DONT START…I added quotation marks around digital because I know that Tess Alps would be all over it in a second, but I had to describe it as something and there lies the issue for many. Old ways of describing a world moving at a 1000mph are not sitting comfortably at the moment. In the last week or so I have been witnessing the never ending battle of TV vs Digital. The first was during IAB Engage and the second was the Video Ad News conference. Mainly played out on Twitter, noone wins, it normally involves bright people and Nigel Walley and I always wonder what it would be like to have all these people in a room together, working together.
At the heart of the issues lies the definition of what constitutes digital, TV, mobile and how should we talk about them and report them. Those who follow Twitter feeds on the topic will see it is something that appears to have little end in sight. Now I know we are all eating from the same trough, advertiser money, but surely we can work more effectively together and create some strategies that bring all sides together to recognise the benefits of both.
It strikes me that we have a synergistic relationship going on where one supports the other. TV has a history of making brands famous and creating a rapid rise in a brand’s recognition, digital has helped socialise TV and delivers the ROI through websites and follow up digital activity (in addition to instore) but it is vital that we work together to create more studies and more work to prove out these different theories and at an industry level, not just advertiser or agency case studies.
Digital has taken a battering over measurement and quality in recent times and indeed this should and I believe is a wake up call for many in the industry, TV on the other hand is perhaps guilty of resting on some laurels in terms of what it has achieved rather than making sure it is future proofing itself. An amazing amount of progress has been made in the last 2 or 3 years and its great to see but there is a lot more to go. An example of adaptation is where TV may use different tech to deliver ads but can still report back in similar TV metrics and not dive into digital ones, likewise video networks and supply sources have to find a way to include themselves in the GRP discussion rather than bang the table saying, ‘they are right about measurement.’ Todays moderator in an opening address was fast to try and encourage the audience to agree that TV measurement was wrong, we have always known it, but at least it was consistently wrong.’ Controversial. Especially given the current digital malaise. TV measurement is solid if at times a little limited but not wrong.
I would be excited to see TV progress in the way that Sky have started to go, taking incremental steps forward in targeting and reporting and I believe we will rapidly arrive at an offering that combines a good quotient of TV and Digital (there I go again, all TV is digital) benefits. Sky is in the driving seat right now so don’t be surprised to see the channel broadcasters cutting deals with Sky to be able to use Adsmart and IQ like targeting in the future. One area I will be interested in is to see how they embrace the data discussion as regards advertisers and their DMPs. It is still early days but the use of DMPs is moving at pace and becoming more and more sophisticated. As advertisers explore ways to use their first party data against media properties and media buying, perhaps TV has an opportunity to work with them collaboratively and not create another walled garden.
Of course Sky can become the next walled garden and on some levels I would not blame them, but they are in competition with Google and Facebook who most definitely are walled gardens. They are unlikely to change, Facebook has 350+ billion dollar reasons why it cant be bothered to, BUT ITV and C4 could go a different route and help advertisers invest in their properties and demonstrate sales through integrations with DMPs.
Its not often I sit on the fence or become a middle man, but I believe that we could all learn something from each other and one is not better than the other. The biggest crime is that we don’t admit failings and don’t admit that we could learn from one another. As more TV becomes localised, one important lesson to learn from digital is to not let standards drop on creative. TV advertising on the whole is of the highest standards but as a more local offering creeps in with Sky openly encouraging local businesses to come into the TV market place, we are in danger of having a US experience with men standing outside their local garages offering this weeks best deals. TV must keep creative of the highest standards.
We need to keep going back to understanding people, and as we know, people don’t differentiate these channels in the way our industry does, they instinctively just know what they want from each of them. We could all learn from that too and get on with working out how best to engage them and not annoy them.
Jay Sears, Senior Vice President Marketplace Development of Rubicon Project discusses advertising automation with Marco Bertozzi, Global Chief Revenue Officer of Publicis’ Performics as part of a series of buyer conversations on the topic.
JAY SEARS: What do you read to keep up with politics, art and culture?
MARCO BERTOZZI: Almost all of my reading comes from a combination of Twitter and Sunday newspapers! What I follow on Twitter outside of the adtech and performance worlds represents my interests and is the fastest way for me to keep up. Sunday newspapers are my break from staring at screens and I take in some good old print for my news and views.
