Ian Wright (Equifax) - As the Puck Moves

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This is a podcast episode titled, Ian Wright (Equifax) - As the Puck Moves. The summary for this episode is: <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">This week we have Ian Wright, Chief Data Officer, Data-Driven Marketing at Equifax! Ian dives into the particulars of how data is handled in various parts of an organization, and how legislation is changing the data landscape. He also shares with the guys the backstory to his multiple citizenships. Ajay chops some wood and Vincent professes his love for rugby.</span></p>
More to Equifax Than Just a Credit Bureau
01:02 MIN
Looking at Identity
01:03 MIN
Consumer Privacy and Consumer Opt-out
01:00 MIN
Pivoting Marketing Strategy
00:55 MIN
Putting Yourself in Another Persons Position
00:41 MIN
Measuring Financial Durability
00:58 MIN

Jared Walls: Welcome to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. Probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you're going to put in your ears. I'm Jared Walls, Associate Producer and Stirista's Creative Copy Manager. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders to get their take on the current challenges of the market. But also have a little fun along the way. In this episode Vincent and Ajay talk to Ian Wright, chief data officer data- driven marketing at Equifax. He dives into the particulars of how data is handled in various parts of an organization, as well as how legislation is changing the data landscape as a whole. He also shares with the guys the back story to his multiple citizenships. Ajay chopped some wood and Vincent professes his love for rugby. Give it a listen.

Vincent P.: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Stirista's The Marketing Stir. I feel like it's been so long since I've talked to you. I, of course, am one of your hosts, Vincent Pietrafesa, the Vice President of B2B Products here at Stirista. It is so good to be here. Stirista, for those of you who don't know, really quick. This is what pays the bills. I'm kidding, I just always hear people on the radio say that. But, Stirista we are marketing technology identity marketing company. We have our own B2B and B2C data. People utilize us. Customers to target those data sets, to get new customers. We also have our own DSP called AdStir we could help execute media for you. OTT, CTV, I just threw a bunch of acronyms at you, but we are here to help. Vincent @ sarista. com that is my email address. That is how confident I am in our products and services I just gave you my email address. The other thing I'm very confident in is my co- host ladies and gentlemen. My commander in chief, I call him the San Antonio Slayer. We have to get a T- shirt made he loves that nickname. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What's up Ajay?

Ajay Gupta: Vincent. Can't say I've been happier to have a bottle of clean water ever before in my life than I was this week. You just walk into the grocery store and be able to buy water, clean water, it was a remarkable thing. Yeah, it's been a crazy couple of weeks here in Texas but this week is looking up and up.

Vincent P.: Well, yes, we are, of course, we're talking about Ajay is in San Antonio as well as our headquarters and our production team on The Marketing Stir. This is taking place right now about a week after the snowstorm, the loss of water, heat, electricity and so our hearts go out to everyone in Texas who suffered that. But, yeah, I saw pictures. I saw your beautiful wood floor with water covered. I remember you were chopping wood. I would never take you for a guy who knew how to chop wood, Ajay. Myself included. I'm not an outdoorsman so I share that with you. But, wow, what was that week like? I remember Hurricane Sandy here in New York City not being great but tell me about that.

Ajay Gupta: It's actually a little bit crazy and we were one of the fortunate ones. A, we had a fireplace that we had never used. But, B, the guy that owned the house before us was kind of a do- it- yourself type guy so there's a lot of random stuff in the back yard. One of the things was these chopped pieces of wood. Tons of it. I could have gone for a whole week just burning those logs up. It was definitely somebody who had done it themselves and it had been sitting there for five years in the back yard. I never really knew why or what for, but when I woke up and it was 45 degrees in the house, that's when I remembered there was something in the back yard. Now, at this point it was completely covered in snow which by itself was baffling in Texas. But this guy's work about, I don't know, whenever he did it five, 10 years ago chopping the wood came in really handy. But, it's hard to describe. 45 degrees and the temperature outside was 7 degrees, no heat. Never really thought one could survive in that condition so I guess the good news is now we know it is possible to survive in 7 degree weather.

