Digital Conversation with Neil Joyce, Managing Director of Signal EMEA

September 28, 2015

“I’m a marketer by training, seduced by data.” So said Neil Joyce, Signal’s Managing Director, EMEA — and if you are reading this blog, you can probably relate. I sat down with Neil in advance of several Signal-hosted London events taking place in October to find out what’s new in digital marketing in the UK, and why after 15 years in the industry, Neil is more excited than ever about changes that are transforming the industry landscape in Europe and around the world.

How did you become interested in marketing technology?
I’m a marketer by training, seduced by data. The creative side of me is still there with a spirit for pushing the boundaries of what is possible and experiencing new things. I spent the last six years working in Sydney, but the British weather provided a strong pull (as did a desire to watch Manchester United games at a more civilized hour than 2 a.m.), so I came back to London with my family early in January this year.

I’ve spent 15 years in data, direct, and digital marketing, working in large established data and technology businesses, point solution providers across the UK, Europe, and APAC. My roles have covered everything from campaign planning and execution, to Sales, Client Services, and most recently Commercial Director and Managing Director roles in Sydney. My passion is less about technology, and more about the component parts of customer data and marketing/advertising platforms.

How did find your way to Signal?
I met Signal’s founders about two years ago and was very impressed with the vision and passion they had for where they wanted to take the company, and that they backed up their vision with the product and people to make it happen. Many organisations are saying similar things, but very few have the ability to back those claims up, which is why Signal stands apart. The opportunity to shape how we drive the results that brands, publishers, and partners are relying on is truly outstanding as we help them execute always-on, addressable, people-based engagement, marketing, and advertising.

The digital marketing landscape is evolving and at a rapid pace. What changes do you see coming for data and audience management platforms? 

Traditional marketing tools like DMPs were built on third-party data because that’s primarily what marketers had access to. But now we live in a world of big data, and technology is available to harness rich, high-quality first-party data insights and lessen the reliance on third-party data.

First-party data plus identity empowers marketers to recognise and understand today’s always-on customers in real time, all the time, at all touchpoints in the journey. Marketers can now leverage all of their first-party data to create holistic profiles and do real-time, people-based marketing. Signal captures live streams of intent data, segmented and activated to target in-market customers quickly and simply.

What’s your take on the state of the ecosystem and market readiness for the changes to come?

The marketplace is ready for a faster and simpler solution to cross-channel identity that gives them control of their data. Advertisers and publishers are waiting for an organisation to provide the necessary guidance from both a business model and engagement perspective, with a level of neutrality and a scalable solution. The market is highly fragmented, with ownership and accountability in short supply when it comes to driving the results that both buy- and supply-side require.

How does Signal resolve the identity problem?
Signal offers people-based marketing—that is, reaching authenticated customers across devices and channels at scale and based on in-the-moment intent.

Signal’s identity layer provides always-on recognition of customers whether they’re on the web, mobile, or in store.  This gives marketers immediate knowledge of buyers as they’re browsing and shopping, and the ability to build and activate high-value custom audiences based on rich, live-streaming first party data to engage consumers within minutes of recognition. No other provider offers these capabilities all in one platform.

What makes Signal different from other companies in this space?

Signal is unique is that we are neutral and we don’t sell media. Signal offers the ability to collect, connect, and activate real-time, first party data in one platform at scale, which no other company can offer.

We enable addressability at scale and make real-time activation possible. There are only two other choices right now if that’s what you’re looking for, and they are both walled gardens that do not provide the certainty, control and portability of data, identity, and activation that we do.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since joining Signal?
Velocity. We are a very nimble organisation that is driving fast-paced growth predicated on smart strategic approaches that drive outcomes quickly. While others talk about getting to market quickly, we are truly different in our approach and our capabilities.

Signal will be hosting a series of events in London for brand marketers, publishers and media agency professionals who want to learn about disruptive technology resolving audience addressability at scale to unleash the power of real-time, people-based marketing.

Email us at events@signal.co to learn more about the London events and request an invitation today!

EJ Guren

EJ Guren formerly ran global events marketing for Signal. Before she came to Signal, EJ spent 7 years in hospitality operations and investor relations at Hyatt Hotels Corporation.