SEARS: What do you read to keep up with friends?
BERTOZZI: The most useful app to keep up with friends was Newsle, now owned by Linkedin. It sends you an email every time any of your friends are featured — especially useful for work friends. Outside of that Instagram and Facebook bring in baby pictures!
SEARS: What do you read to keep up with the advertising technology industry?
BERTOZZI: I read all the usual trade magazines, I watch TED talks on tech which is always fascinating, and of course Twitter again. You may be getting the idea by now that Twitter helps me navigate most things!
SEARS: What’s your favorite commercial of all time?
BERTOZZI: In past years I have said the Black Current Tango ad. But every time I see the ad from Nike with the park bench that has no seat, but on the back rest it says Just Do It I think, “Wow, that’s great!”
SEARS: With regards to advertising automation, what are the three biggest trends you expect to impact companies in 2016 and 2017?
- The biggest area of opportunity is around data driven shifts away from IOs into direct deals using programmatic pipes (PMP), and that requires heavy use of a data strategy (data warehouse, DMP). We know now what it takes to be successful with programmatic, and data is foundational along with the knowledge and algorithms for optimization, attribution and planning.
- Survival of the fittest in the ad tech space. They are coming under increasing competition and it’s hard to sustain at the rate they have seen. Many agencies and advertisers are trying to consolidate their tech.
- Automation of once called “offline” channels is going to boom in the next three years with TV at the forefront. Historically the broadcasters and platforms have been accused of being laggards but I see that changing and I believe we are going to see a hockey stick of activity in the addressable TV space. Whether it is Sky or Dish or NBC, everyone is now looking to play in automation and targetable linear and VOD ads.
SEARS: With regards to advertising automation, what are the three most overblown topics that you wish would just go away?
- Complexity and how many people use it as an excuse for not learning new skills and terminology. It is a personal bug bear that so many people want to hide away from what is the biggest shift in our industry since TV. I would say though to be measured, there are still too many people focused on the “what” and “how” and not enough on the “why.” That is fair and we should fix that in ad tech land.
- The question, will all media be automated? This is a non-topic now; it is fundamentally clear that we are on our way to that end result. Every channel is moving in that direction and there is no way to stop it. We have to embrace change and maximize the sophistication with which we approach it.
- Ad-blocking debates. We will solve this as an industry and it will bring a far improved web and mobile experience. We need to stop talking about it and start doing something about it. We should never have a panel that does not have solutions and examples of solutions, not just more talk.
SEARS: Describe your company or division and then tell us the three most common issues with which you help clients with respect to advertising automation and programmatic trading.
BERTOZZI: Performics is a Publicis Media global agency brand while at the same time it is the performance arm of the other four networks, providing a best in class performance marketing offering to each of those agencies. We are focused on the relentless pursuit of results!
I believe that we are experiencing the same as many other companies, which is the issue of such a fast-paced market place as regards technology. We are simultaneously delivering best in class programmatic solutions while trying to make sure we keep up with the latest technology and building for a data-led future.
The three issues are:
- Education needs to be prioritized for every agency. Through the power of the Publicis Media practices from Data, Technology and Innovation as well as Research and Insights we have a very strong machine to help us with this but it is still a daily requirement.
- All media should be and will be able to be traded programmatically, however the reality is not always as good as the promise. There are still issues of delivery through the supply chain of premium publishers and tech, where IOs are not always delivered or delivered in full. Where technical issues arise there are often a number of parties to manage.
- Being able to work with and around the walled gardens of some of our largest media partners will come more and more front and center as advertisers invest more in data strategy and DMP activation. This new approach will ask more and more questions of the walled gardens and want them to open up a little so an advertiser can get a view of the whole ecosystem.
SEARS: Tell us about your company or division.
SEARS: The majority of ad technology companies have struggled (relatively small, unprofitable or both). Of the poor performers, what are the commonalities between them that have contributed to this weakness?
BERTOZZI: The three biggest mistakes I see them make are that they are unable to differentiate from the competition and, connected to that, they don’t understand their competition. Without differentiation you have a spray and pray approach and hope something sticks, rather than knowing where to target. The second and related point is that they are not sure what they are; they come with a menu of options without going deep on any of them, almost hoping we will work it out for them. Finally I would say that not over-promising and making sure you deliver what you say you’re going to deliver is vital.
