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My Media Week

My Media Week: Marco Bertozzi

Hayley Pinkerfield, 21 March 2012, 3:15pm

This week Marco Bertozzi, managing director EMEA for the VivaKi Nerve Center, visits Spain, plays squash with Greg Grimmer, and teeters on the wrong side of The Thin Blue Line. Link here

 
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Monday

Every day starts pretty much the same as every other day, and has done for the last two years. Baby cries, cats miaow, I wake up and reach for the BlackBerry or iPhone to check what my US colleagues have been emailing about through the night, or to see how late people have been out and posting messages from all corners of Soho Land.

From that point in though, every day is very different. Which is a good thing, as variety is one of the things I enjoy most about working at the VivaKi Nerve Center.

I start today by catching up with Publicis’ global Google lead Simon Birkenhead to discuss what’s going on across the business. In fact, today is a day of meetings with our global partners, as I later met up with our new global lead from Microsoft, Nicole. It’s a tough gig understanding such a complex business and I wish her luck.

An afternoon of calls and a couple of quick meetings, then it’s off for my weekly punishment in the form of a personal training session.

Tuesday

I am down to present at an IAA event on the ‘Future of Media’. I expected it to be a relatively small affair, but it turns out to be a big event in a grand venue at Bloomberg (I make a mental note to thank my head of communications, Claire, for the heads-up.)

I think it goes OK, although I might have alienated all of the women in the audience when I described women as waste in the context of a specific audience targeting example – I was misunderstood!

Jump on my scooter to have a catch-up with Steve King, worldwide chief executive of ZenithOptimedia, which always turns out to be an interesting and entertaining discussion.

After about a year of organising, I finally managed to have a quick lunch with Chris Mellish of Razorfish. As well as working with ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest Group, the Nerve Center works closely with Razorfish and Digitas, and it’s always good to hear what they are up to.

Later on, I also catch up with Olivia Yabsley who runs content for Digitas, to round out the group in a day.

With a couple of client sessions fast approaching on the world of exchanges and some prep for our regular EMEA AOD (our proprietary addressable media capability) call, I sit quietly at my desk and nail some work before home time.

Wednesday

A sickeningly early start – I’m up and out of the house by 4.30am to go to Madrid with my boss Curt Hecht, global chief executive of the VivaKi Nerve Center.

We have a full day of meetings with the management of VivaKi, ZenithOptimedia, Performics and Starcom MediaVest Group, to go through the VivaKi plans. The Spanish guys are always open and enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with, they also lay on a great lunch in the office. It makes our spread look pretty shoddy.

We’re close to launching the results from the UK rollout of The Pool, a global research project to identify the industry’s optimal online advertising model, and I share progress with everyone. The results are in line with the other markets, which is hugely encouraging.

So six hours later, we run for the airport and get back on the plane. I have done a lot of travel over the last two years and it is still enjoyable, but I guess one day it will drag. I never enjoy being away from my wife and child too much though.

Thursday

A morning thrashing Greg Grimmer at squash. Sorry, I should say getting a thrashing from Greg Grimmer. This week, however, I have bought a new racket and trainers – so his days are numbered.

Later today, the UK leads for AOD Activation, Geoff Smith, and AOD Product, Paul Silver, and I have our monthly catch-up with the ZenithOptimedia and SMG trading guys. It is usually part presentation, part piss-take of each other. Mauricio Leon and John Baylon are not wallflowers, so you have to give as good as you get!

We’re celebrating today as AOD has achieved an incredible milestone and delivered 100 billion impressions. And that’s just in the US and UK. No mean feat given it didn’t exist at the beginning of 2008.

In the evening I head to the leaving do of my good friend Phil Christer, who has recently moved to Google. Phil has kept me sane on many occasions and I know he’ll do great things in his new job.

Friday

Today does not start brilliantly. I am pulled over by two police motorbike riders who have been tailing me for the last mile. Shame I hadn’t noticed them in my mirrors sooner because I realise I’ve just performed some of my most reckless scooter-riding of the last few years.

Mounting a pavement, running a very close amber/red, doing 40mph on Tottenham Court Road, with some weaving thrown in, all mean I am up the creek.

After immense contrition from me and puppy-dog eyes, they unbelievably let me off. I get into work pretty happy and thankfully things pick up after that.

I have a good catch-up with Iain Jacob of Starcom MediaVest Group around the VivaKi Nerve Center and SMG progresses across the wider EMEA region. It’s important to make sure that we are lined up with the senior agency regional and global leads as we expand in terms of products and scale.

Lunch is with our tech partner on Audience On Demand video (AODv) and another expansion discussion as AODv rolls out into more European countries. Creating publisher uptake of this new way of buying video is top of the agenda.

