SANTA BARBARA — For years, marketers have tried combatting growing consumer resistance to advertising with a hopeful refrain – if only they could make their ads more “relevant”, perhaps marketing would cross a rubicon and become useful.

The theory is all well and good – but how do you actually make it happen?

Perhaps inconveniently, a key ingredient of “relevance” seems to be another thing about which consumers are becoming wary – data about them.

So how can marketers navigate the waters? In this interview with Beet.TV, Forrester Research principal analyst Joanna O’Connell, who has also spent time as a marketers, opens up on key considerations.

“Things like identity management become really really important,” she says. “It’s not a ‘nice to have’, it’s literally a ‘how do I resolve to people so that, when I’m doing my advertising, I’m doing it at the people level?’

“Another thing would be ‘how are my different ad technologies talking to each other in a way that allows me to better manage my frequency more globally?'”

So-called “frequency management”, understanding how often audiences are exposed to particular ads, is an oft-discussed topic, O’Connell concedes.

But she says marketers have to put their money where their mouths are – and actually switch on the systems.

However, gaining consumer relevance isn’t just about technology, it’s also about crafting creative, human-driven messaging that can meet the right audiences once you know who they are, O’Connell adds.

“In the digital world we’re not as good at that in the day-to-day with the creative that is out in market,” she complains. “How do we make sure we’re always thinking about the consumer, and there’s tech that actually is giving advertisers those palettes and agencies those palettes to be able to do that kind of stuff?”

O’Connell is a seasoned marketing analyst who also had a stint as MediaMath’s chief marketer.

Her recent work has included a playbook report on selecting ad-tech vendors for an omni-channel strategy, a breakdown of 34 media agencies and an upcoming Forrester Wave dissection of tech firms that help power ad creative.

This video is part of a series leading up to, and covering the Xandr Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara. For more videos from the series, please visit this page. This Beet.TV program is sponsored by Xandr, a unit of AT&T.