Digital marketing companies continue to ride the chief data officer (CDO) wave. The two latest examples: Both Catalina and Wunderman named CDOs this week to help drive data-driven decisions across the respective companies.

Catalina, the personalized digital media company, named Dak Liyanearachchi to chief data officer of the global business. He oversees Catalina’s insights and analytics group, leveraging a database of shopper purchase history to cull insights into consumer behavior. The goal is to execute high-ROI omnichannel campaigns for retail and brand customers globally, Catalina said in a statement.

Prior to his role as chief data officer, Liyanearachchi was senior VP of global data and analytics for the company.

Catalina personalizes the consumer’s path to purchase through mobile, online and in-store networks powered by the largest shopper history database in the world, the company asserts.

Wunderman's Move

In a similar move, Wunderman -- a network of ad, marketing and consulting companies -- has named Gary S. Laben as its chief data officer. He is now responsible for expanding the company’s data assets, data management and analytics practices. Laben reports to Mark Read, CEO of Wunderman, and will remain as CEO of KBM Group—Wunderman’s data, insights and marketing technology arm.

The goals involve familiar terms: Laben will work closely with Global Chief Creative Officer Lincoln Bjorkman, aligning data-driven insights and creative are aligned for strong customer outcomes.

“Our strategy is to combine creativity and data to drive results for our clients. We do it by helping our clients get control of their data, harnessing the insights it reveals and developing relevant marketing that speaks to individuals — to their unique interests, on their terms,” said Read in a prepared statement.

Wunderman’s existing data capabilities, housed within KBM Group, include the management of nearly 800 million consumer profiles; the collection of more than 12 billion SKUs annually; 5 proprietary analytic platforms; a data-driven consumer engagement platform; and the ability to handle more than 2,300 terabytes of data. Plus, a data hub called Zipline DMP connects massive amounts of data across offline and online sources, including social media such as Facebook and Twitter, the company said.

Chief Data Officers In Demand

Faced with growing data and business demands, 61 percent of CIOs want to hire chief data officers (CDOs) within 12 months, according to Experian. And the CDO wave is rising across multiple verticals -- marketing, advertising, government, financial services, technology and more.

Still, CDO job requirements can be complex -- as businesses strive to gather, manage, protect, and monetize data from dozens of sources.

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