It’s a great lunch, but I’m glad to leave – the downstairs of Navarros always smells of bleach. A productive afternoon of clearing emails and a bit of Twitter banter and my week ends with a very cautious scooter ride home. I’m determined not to get pulled over by the police again – well, at least for a couple of days.

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Inspired by the Big 5 in Palo Alto

Inspired by the big 5 – A week in San Francisco.

There is something genuinely special about San Francisco and Palo Alto. A place that if you are into digital you can’t help but feel excited about when you go there. First time you go it’s about going to the offices – Google HQ, Facebook, Apple etc and the famous locations attached like Mountain View or Cupertino. I have talked in previous blogs about the offices, they are a little disappointing, they are often deathly quiet and in the case of a Google a little battered and worn out, no it’s not what they are like inside.

The thing that strikes you is the scale, huge complexes, small towns in the case of Google, the meccas of those now famous names that come with such financial status and dominance and yet still have their young founders somewhere in those buildings. You can’t help marvel at that scale after so few years of history. In that mix though you feel a sense of tension between hanging onto that founder spirit and the relentless burden of financial success and expectation, something Facebook will start feeling acutely post IPO.

Palo Alto itself comes with this air of amazing entrepreneurship. Much was mentioned of Sandhill Road, where all the VCs are based, I had not considered that even VCs like to cluster, I guess I thought they would be isolated, each one trying to find the golden nugget but I suppose they are like everyone else and like to chew the fat on whether x company or y company is of interest. Fascinating I thought that at every one of the meetings we had this week, Pinterest was mentioned, it is crazy how that company has come from nowhere to being on the end of every sentence and judging by my Twitter feed, tweet, I would imagine that those investors are all eyeing that company up with much interest.

Dreams are made in this place and you can’t help admire it and be mesmerised at the immense foot print of these companies. As we walked into Apple you remind yourself you are walking into the most valuable company in the world, staggering what has happened there, or Facebook with its 100b price tag on its head and yet Facebook is still very lean, 3000 employees in US vs a Microsoft of 70,000, that paints a picture and it’s one of Facebook needing to recruit fast to cop with the demand for its products and insights.

The reason for the trip was to bring the VivaKi Nerve Center to the wider Publicis group and let them come together and meet with these amazing digital beacons. A fascinating few days as the Saatchi’s and Leo Burnetts came together to discuss and learn how we can all work together more effectively with these leading digital companies of the world. This new world of social by design has revolutionised the media and creative approach from a ‘bowling ball’ approach where a carefully aimed ball was fired at the consumers and hope to hit a few of them to the ‘pinball effect’ where you send the content into the mix and watch it get fired around.

There were some revealing debates about social and where it fits creatively and who is driving those conversations, we have as clients some very sophisticated marketeers and those who are more tentative but all of them are becoming more global, more scaled and more digital and it is the role of The Nerve Center to help our group capitalise on our amazing partnerships to be able to respond to those trends in a material way.

So as a marketeer who do you care about? Google, Facebook, what about Amazon? Apple and Microsoft will all lay claim to be the companies you need to work with, there are others of course but after a week here you start to consider exactly who are you missing if you work with these companies? The issue comes with knitting these companies together, in the last few years the rivalry has been intense with various fissures opening up between the companies and that’s where organisations like Publicis and The Nerve Center come in. When you sit opposite a Google or an Apple, they often hold many of the cards and yet all of them want to see the whole picture and the agencies hold those cards and they want to learn from us, so it’s a hugely valuable position to be in and one we must exploit on behalf of our clients if we are to get the most from an Apple or Facebook.

Based on this trip and my time at CES I can’t help feel this sense of a more and more closed world vs Open. Facebook’s mission statement is all about connectivity and openness which felt strangely at odds with their restrictions on how we as companies can track anything or the fact that their content can’t be found on Google search. Apple seemed very happy to sit and not want any sort of cross fertilisation, they felt that their billion devices is a big enough footprint for anyone. Everywhere you turn we are organising into silos, TV platforms with Samsung, Apple etc, social platforms controlling their data tightly, not an issue for consumers, harder for advertisers.

That said, when you see the power of YouTube, Facebook’s scale and social by design capabilities, Google from search to display to G+ combined with Microsoft and Xbox/Kinect or Apple’s incredible footprint through hardware it’s hard sometimes to imagine that a global client needs to go much further a field to reach and engage with their audiences. These companies are uniquely global, consistent and so as a global brand you can work on the same platform across multiple markets which will be an important offering of the future.

The days of media schedules with 40 sites on them have to be dwindling or dead, the specialism of tech press or context led site lists can not be totally recreated but you can go a long way towards that same effect through audience buying, targeted Facebook work, Search and so on. These companies and platforms could be the media plan, if only the advertisers themselves could organise in the same global fashion. They don’t right now, but they will and they will want agencies who understand and have very grown up deep relations with these companies and that is the aim of our Partnerships team at VivaKi and VivaKi Ventures which aims to keep us wired to the new start ups as well.

