April 27, 2011 – 10:21 am
Mark Lieberman is Chairman/CEO of TRA, a media measurement and analytics software company.
TVexchanger.com: TRA stands for The Right Audience, according to your website. Why is this an important mantra for TRA?
ML: Using age/sex demos for media buying results in too much waste because the ads are not being seen by the right audience. TRA’s platform was built with a single purpose: to improve client return on media investment. To do that, we match what programs and ads television viewers are exposed to with the products those same households actually buy. Buyers and sellers of TV advertising can then access that data to cut waste and drive ROI by advertising to the The Right Audience™ based on actual consumer purchase behavior. Not all audiences are created equal; it is our job to help our clients “find the right eyeballs” for their creative.
What problem is TRA solving today?
The perception that TV does not have the same level of accountability as other media is a problem we’re solving. We’re bringing a new level of accountability to television advertising – still, at $70 billion, the largest single ad bucket in the US today. Among the most significant challenges we face is an industry that considers television obsolete, and one that equates analytics with the outdated model of ratings. We’re taking what’s considered an “old” model, and transforming it, forcing our industry to re-consider how the medium works and why it remains relevant.
What is TRA's target market? And the competitive set - what does it look like?
TRA’s clients are industry-leading advertisers, agencies and media companies which are using TRA’s Media TRAnalytics, to improve the processes of buying, selling and evaluating media.
This includes 40 major advertised CPG and pharma brands including Mars/Wrigley; 5 agencies representing 45% of US TV spend (MediaVest, and the GroupM agencies); 7 major broadcast, cable networks and local stations, including CBS and, most recently, the A&E family of television networks. TRA helps advertisers gain more efficiency in media buying and drive more product sales. For networks, TRA assists in increasing CPM, getting a larger piece of the buy, and acquiring new advertisers. Agencies leverage TRA’s solution to win new clients by providing better insight into buying, and also to reallocate media buying across networks, programs and dayparts.
TRA’s solution is an essential component of any smart marketing strategy, and is a supplement to traditional and other emerging analytic models. Primary competitors and peers include Nielsen, Kantar, Rentrak, and Tivo.
In your opinion, what will be some of the key performance indicators that will prove targeted television is at-scale and here to stay?
The most important metric is the size of the TV advertising market. When a critical mass of buyers and sellers are using TRA’s solution to target networks, programs and dayparts, then we know purchaser rating points are here to stay.
How does TRA address the marketer's need for cross-channel attribution models to facilitate more efficient buying? Does your recent MarketShare announcement address this?
We’re very excited to partner with MarketShare – another innovative company that wants to facilitate better, more efficient media buying. We’re excited to leverage their strengths, resources, and relationships, and work together to provide the best possible outcome for each other’s clients. More specifically, we plan to enhance our offering to clients with MarketShare’s cross-media analytics and optimization software, while providing our own set-top box and single-source data and analytics to support their solutions.
In your opinion, what needs to happen to allay concerns about the use of anonymized online behavioral or set-top box data - and a consumer's online privacy?
There’s no question that more companies need to make privacy a core business issue. Privacy practices aren't something a company can easily add after the fact, like the icing on a cake. Privacy protection and information systems security need to be baked into that cake from the moment you mix the ingredients, and if a company deals with consumer data in any form, it needs to be considered part of everything that company does.
From the very beginning, TRA has made privacy a top corporate objective. We recently became one of only 65 companies in the U.S. (and the only media measurement company) to obtain ISO 27001 third party-audited certification, the information security management system standard published by the International Standards Organization (ISO) designed to ensure security controls to protect information assets. Along with TRA's patent-pending privacy solution, which ensures all data received by TRA has been fully anonymized, this certification highlights the company's dedication to privacy and information security.
By putting privacy at the core of our business, we’re guaranteeing our clients that we’ll be there to serve them now and in the future without fear of privacy landmines.
How pervasive is a business intelligence layer in digital TV - or TV for that matter - for buyers and sellers?
The TV industry has been living in the 20th Century using only 10,000’s of households of information. The world has gone digital. Digital databases comprise millions of records. The genie is out of the bottle. The only question is not “if” but “when” and “how fast”.
How many people are in TRA today?
We have about 40 people on our staff, comprising the strongest team in the industry.
We’ve been consistently focused on attracting and retaining top-quality talent who have worked for the top media and research companies in the industry. We know that an idea is only as good as the team that’s executing it. As a direct result of this approach to hiring, I’m proud to say that we’ve seen very little turnover over almost four years in business, both on our Board and among our employees.
What are milestones you would like the company to have accomplished a year from now?
In 2011, our key objective is to increase sales and continue to grow our business. We recently adopted the acronym “RUN” as a way to keep in mind our goals that we set for ourselves this year. The “R” stands for “retain”: we plan to retain our existing clients and partners with the great product and customer relations that they’ve come to expect from us. We’re always developing and enhancing our products based on customer feedback and we shall continue to do this. The “U” stands for “upsell”: using our improved products, we will continue to expand relationships with existing partners. Finally, the “N” stands for “new”: in this business as with every other, you have to attract new clients to grow. As our company’s reputation and quality offering continue to drive our success we are confident that the clients will follow.
April 27, 2011 – 10:21 am