Former research scientist turned data guru, Dr. Jochen Schlosser, spoke to PerformanceIN about the big impacts of the EU data protection reform, industry competition, job challenges and more.

As director of data and IT at uniquidigital, Schlosser, who is speaking on day two at Performance Marketing Insights: Europe, is more than keen to delve into ‘a world without cookies’.

During his session he will discuss the pros and cons to consider before doing away with cookies entirely – with information from mobile devices meaning it is now possible to track a consumer without storing information locally.

Ahead PMI Berlin, we spoke to Schlosser about staying ahead of the competition and the hot topics he expects to be covered at the event.

As a former research scientist / consultant at the University of Hamburg, [for more than four years] what elements from this role have you taken and applied to your current role?

Jochen Schlosser: Precision and a highly structured approach towards problem solving combined with a clear priority on finding the right level of abstraction to deliver the message to the audience or client. But: It is two-sided story; it is not always the most complex idea that wins. You need to be able to tell your story. In science you go down to greatest detail, but in the end – when you enter the real world – you need to find the right approach to present your solution.

What is the most exciting element of your job?

JS: That is easy: (Digital) Marketing is a moving target! Only few things can be taken for granted, you cannot rest based on success from the past. We are part of an agile business and we are in constant beta! You cannot get bored; it is exciting by design.

And the most challenging element?

JS: Data drives our business, only few people in the industry really understand what is going on behind the scenes. Buzzwords are floating around and people are often confusing terms, respectively create their own semantics. Thus, my challenge is the classic one: Aligning customer needs with the complex world of technology while keeping it as simple as possible.

How hard is it to stay ahead of the digital agency competition in Germany?

JS: Hard! You really need to have a motivated team that helps to screen the market for change, to identify new innovative ideas, and eventually combine the best of the outside world with our own set of tools and data. The ecosystem of digital marketing is complex, keeping the overview is a challenge and finding the time to actually implement new solutions is not easy. Nevertheless, as an agency we need to be ahead, we need to be able to consult. This is what gets us our clients and what help us to recruit talented young people. We need to get the right people on the uniquedigital-bus…

Does this differ in the UK?

JS: For example, have a look at display advertising. The German market is more heterogeneous. There are more publishers and fewer providers of high-quality data. But does that mean that staying ahead is easier in UK? No, at least I do not think so: Being an early adopter, being a first mover and being quicker than the market is always a challenge. You need to have energy and you need to take certain risks. This is and will be true for both markets.

What top three channels gain the most traction/interest from your clients?

JS: In general, we believe that you should always orchestrate your channels using a cross-channel approach. Channels should not be analysed individually but always with respect to their impact across the entire marketing funnel. However, we do observe that RTA and Facebook advertising are quickly gaining ground and budgets increase significantly. This holds true for retargeting and – most notably – also for prospecting campaigns. This is partially due to the fact that attribution models other than LastClick are now able to clearly demonstrate the success of such campaigns.

How big an impact is the EU data protection reform that’s currently going through Brussels likely to have on your day job?

JS: There is a big impact, especially for me personally. Since the subject is confusing and connected to data. There are multiple solutions ranging from cloud-based services to device-recognition algorithms. As a result, it is a great opportunity for us as consultants to explain how you can adapt your business as advertiser, as agency, as publisher to the new rule set.

What’s the most impressive use of data that you have seen in a uniquedigital campaign?

JS: Each project offers great insights and surprising elements. But, data-driven attribution modelling is probably the most effective leverage for our performance clients: For instance, we have seen a 20% performance gain after optimizing campaigns based on our attribution model. This is due to the fact, that certain CPLs shift tremendously if you abandon “Last Click”.

Apart from that, each client offers the opportunity to integrate 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party data sources. This often yields a substantial increase in performance but is – unfortunately – confidential information.

What are you expecting to see as the hottest topic at Performance Marketing Insights, in Berlin this June?

JS: Well, of course Device Recognition as alternative to cookies… Seriously, I really hope that we get deeper insights into the topic of cross-device marketing which will bridge the gap between mobile and desktop. In addition, I am looking forward to see more use cases on attribution modelling. Everyone knows that “Last Click” cannot be the right measure for success in the future. However, the maturity of many solutions and its adaptation in the industry is not as widespread as it should be.