Vincent P.: No, I heard a lot of stories from our coworkers that said, " Well thank goodness I had gas in my car and I was using the heat from the car to go in there." It was just crazy. Glad that things are semi- back to normal. We're glad that you're here with us. We are glad that this next guest is with us. It is from a little company called Equifax. I kid. It's one of the biggest companies in the world. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome the chief data office data- driven marketing at Equifax Marketing Services, Ian Wright. What's going on Ian?

Ian Wright: Hey, Vincent. Thanks for the warm welcome, Ajay. Nice to hear you as well. It's a lovely spring day here. I can't say we went through the trials and tribulations that unfortunately the folks in Texas went through. But it's a new blue sky day here in Northern Virginia.

Vincent P.: Nice then. Thanks for calling in. Thanks for joining us, Ian, and thank you for moving this around your schedule. You were scheduled last week when this was going on so we appreciate your understanding there, Ian. So, tell us most people know Equifax for one thing, right? One of the big three credit scores, credit unions. I have an 810 credit score I'm very happy about that. Has nothing to do, I'm just happy I just want people to know that. Maybe I shouldn't tell people that and now they're going to steal my identify. Great. But, Ian, tell people out there about Equifax and more importantly the division and the role that you find yourself in.

Ian Wright: Sure. Well, first welcome to being part of the 800 club with a credit score of over 800. Very well done. But you're correct. Most folks know us as a credit bureau but we've actually got a very interesting and varied marketing business, and also just across Equifax overall we are more of a data analytics and technology company. We got insights that provide information on consumer economic and financial wellbeing and also commercial insights. The group I work with at the data- driven marketing business has unique insights on consumer wealth and banking information. We get this information through a network of financial institutions who provide us with very detailed consumer account and investment position information that is anonymous so we don't know how much money for instance I personally have in a bank account. So we can use this aggregated and identify data to create very powerful insights. We like to say if money and spending matter we matter. If you're a bank or you're a wealth management firm and you're trying to understand gosh who has the potential to have a high lifetime value with us, we can give you those insights. But also if you're in industries like telecommunications or anything in travel, leisure and entertainment, anywhere where you need to understand who might have extra economic power and be more financially resilient. We deal with the afford my high end luxury products and I can segment my offerings to them versus who's someone more in the mass market and I can right size product to offer to them. I can maximize my return on my marketing efforts because I know that someone might have the intent to buy a product, I also now know that they actually have the ability to act on that intent.

Vincent P.: Ian, talk about chief data office, that's a huge undertaking anywhere but especially at a company like Equifax. Walk me through some of the day to day. Then I'd love to understand as kind of a staple question we ask here at The Marketing Stir, how you got marketing. Talk to us about that. Your current role, some of the responsibilities there and then how you got into marketing.

Ian Wright: Yeah, very interesting question about a chief data officer. I find that's a very new role in the economy. We'll find definitions of a CDO, a chief data officer that is very technical and they're focused on things like what's the architecture we're using, what are the IT commitments on one end of the spectrum. On the other end of the spectrum, I run into definitions that are more of a chief insight officer that says, okay, we have considerable data properties and data assets across our business. How do we leverage these assets to better understand our customers if we're a brand or a firm like I work with with Equifax, how can we leverage these assets to create unique insights that can help our clients solve their urgent and critical business needs? That's more of the definition of my day to day. I look at our portfolio. I talk to clients. I see what's going on in the market and I've tried to put together solutions that as the puck moves, we're able to meet clients where they need new information. Where you could imagine creating post- COVID they had significantly different challenges and needed to make sure that as the economy shifted consumer needs that they were ready with solutions to meet those new needs. And those are the sorts of things that I do on a day- to- day basis.

Vincent P.: I love asking this question because not every time, Ian, it's like, well I studied marketing and here I am. Tell us about your story.

