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Thriving Where Data, Tech Intersect

MCNWW 2017: Modi Media’s Jamie Power moves at the brisk speed of advanced advertising 1/30/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
Jamie Power, managing partner, Modi Media

JAMIE POWER

TITLE: Managing Partner

COMPANY: Modi Media

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: As the leader of Modi’s targeted television practice, Power uses data in new ways to advance consumer targeting for advertisers. Her career in strategic media planning with GroupM and TouchTunes prepared her to help launch Modi as a unit of GroupM in 2014.

QUOTABLE: “Ask as many questions as possible … the only way you’re going to learn is if you continue to question everything. With the business that we do I always want to streamline, make it more effective. So if I get a ‘no,’ I generally don’t just accept it, I want to understand if it’s ‘cannot’ or ‘will not’ so we can figure out a way to make it possible.”

 

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Things move fast in Jamie Power’s world, and she keeps pushing the young medium of addressable television to be smarter, faster and better. Power was on the three-person team that launched Modi Media in 2014 as a unit of advertising giant GroupM. The new organization was created to bring the potential of digital TV to advertisers, enabling greater targeting and engagement than had previously been possible. Modi draws on consumer data to create campaigns that serve tailored ads to select households via addressable set-top boxes. More than half of U.S. households are now addressable and growth continues.

 

HITTING ADVERTISER TARGETS

The deployment of addressability is accompanied by an explosion of ever more granular data. Initially, targeted television advertising was used to sell big-ticket items like luxury cars to high-income viewers. Today, Power uses the tool to sell a much wider range of products. “I think what’s been most exciting is in the last couple of years we’ve been able to work with different data sets to take [targeted television] beyond the categories that everybody thinks about. If I want to go after people who suffer with heart conditions, I can do that now. We can use credit-card data to go after heavy movie ticket users. There really isn’t any advertiser it doesn’t work for, and I think why we’re successful is because we’re creative — there really is a solution for any advertiser, it’s just thinking about the way to put the data together,” Power said.

 

Even when addressability is fully deployed, Power doesn’t expect Modi’s brand of targeted advertising to replace mass-media campaigns. Broad approaches will still be needed to build awareness. Addressable technology adds a powerful arrow to the media planner’s quiver, one whose results can be accurately measured. The value of the service to advertisers makes it important to multichannel video providers, as well.

 

Altice Media Solutions uses set-top technology as part of its value proposition, according to unit president Ed Renicker. He said Power’s talent at building a business case for advertisers “has brought in new clientele to our market and a far different approach, both qualitative as well as quantitative, that perhaps they haven’t thought of or used in the past.” Renicker said Power “really gets not just where the business is, but where it’s going. She sees it in a more visionary way.”

 

Power’s vision includes consumer benefits. “It’s about serving more relevant content to the consumer,” she said. “If you don’t have heart disease, you probably don’t need to see an ad for medicine at that time. Down the road, looking at things like skinny bundles, if content on the television is more relevant to the consumer, there’s no reason ads shouldn’t be more relevant as well.”

 

The confluence of data and technology was a natural destination for Power, who set her sights on advertising in college. Interviewing at both creative and media agencies, she was drawn to the media side of the business.

 

An early mentor gave Power two rules to live by: write everything down and volunteer for everything. She took the advice to heart. As a 23-year-old media planner with GroupM, she noticed the company’s planning toolkit on her boss’s desk one day and asked to borrow it.

 

“I taught myself every single tool, and every time a new pitch would come up, I’d just volunteer,” she recalled. Late nights and working weekends paid off. “All I was doing was the tactical tools, but it got me in a place where I could listen and learn” from senior executives.

 

Power applied the knowledge she gained to her work for such clients as LG Electronics and Pizza Hut. At 25, she made partner.

 

After four and a half years with GroupM, Power seized a new opportunity with Touchtunes, a “digital jukebox company that was making $400 million in revenue just from people putting money in jukeboxes.” As VP of advertising sales and marketing, Power’s mission was to build an ad model for the company. The work built up her knowledge of digital advertising.

 

In 2013, GroupM began laying the groundwork for Modi Media, with Michael Bologna at the helm as president. Bologna had worked with Power before, and hired her to help get the new business started.

 

“It was by far the best decision that I made,” he said. “She’s an incredibly hard worker; she’s an incredibly quick study. She’s helped develop Modi from essentially nothing all the way to a profitable business.”

 

UNAFRAID TO ASK ADVICE

Building on her knowledge of television, digital technology and product development, Power took advantage of every opportunity to ask colleagues for advice on the new business. “I was so fortunate to be able to learn from the best folks in the industry,” she said. Modi has grown 100% year over year since its January 2014 launch, the company said.

 

It is an indication of Power’s competence and drive that she sees nothing remarkable in the fact that she gestated two enormous projects at the same time: Modi launched just two months after her son was born. A lesser mortal might be daunted by that level of multitasking, but Power took it in stride.

 

“When you’re being a mom,” she said, “you just power through and get it done. And [Modi] was such an exciting opportunity. When my son was feeding, I’d just open up a spreadsheet. It was actually good timing.”

 

Power credits her mother as a model. “My brother was 2, I was 3 and my sister was 5. Her attitude was, ‘With a little bit of work ethic and some humor, anything’s possible.’ Just do it.”

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