Pandemic and Brexit aside, 2021 is the year of what? Why?
Community. As an industry, we’re at an inflection point. Advertisers, agencies and publishers are navigating huge change, aside from the pandemic and Brexit. Cookie deprecation, privacy and building consumer trust are still top priorities for the industry, and these challenges will require coming together as a community and collaborating.

From a personal perspective, we’ve come together as a nation by keeping apart for almost a year, and it’s having a sense of community and togetherness that has got us through. I hope that 2021 will be about physical togetherness, when it’s safe, having dinner with our neighbours who did shopping when we weren’t well, arranging school play dates and seeing friends who live outside of our immediate vicinity. 

Oddly, I have seen more of my extended family in lockdown than at any other time — we have a monthly quiz. I want to hold on to this connection when the world opens up again, and I think other people do too.  

What are the 3 most exciting things on your to do list for today?
1. Preparing updates for our board on the progress we have made on our Advertiser Strategy
2. 1:1s with my team, it’s really important to me to have weekly catch ups with key team members to move our projects forward at pace
3. A breath work hour with my yoga teacher

Who inspires you in adland? Why?
Carol Fisher, she is now retired but during her time was an absolute trailblazer. She rose to the top of marketing in typically male dominated industries — she was the first female Marketing Director within the brewing industry. 

She continued to grow into roles like the Chief Executive of COI, transforming the department into a world leader of Government Communications. Carol never let her gender hold her back from opportunities and I find that inspirational.      

What was the last ad your saw that made you buy something?
A Saint + Sofia social advertising campaign on Instagram a few weeks ago. 

What’s your all time favourite ad campaign and why?
It has to be The Gospel According to GHD. It was executed brilliantly on the insight that their target audience covet great hair and tapped into the stereotypes of the femme fatale. 

What’s your single biggest learning of 2020?
Pressure is relative. 2020 put a lot of us through the wringer, our jobs were put at risk, our finances were strained and all while being deprived of social contact. It gave me a fairly strong reality check about the things I felt pressure over before and instilled discipline in me over the factors that were in my control.

 I focused on looking after my physical and mental health to build resilience, I found it was the only way to make it through.   

How do you plan to take your business forward in 2021?
Permutive’s vision is to rebuild data in advertising to protect user privacy. Our platform has helped some of the largest media owners around the world to achieve this. 

To take our business forward, it's my plan to broadcast this message to the advertising community and have open conversations about what this means for them. As we build software for advertisers we want to deliver against our vision and deliver the most value we can.

What keeps you awake at night?
Tough question, I am generally a dreadful sleeper and the smallest thing can keep me awake. I mostly fret over trivial things like forgetting to put something on my ‘to-do’ list that’s important. 

What’s the biggest opportunity in marketing and advertising right now?
The impending removal of third-party cookies from Chrome. For advertisers, it means they will need to take action this year to appropriately collect and understand their first-party data. 

Forrester research shows that 1-in-5 consumers have already stopped shopping with brands they view as having poor data practices. There is an opportunity here for advertisers with exemplary data practices to win market share. 

What kind of innovation excites you the most?
Any innovation that starts with problem solving. I have always enjoyed working with clients to get to the heart of answering a business challenge.

 I think that this builds the strongest partnerships and for me it’s the same with innovation. Uber’s journey is a perfect example. The founders were in Paris, it was pouring down and they were trying to hail a cab and getting very wet in the process. They knew there must be a better solution and the concept of Uber was born.

Lockdown is over. The office is open. Describe your perfect working day…
The perfect workday for me starts with a workout, I love classes like Barry’s Bootcamp and 1Rebel. The rest of the day would be packed with collaborative meetings, either internal or external. 

If we’re making progress towards goals, I’m happy. I’m my most fulfilled when I have an opportunity to coach, so I try hard to weave that into my day-to-day too. Socialising with my team is something I have really missed in lockdown so this would be the perfect end to the day.  

What would you most like to change about the ad industry?
The nurturing and progression of talent — all talent. It might sound trite but I think there is a void of managers who seek to get the absolute best from their teams, and prioritise this part of their role.

 It is key to us keeping great minds and innovators in the ad industry. We can’t rely on the glamour of working in ‘advertising’ to keep people in jobs when they are working 80-hour weeks with no career plan or recognition. 

We also need infrastructure in place to make our industry more accessible to people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and socio-economic groups.    

What are you speaking about at MAD//Anywhere?

My session is called: Take charge of your identity strategy. I’ll be giving the audience a sneak peak into some early results of a Permutive commissioned Forrester report.

This fielded in February and asked advertisers and publishers about their views on identity. In addition, I’ll be providing recommendations on how to build an identity strategy and prepare for what’s to come in 2021.  

Elizabeth is speaking at MAD//Anywhere on 11 March. Click here for the agenda or here to book a ticket.