Ian Wright: Yeah. It was not a straight path at all. In fact, I had been doing research for institutional investors. This was back in the day when apartheid was still around. And we would help socially responsible investors understand the sorts of companies that were maybe in South America or other issues around socially responsible investing. I was doing this extensive research advising investors but realized we were leaving a lot of data on the floor that could be used for other purposes to help inform those investments and then ultimately help them understand the products that they would want to support or maybe the products that they would prefer not to buy. So, my father's engineering sort of gene started to bubble up and that's what I did. I moved in to product management. I went back to school and got a master's degree in computer science. Started putting solutions together in that space and then slowly started to drift more on the data side so I could look at the fuel that was rally sort of driving these engines. Working with the platforms but helping them understand then from a marketing perspective different levels of data, different quality of data. Different sort of insights that they could piece together to bring those sort of red, yellow, green decision points available or in front of the decision- makers through a UI.

Ajay Gupta: That's a pretty cool story. I appreciate you sharing that. One question that's become sort of a hot buzz word in our industry is identity. I would love to kind of understand how you look at identity and how Equifax is looking at identity the word.

Ian Wright: Yeah, gosh, you could look at identity through very different viewpoints, right? And from a marketing perspective, I start from what, I hate to call it, but today is old school. It's offline identify. It's understanding who you are through your telephone number and through your street address and kind of through who you are as a person. And then as we evolved and identity took on a different concept in the online world and it became very important to understand who you are and where I can connect you through all these new channels that exploded whether it was online display, with cookies or with mobile ad ID. Or, addressable TV with OTT IDs. Using probabilistic or deterministic methods to create that cross device craft, started to see that well in the past what was really valuable to marketers was that attribute information. How I could describe who you are and yes, I needed your identity information to then understand how I can connect to you. But today that identity information is just as important as that attribute descriptive information. Because I need to find you through all those channels because you might be only using one or two of them but I don't know which one or two of them that you're using. So, it's become a lot more complex from a marketing perspective. And then in the industry that I've primarily worked in with financial services, there are also considerations of well we have identity data that's governed by Gramm- Leach- Bliley Act that can be used for specific purposes to help me understand who you are when I have a financial relationship with you. Versus identity information that is not restricted to those uses but then means I can't leverage those data sources. In the last five years I've seen identity be something that seemed very straightforward and basic and we've cranked up the volume to 11 beyond 10 and I think in the next half year, three quarters of the year with what's going on with industry changes in browsers and with Apple's changes to IDFA, it's just going to get more complex and more difficult for folks to really have the ability to truly understand someone's complete identity graph. It's the sort of solutions and the sort of market needs that your company definitely fulfills.

Ajay Gupta: Ian, for Equifax on the marketing side is it fair to say that you can't always use the data that the other side probably has access to because of regulations, right?

Ian Wright: Yeah, that's correct. When we look at ourselves as a business, we are highly regulated in certain parts of our company and other areas we're still regulated, all data is regulated, but maybe under different considerations, right? So, yes, we've got very highly sensitive data from being a credit bureau that we want to make sure it's only used for those purposes that are permitted by the FCRA and by the Gramm- Leach- Bliley Act. And then on the other side of the wall which is where I work, it's less regulated. It's marketing data where we can try to work with folks to piece together graphs to help our clients find consumers and then engage them through those different channels.

Vincent P.: Ian, before I really love the breakdown of chief data officer. It's kind of a new title and different functionalities because I also think a lot of people think, wait, chief data officer is that he or she in the server room crunching numbers at their own little desk? But it'd different the way your involvement so I appreciate you breaking that down for us. The question I have is around data specifically. What are some of the important things to keep in mind when turning different types of data into actionable solutions?

