OMD Insider Intelligence: RampUp 2023
27 April 2023

Lessons Every Executive Leader Should Know from RampUp 2023

By Jake LaDuke, Morgan Schrage, Aaron Edington

The world of data privacy, tech, and the tools to navigate them is constantly shifting. Increased government regulation and steep fines for tech giants, as well as brands that violate consumer data protection measures, can cause a chilling effect on businesses.

Marketers who are unsure of what can be done will paralyze their data strategies, which will kneecap the effectiveness of marketing efforts. A proper data strategy drives more business impact with less investment.

We believe there is an opportunity for marketers to harness these headwinds and charter a course that is grounded in consumer privacy and grows market share through novel applications of data and technology.

Yes, even for those marketers without troves of first-party data; and yes, even for marketers in highly regulated industries.

In March, OMD attended LiveRamp’s RampUp conference, a staple industry event that brings together marketing, tech, and data professionals to discuss the latest data analytics trends and innovations to stay ahead in a dynamic marketplace.

Throughout the event, we observed several trends and insights that executive leaders and agents of change should leverage to shift the conversation away from a zero-sum game of third-party cookie deprecation to a new paradigm of data collaboration.

LiveRamp’s Great Pivot From Identity To Collaboration

Marketers have chased a persistent identity of consumers across devices and media touchpoints in order to find optimal personalization for more than a decade. LiveRamp is one of the most established household names in that pursuit (literally).

Typically, RampUp tends to be the event where LiveRamp rolls out the red carpet for where they’re placing their biggest bet(s) on products and services. This year’s biggest insights were found in what they didn’t mention as much as what they did discuss at length.

From the keynote address and throughout the panels, LiveRamp was noticeably quieter about their proprietary products (SafeHaven as a cleanroom, Authenticated Traffic Solution as an activation signal) and much louder about how they’re supporting a broader ecosystem of collaboration (deeper integrations with Snowflake’s cleanroom, partnering with Google’s PAIR initiative). Therefore, pertinent takeaways would include the following:

  • The game of futureproofing one’s tech stack and data strategy is chess, not checkers: marketers need to understand how all their pieces function individually and how they are best used collectively for one’s data strategy. Further still, brands should focus more on the entire chessboard and not just a particular piece or point solution.
  • Singular pieces of LiveRamp products like ATS or SafeHaven have not become the breakaway industry standard. Hence, we’ve seen LiveRamp pivot their business to support their products but also integrate them into other ecosystems – so a focus on diversification is a lesson brands should take to heart.
  • Interoperability should be the buzzword of every marketer and technologist. LiveRamp’s willingness to license its identity graph and activation capabilities to platforms like Snowflake shows a willingness to lean into the ways clean rooms can preserve consumer privacy and unlock revenue streams. Interoperability is a key piece that will need to be established over the next 24 months of privacy-enhancing tech evolutions.

Data Cleanrooms Are The Privacy-Preserving Collaboration Hubs For The Foreseeable Future

While hardly a new concept, RampUp solidified that early adopters of single and multi-party clean rooms unlock consented, privacy-compliant data collaborations without the risks of exposing their data to another party.

Speakers from The Hershey Company, Heineken, and McDonald’s all had a presence on panels discussing how democratizing data access and re-framing a shared sense of who owns collaboration unlocked business value through novel approaches to audience insights, media planning, activation, and ROI measurement.

Discussion across multiple panels at RampUp was very in line with the key takeaways from the IAB’s State of Data 2023:

  • There are huge amounts of untapped value through collaboration in clean rooms (brand-to-publisher for media use cases and brand-to-brand for broader business analytics and product applications).
  • Establishing a clean room strategy and executing it in a large organization is not turnkey and requires investment in tech and talent.
  • Navigating this is an exercise in change management: involving IT and legal counterparts early was a recurring motif.

Commerce and Retail Applications Of Clean Rooms Are The Latest Gold Rush

Necessity being the mother of invention – the retail category has invested in the picks and axes and becomes one of the earliest adopters of new data collaborations, offering up novel levels of data-driven marketing for brands.

Major retailers like Kroger, Carrefour, and Walmart have recognized the value of clean rooms as they look to enhance their data-driven capabilities and competition for media spend. By leveraging clean rooms, these retailers offer collaboration with CPG, as well as non-endemic brands, for audience overlap and expansion for product-market fit, targeted ad experiences, and even integration with inventory management data flows.

Business leaders should keep an eye on this sector as one of the canaries deepest into the coal mine to see what business impacts these new capabilities unlock to early adopters’ bottom lines and where they should place or double down on their bets.

Non-Endemic Brands Also Have An Opportunity To Strike Gold Through New Data Approaches

Savvy business leaders, especially CMOs and CTOs, discovered that multi-party clean rooms can solve the risk-to-reward equation of privacy and utility for their own data-driven marketing objectives. Savvier still is the one broadening the aperture to other applications for revenue and ROI on their tech and talent.

Data monetization, first-party data enrichment, merger, and acquisition use cases are some of the areas we’re seeing data clean rooms and privacy-enhancing tech led to, even from brands who have historically been unable to participate in the data economy.

Brands in highly regulated categories are exploring where do they have a right to win through consumer consent, legal policy, data, and tech strategy and further diversify their revenue streams.

In closing, RampUp remains one of the most noteworthy events of the year for OMD and our partners, and we’re looking forward to pulling these insights into actionable strategies for our clients.




RampUp Panel Summary Spotlight: “The Dirt on Clean Rooms”

Featuring Sebastien Hernoux, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at OMD US

“Think strategically, plan and understand your use cases; and have a short- and long-term plan.” 

– Sebastien Hernoux, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at OMD U.S.


Panel Takeaways:

  • The biggest hurdles to Clean Room adoption for brands are use case identification and resources and the industry interoperability across Clean Rooms.
  • Clean Rooms should be thought of as an opportunity to achieve differential privacy and multi-party computing without the need to move data into or out of a brand’s cloud infrastructure. To do this while satiating your business needs will be costly but worthwhile.
  • It’s critical for the industry to make Clean Rooms interoperable so we can build connectivity within the different platforms and ensure the walls of the walled gardens aren’t built too high to prevent a full view of our consumers.

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