Q&A with James Quinlan, Strategy Director at Publicis

Every month we will be profiling advertising and digital media influencers to get an unfiltered glimpse or their professional and personal lives. If there is someone you’d like to see us profile, please email suzanne@eastwick.com.

James Quinlan

How did you get started?

Career misdirection — I started out in law as I wanted to experience a different category before getting into advertising (something that I look for in other people when hiring).

How did you end up where you are today?

Just saying “yes” to every opportunity that came along, and then making my own opportunities (such as moving from Sydney to NYC).

Who do you think is the most influential person in ad tech? Why?

At the moment I’m more excited by a particular role than any individual. What excites me is the way that agencies are beginning to work with — and to help fund — startup ventures. Look at Publicis Drugstore or kbs+ VENTURES. The possibilities here are enormous — both for the startups, as well as for the agencies involved in terms of the potential revenue streams as well as for the infusion of the best elements of startup culture into agency environments.

What do you think will be the biggest trend in the next 5 years?

Increased transparency. Now that (almost) everything is measurable, and decisions are being based upon the data that we collect, it’s more important than ever before that we can rely upon what we’re collecting. Beware of the bots!

What innovative company do you feel the industry should be watching?

Am currently working with Quid in San Francisco, and having had a look under the hood at the next generation of their product, I’m excited that it goes beyond data visualization to deliver on their promise of changing “how people interact with information.”

What challenges do you feel advertising/marketing technology companies should be focused on solving right now?

How we integrate all of the stuff that we have access to. We keep finding more pieces to the puzzle, but I’m not sure that anyone’s figured out what the big picture is meant to look like yet.

Name the one piece of software that changed your role/job in the past 5 years.

Anything social listening — it largely gave me my job just over five years ago!

Can you predict the buzzwords for 2015?

If SXSW is any guide it’s a lot of the same stuff — location-based tech, wearables… it’s just that this vision of the future is now actually arriving, is dressed in a suit and has shown up for its first day of work. And it’s more of a phrase, but unfortunately “I’d like it to go viral” is probably still going to be with us for a while longer.

If there is someone you’d like to see us profile, please email suzanne@eastwick.com.

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