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Big Questions: Head of Analytics Laurie Miller on Advanced Measurement, AI, and Empowering Innovation

3 MINUTE READ | January 24, 2024

Big Questions: Head of Analytics Laurie Miller on Advanced Measurement, AI, and Empowering Innovation

Big Questions: Head of Analytics Laurie Miller on Advanced Measurement, AI, and Empowering Innovation

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

In our first Big Questions interview of the year, we spoke with PMG Head of Analytics Laurie Miller about the biggest challenges facing marketers today and how business leaders can tap innovations in AI and machine learning to accelerate their first-party data and measurement strategies. 

With a wealth of experience in fashion, ecommerce, and omnichannel retail, Laurie is responsible for leading PMG’s Analytics, Data Science, and Measurement practice. Her expertise lies in managing brand marketing data foundations, building analytics solutions, and accelerating advanced measurement strategies. 

Prior to joining PMG, Laurie was Director of Marketing Analytics at Sephora, where she played a pivotal role in advancing omnichannel marketing measurement and testing roadmaps. She’s also worked across various roles in customer analytics, digital strategy, and business development at Gap, Inc., collaborating across the retailer’s portfolio of apparel brands. Laurie’s unique background on both the brand and agency sides, coupled with her digital strategy expertise, enables her to help PMG customers overcome their most complex data and measurement challenges. Laurie holds an MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management and a BS from Northwestern University.

It’s becoming increasingly more difficult for brands to extract meaningful insights from the vast amounts of data available. Marketers are not only grappling with trying to understand the signals from their target audiences but also deciphering the impact of their campaigns and media mix. 

In recent years, privacy concerns and new regulations have further complicated the data landscape. More privacy changes are expected in 2024, so brands will have to continue adapting how they access and utilize consumer data. This shift will require brands to take ownership of their media measurement, ensuring that they have a comprehensive understanding of their marketing efforts and its impact on their target audiences. By truly owning their measurement strategy, brands will have a more accurate and holistic view of their marketing performance. Greater accountability and ownership allow marketers to make better, more informed, data-driven decisions, optimize their campaigns with agility, and allocate resources more effectively.

By leveraging advanced analytics tools and measurement strategies, brands can better navigate the noise often found in data to uncover valuable insights that drive business growth. Taking a more proactive approach by investing further in future-proofing measurement will be crucial for marketers to stay ahead in this ever-evolving digital landscape.  

I want to note that my answer to this question now is significantly different than what it would have been one year ago, and that’s what makes it such an exciting time to be in our industry. Advancements in AI and machine learning have elevated them as powerful tools that can truly revolutionize the use of first-party data and measurement strategies, driving greater efficiencies and helping marketers make better decisions faster. 

Business leaders should feel empowered by this acceleration and lean into emerging technologies as these tools can be leveraged to gain a deeper understanding of their customers, optimize their media mix, and activate testing roadmaps. Customer analytics, media mix modeling, and experimentation have experienced significant capability leaps in recent months, thanks to the power of machine learning. We’ve seen brands integrate this technology via Alli to process vast amounts of data quickly and accurately and uncover patterns and trends that may have gone otherwise unnoticed. Having access to better insights can empower CMOs to refine their strategies, from messaging to audience targeting. 

I continue to be impressed by the diversification and expansion of streaming platforms and new, more immersive ad formats. Paired with new audience targeting capabilities, streaming services and CTV platforms are offering sophisticated targeting options and ushering in a new wave of engagement and measurement precision across the media mix. 

Similarly, clean room measurement solutions are poised to play a crucial role in the future of marketing. As privacy concerns and data regulations continue to reshape the industry, clean room technologies provide a privacy-safe environment for activating, analyzing, and measuring campaigns. In helping marketers navigate the challenges posed by cookie deprecation, clean room measurement solutions allow marketers to gain valuable insights without compromising consumer privacy. 

We’re all about learning and growing at PMG. Fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration requires a thoughtful balance to ensure team members feel heard, seen, and accomplishments celebrated while having the flexibility to explore their ideas and collaborate with each other.

For us, this translates into one of my favorite meetings of the week, our weekly huddle. This is where the entire team comes together to celebrate wins and highlight the latest innovations across our group. During these meetings, achievements are acknowledged, from data bug fixes to the development of new measurement approaches or the build-out of machine learning pipelines. By shining a light on these accomplishments, I’m hoping to reinforce the value of teamwork and collaboration on the team, which are essential to our collective success. It’s important to always be sharing, rather than gate-keeping, as we foster a culture of openness and knowledge sharing. 

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Maintaining a growth mindset is another key aspect of my personal leadership style, and it extends to my team. We’re not afraid to fail, and by pushing ourselves through learning and experimentation, we’re constantly innovating and helping to push the boundaries of what’s possible in our industry, which is what we’re all about at PMG. 

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