Ian Wright: Yeah, great question. I can maybe come at that a couple directions. One, I used to use a famous pizza chain's slogan of better pizza better... sorry, better ingredients better pizza. Better data better insights. So, have to keep in consideration the quality of data that you have available to you. Yes, I can get, for instance, information about someone's income. It can be verified income that someone has been provided or permissible purpose income where you've shared it with someone for maybe a loan application or for other reason. And then on the other end of the spectrum you might have income data that's been generated by looking at the census and trying to model that down to household. Or, from survey results where someone asks me what is my income and I try to think well, probably I'm going to respond with my wages and not include income from maybe stipends or business income or income I earn from my investments. So, every measure that you use can have a varying degree of quality and I think that's always something to keep in mind. That if you're leveraging data to meet your goals, you're going to put sort of a governor on your ability to maximize your return on investment if what you're putting into that process is not the highest quality that it can be. So, cleaner data, more high quality data are just going to maximize your potential for ROI and for effectiveness in all the applications that you're going to use it for. Another angle I would like to mention is permissible purpose both from what regulations and sort of industry bodies would like you to use or how they would like you to use the data. But then also from our arising concern about consumer privacy and consumer opt- out. So, do I have the ability legally to use this data for these purposes? Yes, okay, I can check that box. But also, do I have the right from the consumer? Do I have a consent from a consumer? There's a growing regulatory governance sort of framework that really all data applications are going to have to consider. In my own state Virginia we just passed the sort of second CCPA. We're starting to see it's not only California that is addressing these sorts of issues but it's spreading state to state and it could actually spring up on a federal level so we have one law covering all the states.

Vincent P.: Yeah, and it kind of goes back to I've always heard the term or the phrase garbage in garbage out, right? That's kind of what you were saying there. Ian, you touched upon it there about as far as actionable... even what you said as far as the quality there. Can you elaborate a little bit more about what marketers, data analysts should be looking for when choosing a data provider?

Ian Wright: Yes. And transparency is going to be key, right? That folks are transparent about the sources of their data, the freshness of their data and also the sort of permissible purposes yes that they can share this data with you. In fact, the IAD put together a data transparency label which is a fabulous development in the industry at least for using marketing data online. Where you can go to an audience that you're interested in purchasing leveraging and if that vendor, if that data provider participates in this program, you'll see a label that looks very much like the sorts of labels you'll see on food packaging. And it's standardized so then you can compare vendors against each other. That's one way that the industry has tried to address that question and help marketers understand maybe the quality of one data source versus another. But then there's always just having a great relationship with your vendors where hopefully you consider them as partners. And when you ask those questions about how they're sourcing the data, how frequently it's updated, how they are ensuring that they have the right to share this data that you're getting thorough and transparent answers and you're not left with some questions about maybe the applicability of the data, the veracity of the data. Because if a vendor has good data, they're going to want to show that to you. They're going to show you that they have some quality product they have nothing to hide behind.

Ajay Gupta: And how's the pandemic been for you personally and professionally as well?

Ian Wright: Yeah, from a personal standpoint, I haven't been on an airplane since the first week of March 2020 and that's probably the longest time in at least a 10- year stretch for me. So, nearly approaching a year here not being on an airplane. And so personally one of the ways that I've seen myself adjust is I've realized how much of a different life that is. Living out of a suitcase, getting on a flight two out of four weeks, not being at home, not being in the neighborhood, not being present for all sort of events that we have locally, to having much more rhythm to my life. I am definitely a creature of habit and I understand that a lot more after the last 11 months. I like knowing what I'm going to do in the morning. That I'm going to go work out, do my Bible study, do my reading every morning, be able to have the time to do that. Go into work whether that's here or going into our office and having that regular end of the day that follows. I would say though that it's starting to become Blursday especially during the winter where it's hard to tell which day it was, which week it was. Was it the first week of January or the third week of January when outside was great, it was really hard to get a rhythm of the season. From a more professional perspective though, I've had positions where I'd been remote and other positions where I've worked in the office. So, from a standpoint of being able to get the work done that I needed to get done, I was pretty well set up with a home office and we had gone through a migration internally to using Google Suite, so had collaboration tools already in place. So, I didn't find and our teams really didn't find it was too difficult to switch from being in the office to being online and conducting our meetings using sharing tools and the sorts of connectivity which we all have now today. But the pieces we did miss which I think, when I talk to others have been a little bit across the board, are those whiteboarding sessions. Yeah, there are tools that you can use to do digital whiteboarding, but there's really nothing that I found that can replace even distance in a room together having a whiteboard, being able to sketch something out, erase that easily, switch it, have people interrupt, have people play off each other, kind of brainstorming is something that's been maybe not as efficient I found as pre- COVID.

