Meet the Mindstreamer – John McMurray

His role consists of translating client business goals into measurable performance indicators and ensuring our analytics team has the data and resources needed to build actionable and insightful reporting dashboards. Meet John McMurray, Associate Director, Data & Analytics based in our Dallas headquarters.

What keeps John motivated is the challenge of addressing evolving client needs and the rewarding feeling when the data proves that our efforts are achieving their goals. John sums up the ever-changing nature of his responsibilities with this quote, “In analytics, there isn’t such a thing as ‘catching up.’ There’s always another way to look at the data, dashboards to fine-tune or a project you’ve always wanted to start but haven’t had the time to work on yet.”

After devoting over 10 years of his career to video production working on other peoples’ passion projects and inconsistent freelance work, John decided to pursue a career change into data analytics. He recalls, “It was time to exercise the analytical side of my brain as a career and the creative side for personal projects. One thing I quickly learned working in analytics is there are plenty of creative outlets. Data manipulation requires both creative and critical thinking in solving dirty data problems and dashboard design.”

In the five years he’s been with the agency, John has seen his share of interesting changes in the media landscape; most notably is the evolution of data privacy and regulation. “Increased data privacy is the biggest change we’ve all seen transpire over the last couple years. With the rise of social media platforms in the early 2010s and the need to monetize their services through advertising, we saw their users and their profiles become the product with the proliferation of audiences and segmentation. Shortly after we saw data breaches and hacks happening more and more often, followed by the GDPR, then CCPA. Consumers are now hyper-aware of how their digital profiles, habits and personal details are being used and now regulators are trying to play catch up.”

As for the future of the media landscape and more specifically, audience targeting, John predicts that machine learning and model building will take over to extrapolate the knowns, changing them from an added-value feature to a necessity in the media industry. “Digital advertising has taken over in the last 10 years, partly because that’s where the eyes are and partly because of how hyper-targeted media has become. As data privacy is continually addressed, the idea of hyper-targeting the consumer may slowly start to fade as more consumers opt out of tracking.”

While there have certainly been many challenges within the industry, advancements like automation in data analytics have improved efficiencies for both clients and agencies alike. John shares, “Time and time again we’ve seen reports from clients’ previous agencies or internal reports that are created manually with stagnant data. We’ve been able to utilize our talented team to automate and save our clients countless hours by having their reports auto-populate. Automation is always our friend.”

John is inspired by many role models in all aspects of life, but he says the obvious choice when it comes to analytics is Avinash Kaushik. “Not only is he a brilliant analytical mind and self-proclaimed digital marketing evangelist, but he is also a very skilled writer and speaker. He has a way of putting analytical concepts and ideas into perspective that anyone can pick up on and apply to their day-to-day work to instantly uplevel their analysis.”

In addition to following Avinash Kaushik’s blog, Occam’s Razor, to stay informed within the industry, John also reads the usual suspects–Adweek, 4A’s and Data Leaders Brief. To keep things light, John follows a couple of fun social accounts like mediaproblems and agencyprobs to help him remember that “we are all in this together.”

Some of John’s hobbies include screenwriting, filmmaking and font/title design, as well as spending time with his 12-year-old daughter, Callie, and his two cute pups, Ripley the Weimaraner and Neon the Pitbull. He shares a little-known fact about himself, “I live by the Leonardo Da Vinci quote, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,’ which may explain why 85% of my wardrobe is blue, the other 15% is black & grey.”

Thanks, John!

An enormous part of what makes Mindstream Media Group successful is the collective talent and collaboration of its employees across the country. While we as an agency love to share stories about client successes, industry news and product updates on our MMG Blog, we also want to feature the actual people behind the work we are doing to grow client business.

Our recent video series, Fast-Forward the Conversation, discusses the HOW behind supporting client growth through media strategy, with topics like shopper marketing, franchise work, QSR challenges, agency partnerships and more.

We’re also now featuring a Mindstreamer (as we like to call ourselves) periodically to share their stories and celebrate the diverse people, backgrounds, interests and qualities that make us unique.