Using data to power identity graphs requires talent and a new way of looking at media planning and activation. But it’s all of little use unless creative and media people at agencies form effective means of collaborating, according to Erin Matts.

The newly appointed U.S. CEO of Hearts & Science sees progress being made on the collaboration front, some of it client driven, she explains in this interview at this week’s Beet.TV Identity Forum in Manhattan.

Agencies need tech talent that “intellectually understands that there has been a disconnect in the industry in terms of the data that we’ve used from an upper planning perspective and the data that we use from an activation perspective and measurement as well,” says Matts, who joined Hearts & Science last month from Annalect, where she had been North American CEO.

“Unless we’re able to wrap our heads around the identity graph and actually pull that through the entire process to deliver an ideal consumer experience, we’re missing the whole thread and we’re missing the whole buyer.”

Asked by interviewer Ashley J. Swartz, CEO of Furious Corp., whether the creative leadership at agencies is “open and ready to ingest data into the process,” Matts says absolutely, with some exceptions to the rule.

“There’s still, like, the creative directors with their black turtlenecks who are thinking about things in a very traditional way,” says Matts. “But nine times out of ten, every creative director I talk to is really interested in making sure that the work they’re producing actually works. That’s where a data-infused strategy really comes into play.”

She sees the media side becoming more adept at talking to its creative partners “in a way that doesn’t alienate them and actually ensures that data inspires creativity and doesn’t limit that.”

As for the traditional finger pointing between creative and media over campaign success or lack thereof, some of it has been mitigated by client-dictated teams.

“That means teams sit together, they collaborate together. I think what I’ve found particularly successful is when you have a collaborative team that sits together maybe three days a week but sits back at their own home agency the other two days a week or whatever combination of those days are.”

Preserving and leveraging the “magic of your agency and what that means” can perhaps involve something as simple as having everyone don a Hearts & Science T-shirt for a meeting. “If you lose that you lose the nuance and the magic associated with that agency, which will be valuable to that collaborative approach. It sounds really tactical but that to me has been a really great way to mitigate the finger pointing,” Matts says.

This video was produced in New York City at Identity in Focus: Understanding the Cross-Screen Consumer in a Fragmented World, at Beet.TV Leadership Forum, presented by 4INFO  and hosted by Viacom.  For more videos from the series, please visit this page.