SEARS: A smaller handful of ad technology companies has achieved scale and performed better than the rest. What are the commonalities between them that have contributed to this relative strength?
BERTOZZI: The opposite of the above. One addition: people. People who are able to build strong relationships and develop trust very quickly will always win out in the end, when combined with the opposite of my list of mistakes.
SEARS: Do we live in a “tale of two cities” where Google and Facebook win almost everything, advertisers are dictated to and other media companies fight for the scraps?
BERTOZZI: To some extent that may be the case. I would say that some of the competition that publishers have always experienced is just consolidated, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there before. In that consolidation the question is whether or not that then makes life harder or not for publishers, or just easier for buyers. The market is evolving, however, and there is a lot of spend moving away from very poor, non-transparent ad networks where fraud and lack of transparency have been an issue. The time has never been better for publishers to stake their claim to provide quality inventory and encourage advertisers to invest in them.
SEARS: Please answer the following statements yes or no.
SEARS: If you owned a yacht, what would you name it?
BERTOZZI: Angelina! If I owned a yacht, it would likely be my second biggest pleasure in my life, so it makes sense to name it after my first.
SEARS: A young family member has come to you seeking career advice. They must choose one of the following careers: ad agency executive, ad tech executive, company marketing executive or ice cream shop owner on the French Riviera. Which career path do you recommend and why?
BERTOZZI: Company marketing. I say that because it’s the broadest and applies to all the others. If you become smart in marketing you can apply that to all the other jobs and improve them or grow them. Of course in the world of the chief marketing technologist I would encourage them to get smart on the tech side of the business while they’re at it!
SEARS: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
SEARS: Thanks, Marco!
After another two month stint in the US, I am flying home to take up my role in London. In 2014 I had the good fortune to work for six months in New York and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, this time it was Chicago in my new CRO role for Performics. I have found myself analysing the country more than I did in NY, I guess the second time around was more critical than the first and I seemed to soak up more of normal life this time.
A few things have struck me this time, small often, some big but just areas of difference between US and UK, work and otherwise.
- They love DOGS. Holy shit, they love them, every shape, size, colour. I thought the UK was a nation of animal lovers but its on another scale here, every apartment block has them pouring out in droves.
- US offices are so much quieter than UK. There are arguments pro and con but on balance the life that exists in UK offices outweighs the sometimes oppressive silence of US offices. I would be tearing down the cubicles as fast as I could.
- I am left dumbfounded by the level of waste of food and lack of recycling. Restaurant portions seem to me gluttonous to the point of not really understanding who eats it. It perhaps creates a sharing culture as people don’t order dishes each, but mainly I just see waste.
- How much more friendly and relaxed Chicago is to NY. A totally different experience, people are so friendly and helpful and makes for such a nice pace of life vs NY.
- You have to work here to get the scale. Europeans who moan about the US, need to understand more about the US before passing judgment. The numbers, the opportunities, are immense.
- Love – taxis taking cards as a matter of course, yet at the other end the card payment processes seem really behind with limited Chip and Pin, let alone contactless.
- Eating and drinking in the US is interesting. Service is great generally, some restaurants wont let you sit until your other dining partner arrives which frustrates me. The dropping of the ‘check’ on the table when you have barely finished is both irritating and fantastic, one pushing you out, on the other hand, you don’t have that frustrated process of catching waiter’s eye to get the check.
- Stop spilling iced water all over the table. Please.
- I still find that there is too much hierarchy in US businesses, I would prefer to see much less focus on titles and seniority and more on great and accountable relationships with the teams.
- So kid friendly. playgrounds around every corner, children’s menus, museums etc, Chicago but also NY have been fantastic for kids and I love the place for that.
I hope to get the chance to come back here again, America is a great country and from a work perspective it is a must and would recommend to anyone. I have enjoyed a wonderful time here with the Performics team, a great team and look forward to what the future holds!
Thanks windy city, its been a blast!
My interview with the Google series ‘Think with innovators’ looking back over my career and laying out some of the learnings. It brought back some great memories!
