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Getting with the Programmatic at the 4A’s

April 20th, 2016   ||    by Charlene Weisler

The challenges facing the advertising agency business model are many. Luckily, media conferences, like 4A’s Transformation, exist to help make sense of this ever-changing landscape. This year’s conference provided an opportunity for advertising, technology and media leaders to come together and exchange insights in order to maximize programmatic opportunities.

Mary Barnas, VP of Platform Adoption at Videa, started her career on the agency side where she was responsible for managing local media departments. Her transition into the programmatic space allows her to stay in touch with fellow media buyers, as she currently drives partnerships with agencies and advertisers through Videa’s programmatic solution. “I spent 20+ years on the agency side managing local media departments. I understand the challenges there,” she says.

Mary gave further insight by answering the following questions:

What are the important takeaways for you from the 4A’s conference?

There were three key themes that resonated throughout the conference: diversity in the workplace, creating engaging content, and data.

Workplace diversity was an overarching theme as it relates to the ad agency business and our industry. It was fueled by the recent sexual harassment lawsuit at JWT. Included in that conversation were the topics of attracting, retaining, rewarding, and acknowledging talent.

There was a lot of discussion on creating engaging content in this multi-device world. The ability to target and deliver a message to a specific consumer is key, but the creative needs to be engaging and relevant and get the message across whether it is a 30-second TV ad or a three-second mobile ad. Targeting and content are not mutually exclusive.

In the conversations about programmatic, it was clear the value of programmatic is data, not just automation. While automation is necessary for business reasons, the consensus is that data makes a platform truly programmatic. Client and agency data need to be integrated but how that is done is still being worked out, and how that works in a cross-media programmatic world has also yet to be discussed.

Here are a few sound bites from agency leaders:

  • New programmatic solutions (linear TV) should build off of Internet learnings.
  • Benchmarks for campaign execution should be benchmarked against consumer behavior, not just pricing.
  • Clients need tools across media and networks that address audiences.
  • Tactical buying and planning will evolve into other skill sets. Training in this new world is not enough. Jobs must change.

Anything surprise you from the conference?

The theme of diversity permeated the conference. While there were many discussions on talent and building corporate cultures by embracing diversity, there was also a focus on creating diversity-relevant content to target and engage consumers in a country where our cultural makeup is changing.

What are some of the biggest industry challenges from your perspective?

What do we do with all of this data? What do we use? Can there be a common currency beyond gender and age? How do we access this in a programmatic world? There is tremendous opportunity for Videa to be part of this conversation with media, agency, and advertiser partners to help develop and drive the solution.

Do you think inventory holders truly understand how to maximize their inventory programmatically?

These are uncharted waters for most inventory holders in the traditional space. We are working with our media partners to develop solutions that allow them to use data to reevaluate how they value and sell their inventory. This will continue to evolve over time on the digital end.

Same question for advertisers in targeting the right audience for their messages.

Again, there is so much data out there. Advertisers and agencies are looking at ways to collaborate their data in order to better understand how it can be used to inform campaign execution and content development.

What advice would you give each of these constituencies?

Open up the conversation on both sides of the table. Videa has had the unique opportunity to work with media buyers and sellers. Their input has been instrumental in helping us build a platform that addresses challenges and solutions on both sides. The big reveal is that the issues on both sides are similar. How do we drive business efficiencies and bring better intelligence (data) to executing strategic and effective media campaigns?

Videa’s automated platform drives efficiencies in the workflow process for buyers and sellers and uses data to allow for targeted selling and execution of effective ad campaigns. We are actively part of this conversation on both sides of the table—listening to the marketplace is in our DNA.

To learn more, contact Videa today.

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