Q&A with OMD's ED of global technology and emerging platforms

So, just what the hell does Israel Mirsky do in this newly-created position?

Check out this sexy new role courtesy of OMD: Executive director of global technology and emerging platforms.

Israel Mirsky is the proud title-holder. He filled the Omnicom Media Group (OMG) network role with a mission to provide and facilitate technology and platform solutions that empower OMD teams around the world to deliver better decisions, faster to their clients.

Campaign US cornered Mirsky to fill in some blanks in a world where advertising-technology roles are emerging faster than the tech itself.

Why was this position created?

OMD is making a deliberate move to embrace and anticipate dramatic, rapid change across technology and industry, political and societal structures, and of course consumer expectations and marketing communications. My role is to help future-proof OMD and our clients businesses. To do that, I’m driving workstreams and thought leadership that meet and anticipate global technological and behavioral shifts, enabling our people and ultimately our clients to make better decisions, faster.

To think about the difference between this role and that of a CIO, consider the relationship between a senior product manager and a technical lead on a software project. The project manager synthesizes a wide swath of stakeholder needs, marketplace conditions and relevant data to forge a winning product strategy, and works in partnership with the technical product lead as the product and marketplace evolve to constantly adapt and improve the plan and the product.

My role’s relationship to the CIO is similar to that of the product manager, but at the executive level -- gathering data, building stakeholder relationships and driving a future-facing technology approach into day to day realities for OMD. In that capacity, I work closely with the OMG CIO to enable our people with the right kinds of technology, in addition to my other responsibilities.


Where is the relationship between creativity and technology right now?

The relationship between creativity and technology is closer than it has ever been, and it’s going to keep getting more tightly knit as technology facilitates working together around the consumer.

Combining Omni -- Omnicom’s people-based precision marketing platform -- and the OMD design end-to-end process, we’re able to facilitate closer collaboration between creative and media. Teams across offices, countries and regions teams are guided through leveraging the same datasets throughout  the process, coming together to define a set of audience segments, investigate them through a series of connected tools -- for instance, to understand consumer journey or content consumption -- and then evaluate inventory and activate, including through dynamic creative.

The most interesting place for me is in the use of technology to enable the exploration and testing of creative hypotheses. In the best case, the data should inspire creative ideas. The challenge has been how to make it accessible to those who are generating creative ideas, and that’s where these tools can be really powerful.


What recent technology wave has created the most significant change in consumer behavior?

Although "augmented reality" is not ready as a consumer product, what is very apparent is that an extremely large number of people are already operating in an augmented way -- using their phones as extensions of themselves. There is virtually no activity today that isn’t co-experienced with, and influenced by, a mobile phone for most people; it is the greatest behavioral shift in our lifetimes, and the implications of this shift are only beginning to be understood.

You were recently at CES -- what was the most fascinating thing you saw there, and how will it change the way people live and communicate today?

CES was a preview of the first foldable phones to hit the market, I’m very interested to see how this new form factor might further move content viewing behavior to mobile. The tablet-like experience of an unfolded phone is a much more comfortable size for long form content consumption. If they don’t break at the first drop, I’d definitely get one.


Which emerging technology is likely to have the most impact on the industry in 2019?

I’m very interested in where voice is going. At CES, voice was everywhere, built into everything from multicookers to shower heads to computer mice. I think we’re seeing the first wave of technology that really resets consumer expectations around how the world should respond to their voices.

It was particularly interesting to see Alexa and Assistant in so many headphones, including those that let the sounds of the outside world through. Augmented hearing looks like a major frontier for consumer behavior -- adjusting for a consumer that is constantly able to interact with a voice assistant.

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