Q. Data plays a huge role with brands. Do you envision chief data officers (CDOs) becoming as widespread as chief operating officers (COOs)?

A. Data has always driven effective decision-making. But with people leaving an ever-increasing digital footprint of what they think, feel, say and do, clients don’t necessarily want more data, they want the right data from real people. At the same time, permission-based data and privacy have become more important and more complex with GDPR. So yes, in partnership with COOs, the role of the CDO is absolutely becoming more critical to success and growth.

This year we appointed Marc Ryan as CDO to oversee our platform road map, data acquisition strategy and engineering resources. We’re fortunate as part of Kantar to have access to many industry-leading data specialists and proprietary assets. Marc himself joined us from Kantar Millward Brown, where he helped architect their data network. So I’d like to think we’ll be at the forefront of helping shape the role of CDOs in market research.

Q. With new competitors entering the data space, how does Lightspeed differentiate itself?

A. Lightspeed has always been committed to quality-focused solutions – our ISO-accredited panels, GDPR expertise, award-winning survey design and uniquely patented Honesty Detector solution are testimony to that. But with tech disruptors, APIs, programmatic, secure server environments and data privacy regulations becoming increasingly prevalent, we knew that our future couldn’t depend on being just “panel people.” Twelve months ago we started our transformation into a nexus for digital data collection, powered by automation to optimize speed, simplicity and scale for clients. We’ve taken bold approaches, partnering with smart tech disruptors instead of trying to build everything ourselves. Today, we offer clients the best of both worlds when it comes to discovering truth through data – i.e., a source of permission-based data, including our proprietary DOI panels and programmatic data and a platform that connects “buy” to “why.”

Q. What can we expect from Lightspeed in the next six months?

A. We’ll continue to expand but also simplify our data solutions to make it even easier for clients to partner with us. Powered by a single, automated platform, we’ll continue to find faster, more creative ways of sourcing and connecting data: from search to modern survey, from opt-in panels to programmatic exchanges and DMPs, from self-reported answers to appended profiles, from insights to activation. Our panels, capabilities and solutions will continue to help clients form a fuller picture of individuals and issues, giving unprecedented scale and weight to ideas and credibility to conviction.

Q. We’re hearing more about modern surveys. Can you tell us Lightspeed’s approach?

A. If surveys aren’t built with a mobile consumer in mind, you’re not reaching your target audience. In some of the world’s fastest-growing markets, like China, it’s now “mobile everything.” We focus on making it easy for clients to “know more by asking less,” without compromising consistency, quality and feasibility. That means delivering more real-life connections with consumers, patients and physicians in faster, more seamless, more engaging, more implicit and more in-the-moment ways.