AOL boss says brands must integrate data everything they do across the marketing mix.

Speaking at Dmexco in Cologne today (19 September), Armstong explained how AOL is adopting the approach in what he has coined as its “Barbell Strategy”, with deep brand experiences sitting at one end of the bar – such as the recent TechCrunch Disrupt event – and programmatic automation at the other – emphasised by AOL’s launch of a real time bidding marketplace across Europe yesterday (18 September).

He said the AOL business is tied together by “datatising” the middle of the bar – attaching data to everything the business does.

Talking about media owners in general, Armstrong predicted a trend towards becoming more like an enterprise company.

He said: “You have to have a new skillset in your company, which is enterprise. It’s very different and looks more like a Salesforce or an Oracle. That specific skillset in our industry, the ability to sell to the CIO [as well as the CMO], is now ranked at number one or number two.”

The need for a data-driven mindset is increasing given the amount of consolidation across the media industry. Commenting on the recently announced Publicis Groupe and Omnicom merger, Armstrong says the companies see it as an opportunity to “leapfrog” ahead of competitors from a data and system standpoint “to the future”.