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Thoughts on Innovation – Jason Furlano

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Jason Furlano is a media and marketing leader, with extensive experience within the advertising and technology industry. He is widely recognized for his expertise and passion, regularly speaking at Canadian events on transformational trends and emerging technologies. As VP of Sales, Jason currently leads the expanding Canadian sales team at MiQ, bringing over 12 years of agency and sales experience to the team. He oversees key relationships with a number of strategic partners, driving the design and development of MiQ’s proprietary analytics platforms and media solutions. His previous experience includes leading the programmatic sales team at Yahoo and BrightRoll and holding positions at Oath, Vizeum, and MediaCom.  His tenure working with all major holding companies and clients has propelled the MiQ initiative to help businesses win through marketing intelligence.

What is your definition of “innovation”?

Innovation, at its core, is creating a solution to a problem. There’s a common misconception that innovation always means inventing something brand-new — but it can mean something as simple as ‘reinventing’ a tool to make it better or stronger.

For example, it wasn’t long ago that traditional forms of media dominated the advertisement space. When we used to plan out-of-home (OOH) campaigns we would have to call the reps, get availabilities, book it into a GRP model, send it back to the reps, print an actual billboard and then finally post it for a four-week flight. But now that’s all consolidated into programmatic – digital out-of-home (DOOH), which is both time and cost-efficient.

A lot of clients get stuck on a new ad format online, but that’s not what I consider to be innovative. We need to continue to use programmatic and data capabilities together to provide smarter ways to enhance user experience, discard the age-old advertising gimmicks and actually connect with people.

Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?

Emerging technologies are shaking up every industry, and you need to invest to stay ahead of the ever-changing tech curve.

In today’s retail market, insolvency is a huge issue for traditional businesses because they’re not agile enough. We’re seeing it in the media every day: businesses closing brick and mortar stores, retail companies providing free shipping to incentivize online users, and so on.

But the reason a business like Amazon is succeeding in retail capabilities is that it’s focused on user convivence and invested in the tech to deliver that.

Our industry has to learn from this so we can move past antiquated ways of measuring media and focus on aligning with the core business challenges for our partners. That means measuring using business metrics rather than merely click-through rates.

What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?

Be open to embracing and investing in innovation. There is a constant fear in the Canadian market around technologies that share and use data – fear of a breach making headlines.

Though caution is understandable and a good thing in a lot of ways — you have to make sure it’s not debilitating. Some failures along the way are inevitable and it shouldn’t be deterring you, but instead motivating you to find a solution. You have to be willing to fail and learn so you do better next time. It’s also important to have open and honest discussions about innovation, and seek support when planning and strategizing the future. There are agile partners in the ad-tech space in Canada that can help make the most of your investments. Always keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all partner. You need a unique strategy that aligns with your business.

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