Ajay Gupta: And with the changes that have happened and keep happening through the workplaces, what's your view going forward with your team? Are you finding them... do you think work from home trends will continue? And I guess the other related question is did you have a lot remote employees before as well?

Ian Wright: In my current position I didn't have or I don't have a lot of remote employees. In previous jobs I have, but I think moving forward what we're going to see in my organization is a mix. We'll probably have a hybrid situation where we will have days where we'll try to schedule in- person meetings where what we can get done with what I just said, sort of a brainstorming session can be scheduled on specific days. Pick a Tuesday and a Thursday and those are the days that maybe you go into the office for the reasons of needing to collaborate. But, I also believe that the business and everybody as employees and colleagues see the benefit of letting folks work at home. Letting the schedule kind of fit the rhythm of their life too. So, I think we're going to see more folks trying to adopt more of that hybrid approach where if I can work from home, I will. If I need to go in the office for purposes, I will. But, we'll still have some folks who I think want to go into the office every day. We have a few of those today. If you don't have space at home where you can have dedicated quiet space if you have a call with your client that you know you won't be interrupted. Or, if you're single and you just want to get out and be around other people. We do have folks who are going in every day for those and some other reasons. So, they're going to continue to do so. I think we're going to end up seeing a mix. One development that I think we might see are people maybe in the summer asking to work remotely not from their home office. Finding that cabin in New England or finding a house at the beach for a month and actually working from those locations. I think it's a great benefit that companies can provide moving forward. Because at least from our experience, our productivity hasn't gone down. People have been really responsible about ensuring that they're getting their work done knowing that they have additional flexibility from working remotely.

Ajay Gupta: Yeah, I think it's going to be interesting. I know in Texas we're fortunate not to have any state taxes, but a lot of other states really like to know how many days you spent in a certain state so you can be taxed accordingly. And with more people doing what you just said, maybe spending summer somewhere else or maybe they're totally somewhere else for six months, it's hard to tell so it's going to be an interesting situation.

Vincent P.: Ian, you mentioned before, a lot of the travel and I know from just going to different conferences, Equifax was really prominent at different events. How has that changed the way Equifax is marketing itself in going out and getting your word out there of your services?

Ian Wright: Yeah. We've tried to pivot as others have and trying to see what sort of mix works for our clients and for our prospects and markets. So, we've participated in virtual events where we're on a panel like we would be in a more local or live event and trying to gauge whether we're really being able to contribute to the event and also to our clients own presence there. But we're also just about to test some more personal or intimate events where we might have a group of A clients together. And then we'll copy that for another section of clients. So maybe we're not able to get one on one, but we're able to have conversations at a smaller scale than we would find in those larger virtual events where maybe it's a little bit more difficult to get that engagement. All those events are wonderful. They have their exhibit halls. They have their networking opportunities. But, some of the participation there can be a little hit and miss. We're trying to see if we're more purposeful of how having direct engagement clients will, number one, be more interested in that sort of more focused attention. But number two, also feel more open to share when it's eight to 10 colleagues and other clients versus in a huge network call. So, it's still a little bit hit and miss, but we've been able to find these pockets of success that we're trying to grow on.

Vincent P.: Yeah, I think that's something that Stirista ourselves are thinking about. We were... you mentioned first week of March, I think, Ajay, that's the last time you and I were on a plane. I think we were attending the LiveRamp conference. So, yeah, almost a year ago. So, it's crazy and I think what we're leaning towards is to start out maybe some of those like you said intimate events. I'm in New York City so maybe it's a gathering of four to six to eight clients together dinner spread out maybe so, no, I definitely agree with you there. Ian, I want to ask you something because you have a variety of different experience and I want to understand some advice on how you bridge the gaps of understanding between sales teams and then technical groups that you've dealt with on both sides given your marketing work.

