.
YAB: That's heady stuff.
AG: It's tough. There's just so much happening and it moves so quickly; I've only been working here for about two years, but it feels like so much has changed. The way you do things is always improving, and that's both the difficult part, because there's a lot to keep up with, but also the most exciting part. You're always learning. There's never a dull moment.