This week was about that, it was about saying lets work out how we can work together and not on the premise of spend and price but intellectually and strategically work to create the media and technical solutions of the future. My last meeting was at Mountain View with Google and what they are working on is mind boggling and makes you realise that although there are many companies out there with great marketing decks and some very bright people, they are dwarfed by what’s going on in this company.

And above all as I sat delayed by 4 hours I thought what an incredible part of the world this is and how inspirational these companies are both person ally and professionally. I also thought that I am working for the most forward thinking organisation in the advertising and media industry and one which is full of very smart people all looking at this business through different eyes and that is fantastic. VivaKi Nerve Center.

Audience On Demand is hiring..

VivaKi Nerve Center launched Audience On Demand in the US back in 2008, launched in London in 2010. Now the UK’s largest trading desk is looking to add to the team as we grow month on month working with some of the UK’s largest advertisers. We work with Starcom Mediavest, ZenithOptimedia and Razorfish teams and are the most lined up agency group in the UK with full support from the agency brands and our success reflects that.

Paul Silver Heads up the Audience On Demand Product and is one of the most respected people in the industry and he will be joined by the Head of Activation on Monday Geoff Smith, current Head of Technology at MEC, it’s a dream team backed by a number of activation and analyst team members and together we are really making great strides in the market place. If you want to work on private marketplaces, scale plays, strategies across the exchange space then you should contact me or Paul.

Bored at an Ad Network, or worrying about their future? Perhaps at another agency Group but struggling against constant resistance and confusion, maybe in a ‘specialist outfit’ but seeing just how restricting and myopic that can be? Want to work for a team that works openly and collaboratively with publishers then email us..

We look forward to hearing from you!

Smart Agencies Understand the Partnership Imperative

In the time I have been writing for this blog, I have worked substantially with Google. The VivaKi Nerve Center are tasked with identifying key partners in their role of being the future facing R&D division of VivaKi. Google are one of our major Partners and because of this I invited Google to write my 100th blog post and to talk about the importance of partnership in this new media landscape that is evolving into a tech driven business rather than just a media one.

Simon Birkenhead of Google, Global Agency Leader for Publicis has kindly submitted the below post and I must thank Simon and the brave Comms team down at Google for letting him loose on my amateur blog!

Smart Agencies understand the Partnership Imperative

In January 2008, Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, shook hands on the terrace of the Publicis building overlooking the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Their agreement, to join forces and partner in the deployment of new digital advertising technologies, kickstarted a radical transformation in the way that large agencies work with technology companies.

For decades agencies have been the masters of delivering effective advertising campaigns at the best possible value for their clients. A key strategy to achieve this was to maintain an arm’s length (some would say, adversarial) relationship with media owners to preserve objectivity and a strong negotiating position. The slow pace of true innovation in traditional media meant there was little pressure for this to change: agencies’ fluency in offline media required little 2-way interaction with media owners beyond discussions over pricing and tactical proposals.

However, the explosive growth of digital marketing over the past decade, and the associated emergence of Silicon Valley’s fast-moving technology companies, has instigated an urgent reappraisal of this adversarial mindset by the leaders of the world’s largest agencies. The increasing importance of data analytics as a key component of agencies’ service offering, combined with the lightning-paced evolution and technical complexity of the new digital marketing platforms, means that a closer working dynamic with technology companies is no longer an experimental initiative, it has become a business imperative.

When Maurice met with Eric in Paris in January 2008, which was also around the time I joined Google, Google’s product suite was largely limited to Search and our display network. Just three and a half years later, the conversations I have with agencies now cover mobile, online video, social, ad exchanges, global ad-serving platforms, rich media advertising, DSPs, analytics, real-time insights tools, data platforms and even enterprise software.

The pace & scale of change is truly mind-blowing:
● In 2008 Search accounted for just 3% of all media investment in the US and Western Europe. Just 3 years later this has tripled to ~9%. In UK, Search now represents at least 15% of all ad spend.
● Android has grown from zero to over 550,000 new activations per day in 3 years and, with iOS, is radically transforming how advertisers can engage with customers through mobile devices
● YouTube now streams 3 billion video views per day, double the volume just 18 months ago
● Facebook, Twitter & Google+ together have close to 1BN users globally, 50% of whom log on every day, half of these through mobiles
● In just 18 months, Ad Exchanges, DSPs and Agency Trading Desks have revolutionized the way display media is bought, challenging the business models for hundreds of existing display networks
● Google announced over 350 major new products or feature changes over the last 12 months alone, an average 7 per week. (To see what these were, visit http://www.google.com/newproducts)

