SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—Analyst Joanna O’Connell spends much of her time at Forrester these days researching how consumers think about advertising. And while “it’s not an awesome story,” she sees marketers taking the steps to better understand things like identifying overlaps in their user base and considering needed organizational changes.

“To think that somehow everyone is okay with personalization, or to think that everyone hates personalization, is wrong,” O’Connell said at the outset of a fireside chat with GroupM’s  Phil Cowdell at Beet Retreat 2018. “None of us feels the same as any other person.”

As an example, she cited two hypothetical 25-year-olds that might have totally opposing attitudes toward the use of their data to better target them with ads.

“So that really is the crux of this, is that we need to appreciate that humans are individuals and we’re not doing that very well right now,” said O’Connell.

“We have all this data and technology available to us. It’s how we sort of tune the machines. The industry is kind of in the crapper. Consumers feel about different ad channels and formats, it’s not an awesome story,” particularly in the digital space, O’Connell added.

Addressing frequency capping of ads, Cowdell, most recently of GroupM, asked “How do we do it? Is it real or is it BS?”

From an omni-channel perspective, “There’s a lot of stuff out there where we are serving ads and we are just not cognizant enough of how all of those ads are interacting,” O’Connell responded. “We’re doing a good job in little fiefdoms of making things better, and that’s great.”

She talked about working with clients in the retail sector, one of which asked her “what should we centralize versus allow the brands to own?” Her response was to inquire whether the marketer understood the overlap in its user base, which it did not. “That might be a good place to start. Maybe the first thing to start thinking about is unifying your data. You can start thinking about execution a little bit later.”

Cowdell then asked about the potential for marketers embracing a service offering as opposed to individual brand managers selling individual products. “For sure. It’s starting to happen in little levels inside of these giant multi-brand organizations,” said O’Connell.

This video was produced in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Beet.TV executive retreat. Please find more videos from the series on this page. The Beet Retreat was presented by NCC along with Amobee, Dish Media, Oath and Google.