Ian Wright: Yeah, actually though I'm a chief data officer right now, I spent most of my career as a product manager. And in product management to be successful you have to be able to be comfortable with responsibility without authority. You need to be able to work with technical folks on one side who you need to rely on to be able to deliver on the requirements you put there, right? To the finance folks to cure budgets that you need to deliver on your overall roadmap. To marketing folks to be able to take care of your go to market needs and have your product known in the market. To educate sales and get them interested in selling your product to help them reach quota. And then an executive audience to be able to gain sponsorship of how you believe the company needs to move. So, I spent a lot of my career working between these groups helping them understand the reasons why I believe a company might need to develop a product more on a more strategic level move in a certain direction. I find a lot of times if you can put yourself in that person's position, understand what their day- to- day priorities are, and then on another level how they're going to be evaluated at the end of the year, so what their goals are. And maybe also the kind of perspective that they bring in to the world and maybe the bias or the strength. If I can put myself in their position and understand their world, I can then understand how I should engage them, the sorts of points in an argument that they're going to find important, they are going to want to drill down on. And on the other side, the sorts of concerns and needs that they're going to want to make sure I address. So, if I can help them understand that I understand who they are. I understand how I need to deliver to meet their needs, but also I can describe the benefits in a way that they're going to see do have value then you're going to be able to build those bridges. And I still carry that forward in my chief data officer role. But it's a little bit different sort of tune to it. But I think anytime you sit across the table from someone, if you can put yourself in their shoes, if you can better understand what their needs are and use that not in a manipulative way but then to help you create a bridge between the two of you, you're only going to gain more trust and confidence in that person. That they believe if they follow on what you're trying to lead or a decision that they need to make that would go in your favor, that it's not going to be something that's going to impact negatively upon them or you're not trying to actually what just said manipulate them for gain.

Ajay Gupta: Ian, on the marketing side of Equifax, who is sort of the ideal client and getting finance is obviously a big vertical for you guys. But are there other inaudible types of companies you play in?

Ian Wright: Definitely. As I said earlier, and you're correct, is a bank's wealth management firms, credit unions, all those sorts of folks are definitely are core market. But as we see the financial services market also evolve, we're finding that we can really help firms there in the alternative finance space. Or in fintech. We need to understand the market. Find new prospects. See where their portion of the market is going and how they've been affected which typically is the underpart of the market affected by COVID. But then if you leave financial services, if you think about any vertical where someone sells services across to consumers where they can segment their product offering based upon that consumer's economic or financial means, those are areas where our solutions very much resonate. One area I could bring up is in travel leisure and entertainment where we do a lot of work with vacation property companies. And you might get an offer to go to a weekend at a certain property for free. It's to entice you to become a member. But those are very expensive weekends for that company whether you're talking like a Wyndham or Hyatt or Marriott or any of those other firms. Disney. And we can help those firms understand well here's someone who can afford your rich properties, your high end properties. So, when you're considering providing them an offer, that's a right product for them. Where someone else might not have the financial means to be able to convert on that offering. So, right size your offer for that household. Maybe make it more of your mass market sort of line. So, in those industries where you need to understand how to stratify or segment the market so you can then appropriately provide them with an offer across share products is where we resonate. Auto would be another one. Can I afford a luxury auto? Or do I just like browsing the Ferrari website? So, I might have the intent to buy a Ferrari, but do I have the ability? And we can help you understand that second piece of ability because if I have the intent but not the ability, I'm never going to become more than a qualified lead, right? But, if I have the ability then yes, market to me because I have the potential inaudible.

Ajay Gupta: That's very interesting. I certainly like to occasionally walk through the Ferrari lane and my wife is really having a panic attack about it. What's kind of new and exciting for you guys this year? Anything that you could share publicly?