As a Googler, with full access to our internal resources, it is a huge challenge to maintain my own knowledge of all these technologies and the associated opportunities they afford marketers and agencies. For agency account leaders, planners and buyers, who also have to be fluent in a similar suite of products from dozens of other digital companies in addition to all forms of traditional media, it has become truly impossible to remain true media ‘experts’. Every new layer of complexity created by technology evolution creates an even deeper requirement to nurture and build strong external partnerships. As Rishad Tobaccowala of VivaKi recently commented, “The world is too complex and moving too fast for any one company or team to do it all. We need to train people who are cross-bred and hybrid and who are willing to work together.” Tight-knit day-to-day collaboration at account team level with technology companies like Google have now become a necessity for agencies to keep up with all the potential options for connecting advertisers with their customers.

Many advertisers have also come to the same conclusion. A key component of many major media pitches recently has been the requirement for agencies to demonstrate the strength of their partnerships with Google and other players in the digital ecosystem, and how they can use these relationships to deliver additional value to their clients.

Smart agency leaders like Jack Klues, Laura Desmond and Steve King have realised that a close global partnership with Google would help their agencies to stay ahead. Today our global partnerships with VivaKi, Starcom Mediavest and ZenithOptimedia deliver immense value beyond the technology collaboration originally envisaged by Maurice & Eric in January 2008:
● Our industry experts provide deep insights into consumer & market trends that illuminate new consumer engagement opportunities for agencies, enabling their clients to lead rather than follow
● Our display, mobile & video experts work with agencies to create innovative, high impact campaigns for advertisers by pushing the boundaries of what is technologically possible
● Our product managers help agencies to understand and prepare for new marketing opportunities generated by technology change
● The joint research studies we publish each year with agencies deepen our understanding of consumer behaviour in this new digital realm and deliver the proof points needed to encourage advertisers to leverage these new opportunities
● Our training initiatives and digital media certification programmes, covering everyone from the top CEO to entry-level graduates, are helping the agencies to maximise the ROI from their digital campaigns and keep their teams operating efficiently and effectively
● Our ongoing partnership with VivaKi’s Audience on Demand trading desk is helping agencies & their clients to improve the performance of their digital campaigns through superior buying processes.

Yet despite all this, as I talk to agency leaders around the world, both inside & outside of Publicis, I still occasionally get asked what the value is to an agency from working with Google.

Agency leaders who have not yet figured this out, who are not actively encouraging their account teams to build a deep collaborative partnership with Google, may soon discover they are at a significant disadvantage to their competitors in this fast-changing market.

Simon Birkenhead is Google’s Global Business Leader for Publicis Groupe

My new role at Vivaki Nerve Center , EMEA

Marco Bertozzi:03.03.2010
After a break of three months I have very recently secured a new role at Vivaki Nerve Center. I set out to find a role that was at the heart of the world of digital and I am pleased to say this role 100% achieves that. I am also excited about the fact that we are still at the formative stages for the Vivaki Nerve Center and that I will be part of the definition and growth of the unit.

http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/news/994625/Marco-Bertozzi-hits-nerve-VivaKi/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

In the last three months I have spoken to many agency folk around the market and its been a fascinating view on the market. All the major agency groups are investing in their parent group offerings, seeing the benefits of aggregation of skills, knowledge, technology and of course media investment. I hope that as part of the VNC I will be working in what will be the future for Publicis Groupe and help lead the change.

As I have written about previously I believe that the one thing that is for certain is that technology and changing trading methods will alter the way agency groups structure around digital planning and buying. The role of the ‘media schedule’ will be less relevant when in fact we should be buying audiences regardless of their location or site they are visiting. Trading will be about buying at the best price to deliver the relevant ROI not about the fact you bought 10million impressions at a set price earlier in the month and that will combine search and display in all its formats.

On top of that we are of course dealing with the huge changes coming from mobile, social and video, three huge topics that we have to make a success of in our marketing solutions. I am constantly on my iPhone and Nexus one, I surf, blog, update and find information and there are many like me so our solutions need to be making the most of that audience. I believe we have a way to go in that arena as an industry, I look forward to working with Phonevalley and others in implementing these new strategies.

Whether it be social media, mobile or straight forward impression buying we also need cutting edge tracking and reporting solutions and I look forward to working with our partners and Groupe companies in helping us to deliver intuitive, useful and accurate reporting suites to help us across Search, display, video and social.

Having just spent a few days in San Francisco its clear there is an enormous amount to be getting on with, some tasks more straight forward than others but all equally exciting. Our strategic partnerships are going to really create some amazing opportunities for our clients and there will no doubt be more to come. I work in a group of amazingly talented companies including Razorfish, Digitas, Performics and many others so this should be an exciting times and I cant wait to start.