On the occasion of Wharton’s Annual Analytics Conference, keynote speaker and Wharton MBA Alum Jamie Moldafsky presented her thoughts on how data and analytics can be both a source for truth and a force for good.
M0ldafsky is the relatively newly named Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the venerable data and media measurement company, Nielsen. The former long-time CMO of Wells Fargo and Forbes 50 Most Influential CMOs list member joined Nielsen in November of 2020 when Nielsen CEO David Kenny brought her in as part of his “refresh” of Nielsen’s senior leadership team.
After 30 years of managing consumer facing blue chip brands like Wells Fargo, American Express, Charles Schwab and Whirlpool, Moldafsky moved to a BtoB brand because she was attracted to the Nielsen mission.
“The reason I came to Nielsen and what excited me about Nielsen was that the company is grounded in data and analytics and is in a very powerful position, if it chooses, to actually make sure that the information it produces is used to do good. The data that we put out has an impact on society. So, we have a lens on it, which is about making sure it’s inclusive and representative, which it has to be in order for us to have integrity,” says Moldafsky.
Most people know Nielsen for its TV viewership ratings and within the industry it was rightly viewed as the gold-standard for representative, panel-based research. Yet it also developed a reputation for being a bit stogy as the world of digital media seemed to pass it by. But no more.
Under CEO Kenny’s leadership, Nielsen is innovating its digital measurement tools and has created an exciting vision of the future of media measurement through it’s Nielsen One measurement product. Nielsen describes it as “a single, cross-media solution that will drive more comparable and comprehensive metrics across platforms, altering the advertising industry forever by providing a single currency for audience measurement.”
A key part of Moldafsky’s role is to both communicate Nielsen’s new vision for the future and to educate the media industry to the importance and power of inclusive data and analytics. “Increasingly we would like to be viewed less as a [media] referee and more as that source of truth, to help all boats rise. If we do use this knowledge smartly, advertisers are going to waste less money. I do think we are arming a lot of our clients, whether they’re advertisers or agencies or content producers or distributors with information to make them more successful,” says Moldafsky.
She points to the company being data scientists at its core and therefore want the data to be the best it can be. “It has to be. And people take that so seriously. That means you have to include every household. You have to be sure that all of our data is truly representative of the population, which is why we were so supportive of the census. That focus is so intertwined with who the company is in terms of our mission,” says Moldafsky.
Putting up a true mirror to media consumers and providing inclusion analytics that compare media content to the general population, especially including typically underrepresented segments, is now core to the Nielsen mission. “It’s something our CEO feels very passionate about. That makes our sense of responsibility a little higher. It’s not just a responsibility to our clients to have good data, but a responsibility to society to make sure that that data is seen and known and leveraged,” says Moldafsky.
M0ldafsky also refers to the work she and CEO Kenny are doing to articulate the company’s purpose in light of the split in the business between NielsenIQ, which was sold to Advent International and Nielsen. She points to Nielsen’s purpose as “powering a better media future for all.”
To further emphasize that mission, the company is making its data available for free to minority focused media. “Clients choose us because they trust our data and they want that source of truth. That’s why we make our data available to everybody and want everybody to have equal access, not just the people who can afford to pay for it,” says Moldafsky.
“Inclusion analytics is the beginning of something very powerful for us. For example, how do women of colour see themselves portrayed in shows that have crime and violence. It’s important that we get underneath the data of what people are seeing and how they feel about that,” says Moldafsky.
Here are some data points from Nielsen’s “Being Seen on Screen: Diverse Representation and Inclusion on TV” report:
“I’m a big believer that we can play this incredibly important role in making sure that consumers see themselves in ways that are fair and motivating and exciting,” concludes Moldafsky.
To review the full report, go here.