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Social Influencer Series | Brian Cusack, Industry Director, Google

Social Influencer Series | Brian Cusack, Industry Director, Google

I met Brian Cusack on an interview at Google. I didn't get the job, but found an unexpected mentor who was the catalyst that pushed me into social martech.

After making the decision to leave traditional media, it seemed only logical that I would go work at Google. My working theory was that Google was the epicenter of the modern marketing universe and I wanted in. Much to my chagrin, I learned very quickly that was easier said than done.

The conversation shifted to data and the Boston tech scene. Brian introduced me to a think-tank out of Harvard that was leveraging social data and the rest is history.

Brian Cusack is the Industry Director at Google. He is also on the Executive Committee of MITX and hosts the AD Club's Breakfast series at the Cambridge Campus of Google.

I caught recently with Brian and here is a snapshot of what he had to say:

When we met, I told you that I thought Google was at the epicenter of modern marketing. You said, I was "half-right". You said the real epicenter is data. How important is data and analytics to a modern marketing organization? What role does it play?

Why should you care about data ? There is an 8.5X higher shareholder value when companies capture the full customer experience (Source: Marketing in the Driver’s Seat, Google, Harvard Business Review). In 2019, so much of marketing is actually data science, or at the very least dramatically improved measurement. Nearly every marketing activity, internal and external, can be measured for impact, and should be. Nearly everything can be measured for a return - return on investment and return on time.  Nearly every touch point between consumer and market can be captured and recorded and as such, can be used by marketers to be strategic partners in c-suite.

And one last thought about data, companies who use customer insights outperform peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin.

In the healthcare vertical, specifically - a highly regulated industry, how does data factor in?

Regulation, or more specifically, ensuring the privacy of consumer data in healthcare is a legitimate area to be treated with the highest level of security and care. Healthcare marketers have had more challenges in understanding  lifetime value or extended consumer value in a data secure world that is rightly designed to protect consumers- but there are proxies and models that can help. Data silos have been an issue, but extending more business intelligence availability will enable marketers to be true growth drivers in healthcare, like they are in so many other industry segments. The best marketers in health care and their organizations embrace and enable marketers as contributors to profitable growth, while also protecting the privacy and interests of the user.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing in the healthcare industry from a marketing perspective?

From a communications and messaging perspective it’s the move to wellness, convenience and the “ retail-ization “ of healthcare. As  healthcare providers, insurers and consumer health products move from treating a condition or symptom to helping consumers live healthier lives every day. Marketers are expressing wellness and prevention as key pillars of their organizations’ offerings. Of course, this message needs to be backed up by products and programming, and leading healthcare organizations are providing them - The Cleveland Clinic, Phillips and UHG are a few examples. The result is better health for consumers, less cost in our healthcare system and growth for marketers.

Speaking of data from a modern day marketing perspective - how has measurement versus attribution changed? So many metrics can be measured, but not all drive attribution.

This feels like more a question of modeling. Depending on the product or service marketed, there are so many possible customer journeys - IDC (International Data Corporation, a global market intelligence firm) estimates there will be 4,800 digital interactions per connected patient per day by 2025. First, organize and curate all the data and then build a model for attributing a customer or commercial outcome that fits your customer’s journey and your desired outcomes. So many healthcare marketers are using attribution models that were built in a pre- or early digital world and don’t account for the data touchpoints that occur offline, or they don’t merge the data from the physical and digital experience. There are important connections that can be made to improve modeling and attribution.

Lastly, we've seen the role of the Ad Agency change dramatically over the past decade. How do you define the "Ad Agency" today?  

Rather than focus on satisfying short-term lead goals, the ad agency of the future should strive to become an extension of a client's strategy and analytics team -- providing a consistent stream of learnings and insights from marketing efforts to analyze business results. As automation is now helping drive smarter campaign execution, agencies that pivot from execution to how well they help the client learn from the data/results to drive growth are the ones that will truly grow their end client partnerships.

Speed Round:

Celebratory Cocktail? Oban, neat

Proudest Accomplishment? Family, their accomplishments

Go To Social Channel? Include YouTube ?  I do….YT

What brand(s) are leveraging data most effectively? Locally, look at some of the “purer “ plays - Wayfair, TripAdvisor

Inspirational #Hashtag? #iamremarkable

Khoros Engage NYC | An Event for Social Engagement and CX

Khoros Engage NYC | An Event for Social Engagement and CX

Social Influencer Series | SVP Local Media, Rob Williams

Social Influencer Series | SVP Local Media, Rob Williams