Ian Wright: Yeah. One of the areas that we've been focusing on since COVID hit was how things, how financial services and marketers understand who might be harder hit. What parts of the economic spectrum? Maybe which industry so consumers who are more in those service industries might be harder hit than others. To help them understand who has the sort of financial durability to be able to assume maybe some of the stresses that they've been put under economically in the last year, but still be able to maybe repay commitments or take on additional commitments if you're in the lending area. Or, if you're selling goods and services, be able to make purchases like they could in the past. So, we've been working on a measure of financial durability to help identify where consumers are likely to be along that spectrum. Are they very resilient? Do they have considerable assets and income and has their spending power really not been affected by COVID? Versus on the very other end of the spectrum of these folks are in a tight spot. They might have very restricted ability to purchase your goods. But that doesn't mean now is the time maybe to abandon them. Now is the time really is to help them walk through this period. Right size offers to them. Maybe provide forbearance options to them. Give them more basis products. Help them through this process so they continue to be your customers in the future when we're past this crazy COVID type pandemic stretch we're in.

Vincent P.: Ian, now we'd like to ask more some questions on personal side some staple questions also that we have here on The Marketing Stir. The first one is kind of a highlight shining moment in your career the last say five years, 10 years that you'd like to share with us.

Ian Wright: Yeah. Probably the biggest shining moment and it's going to be a more recent one. It might be a little wonky, might be a little boring, but it's really when CCPA came up just the last few years. CCPA, the California law regarding consumer privacy and how data providers need to consider consumer considerations and provide consumer opt- out and all the sorts of things when working with data on California residents. The law was still being looked at and up for maybe some adjustments up to three weeks before it was even adopted or enacted into law. So, for data firms we had to be working on a solution which would ensure that all of our operations adhered to this law and that our solutions would still be able to used by our clients and our performance would not be affected literally up to the last minute where there could have been changes to it. So, we in a very rapid time ensured that both our data providers and our clients were comfortable with our operations, were comfortable with the data that we were using, were comfortable using our solution. But also that we had put in all of the sort of operations around engaging consumers in California with consumer opt- out, with the ability to access the information we have on their households and decide whether they want us to share that with others. So, it was an incredible new initiative for us in a very new area of consumer privacy that we were able to turn around very quickly and put in place without really affecting our ability to provide our consumers with insights and internally, just to be frank, to generate revenue and to maintain regular operation. So, from a professional standpoint, it'd be that CCPA effort.

Vincent P.: I like that. That's a first, Ian. That's the first that anyone's said, " You know what, that CCPA positive." And I love that what you've done with it there and it just goes to show you Equifax takes privacy very seriously and so I'm glad you mentioned it. This is a first. I like it though, I like it. Ian, I want to get into, we're going to have a crack team here of producers. They're like detectives. You hold citizenship in the U. S., Canada and the UK. What's the back story there?

Ian Wright: Yeah. I'm really all over the place. My father was Scottish. He grew up in a small shipping town outside of Glasgow called Greenock. A lot of the old major cruise lines were from the inaudible area. He met my mother who was from Birmingham, England and they came over after World War II after my dad served in the Royal Navy during World War II to Canada. Sort of a very typical migration for folks. Spent some time in Canada. My brothers were born there. And then decided to come down to the States. So, I was born in Canada but six months old when we came to the U. S. I became a U. S. citizen by choice but by birth I am a Canadian citizen and then through my parents also a UK citizen. And let's see what happens with Scotland. I could have British citizenship and then still some EU connections through Scotland.

Vincent P.: So when someone asks they said hey... Someone asks me I'm like, oh, I'm American. My family's ancestors from Italy. You consider yourself Canadian if someone were to ask you?

Ian Wright: Yeah. I consider myself American because six months old I was in the U. S. But, not fully. It's interesting. When I go back to the UK when I visit relatives, that also feels like home. And my parents were British so a lot of the mannerisms, a lot of the sort of practices we had were being in English and Scottish family in the U. S. So, my heart sometimes feels closer to being from the UK, but definitely from a day- to- day perspective probably American.

Ajay Gupta: Ian, I think you're the first one with three citizenships on the podcast. So, 60 guests in, that's cool. Give a marketing peeve something that you dislike that you see. You seem like a very nice guy so you might be a little shy on it.

Ian Wright: Yeah, gosh. This one's probably everyone's going to shake their head on. It's not a unique one. I'm in marketing. We cold call. I know folks cold call and I get a lot of cold calls. Not only calls actually but also email messages so I understand folks need to do it. But that second and that third and that fourth and that fifth of did I read your email, sometimes those get under my skin. It's like, yep, if you didn't get a bounce back, then I either read your email and this is maybe something not to pursue because not either the right time or maybe we're in a different industry than you thought. And if I didn't get your email, all those follow ups are going into the spam folder where they went before. So, I like the knock on the door but I don't like the constant knock on the door.

Vincent P.: Yeah, I like that. That's kind of what a lot of people say because it kind of goes to our question we always ask like, LinkedIn, what's the message you don't like? It's kind of same thing. " Hey, did something happen? Did I offend you?" No, I just I'm not answering. It's that common thing. I also hate on LinkedIn I said it before, if when I do connect with someone, they hit me right away with solicitation. I'm like, hey, hey, get to know me first. Learn what I like doing. But, anyway, Ian, and also just as we wrap this up here, what do you like to do personally? Some hobbies that you have, you touched on a few. I know you share my love of rugby. But, talk to us a little bit about some of those hobbies that you like.

Ian Wright: Yeah I'm going to focus so I'm going to be a spokesperson for rugby right now. I am very much involved with youth rugby and the president for youth rugby in Virginia. Worked with my son's club. I like to say though and I think you'll get this joke, Vincent. I've never played a Downer rugby. I just fell in love with the sport. There are no downs in rugby.

Vincent P.: No, there's no downs in rugby.

Ian Wright: I just fell in love with the sport through my son who played in junior high and high school. Love how it teaches team work. I love that there's a position for every sort of body type on the field. If you're one of the bigger guys or one of the smaller guys, there is a position... or a girl too. Rugby is very active across boys and girls so I love it for those reasons. But I also love it for how it teaches about life. You want to really win when you're on the pitch. You're giving 100%. But, when the game's over, when the match is over, you fully respect your opponent. You go over you shake their hand depending upon how old you are. You have a social occasion afterwards maybe get an adult beverage. As fans you cheer for your team. You don't boo the other team. And then finally, the referee has the highest level of respect. As you know, Vincent, he's addressed as sir. One person gets to address him that way. So, I just love the sport. Both 15 and the seven version which my wife describes as watching like a fast break in basketball for the full game and it's true. Just very exciting and fast moving. I've been focused on rugby a lot in this pandemic.

Vincent P.: That's awesome. That was the crazy thing about rugby is trying to kill each other. Respect but then inaudible drink up and you would think that we were best friends with the guys. And that's awesome. I love hearing that. Finally, a sport a lot of people on the podcast are into tennis and running. That's not me. I'm more football guy. Rugby, I love it. This has been awesome, Ian. We really appreciate you joining us and sharing your knowledge. Especially as a chief data officer, people really want to understand. It's a really vital and important role within any organization so we appreciate you sharing that. Ladies and gentlemen, that is Ian Wright, the chief data officer data- driven marketing at Equifax Marketing Services. I am Vincent Pietrafesa. That's Ajay Gupta. This has been another episode of The Marketing Stir. Thank you so much and we'll talk to you soon.

Jared Walls: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista. Please like right and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com and thanks for listening.


This week we have Ian Wright, Chief Data Officer, Data-Driven Marketing at Equifax! Ian dives into the particulars of how data is handled in various parts of an organization, and how legislation is changing the data landscape. He also shares with the guys the backstory to his multiple citizenships. Ajay chops some wood and Vincent professes his love for rugby.

Today's Host

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Vincent Pietrafesa

|Vice President, B2B Products, Stirista
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Ajay Gupta

|Founder & CEO, Stirista

Today's Guests

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Ian Wright

|Chief Data Officer, Data-Driven Marketing at Equifax
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