Original article here
For Marco, innovators often tend to be lone, disruptive voices, whose biggest challenge is persuading the majority that change is a good thing, and that the outcome of that change will be positive for both agency and clients alike. In his many years of advancing the digital agenda, he says there has been no bigger challenge than the introduction of Programmatic, starting in 2009. “If you look back, there were whole businesses that did not believe this was the future,” he remembers, “but at every organisation now there are big advocates for Programmatic who all have a common thread of trying to change how the business has always worked.” In driving that change, Marco recalls that there were no short-cuts, as he spent years “literally going door to door” in an effort to educate colleagues and clients about the power of the new technology.
Innovation is in your DNA. I think you can learn some of the skills that are required, but it goes back to ‘what motivates you?’ The motivation to innovate comes from within.
Marco Bertozzi, Global Chief Revenue Officer, Performics
“My definition of innovation in the context of a large media group is really this concept of the ‘intrepeneur’,” says Marco. “Really this means trying to drive change, trying to change what people have always been doing, trying to invent new things within the structure of a big organisation.” Having earned his stripes as an ‘intrApreneur’ at VivaKi and at Performics, Marco now takes time out to share his experiences with the next generation of innovators. “I do mentoring at university, I do talks at schools and there’s a few other things in the pipeline. And at the same time I like sitting down with some of the biggest digital companies in the world and talking about how we’re going to continue to evolve this new space.”
Looking forward, Marco can see new technologies already starting to change the landscape, even though the fundamental challenge for businesses remains unchanged. “First Programmatic came along, and with it all the different channels, and now everyone’s talking about virtual reality. It just never stops, so the challenge for agencies is how you keep on top of that change and really embrace it.”
Reflecting on his undiminished appetite for the next wave of innovation, Marco knows exactly where his enthusiasm springs from. “I think for me, what gets me out of bed in the morning has always been that ability to work with lots of other companies and people who are more future facing. My satisfaction comes from believing that there’s a right way forward that’s different to how we’ve been doing it before, and having the self belief to see it through.”
Our industry is small, relatively speaking. There are three, maybe four parts to it. Agencies, Advertisers, Media Owners (in all their shapes and forms) and technology companies. I have no idea how many people in reality, hundreds of thousands globally let’s say.
Have you seen the make up of those agencies? Generally speaking if you look at the average age of a media agency or creative agency it is pretty low. Let’s say it’s in the early 30s. If you take a look at most of the departments like search or programmatic then that age dips even further. If you don’t work with agencies then let me describe it. Rooms full of young people tapping away, chatting, calling, looking at screens, learning and hopefully enjoying themselves, some pissed off, but normal life.
If you ask them what they do, they will say they work on x client or y client. They will tell you how they are buying something, planning something and trying to deliver something for clients. I can tell you what they are not doing. They are not planning a way to be ‘stealing, lying or cheating their clients’ they will tell you that they are working for their clients and trying to do a good job.
At the same time I see a lot of attention being aimed at how we bring people into the industry, all facets of it, but certainly at the agencies. We all pour efforts into bringing them on and training them so they are good and better than the competition. We want to bring the smartest and brightest to our industry.
Trouble is that is going to get very hard. It’s going to get very hard for a few reasons. The first is the blanket accusations aimed at agencies. To be clear, if there is anyone at fault, I guarantee you it is not the kids working their socks off, it’s not the 99%+ percent of people in agencies. By the way these are the very same you want us to bring into the business, the ones you want to pull away from other industries and wow the clients. But no one is thinking about that. Everyone is rushing to shout as loud as possible about how corrupt agencies are, how they are not trustworthy. When you say ‘agencies’ who are you aiming that at?
Why would anyone want to work in agencies? Between trade bodies, marketing experts, auditing companies, intermediaries, journalists all bashing the agency land, why would anyone want to work for an agency? Mark Ritson said ‘what the fuck is happening in our industry’ well I will tell you. It is being killed by broad brush stroke, highly audible voices (like Mark) that is going to mean that no one will work for agencies and then I wonder where that leaves us. Death by a thousand cuts.
What I can’t work out is that what they want?
I am genuinely interested in whether some of these interested parties really do want agencies to go away, because at the moment they are certainly sounding like it. There is no balance, there is no moderation, there is no qualification, just straight outright, broad brush strokes of criticism. I am here to defend the armies of keen, young, committed people working late, working weekends for their clients. I would like to hear some balance from some of these parties, I would like to hear them support great work and great people, just a little to balance the ones who are razing the whole place to the ground.
When the last planner leaves the building, please turn the light off.
I recently delivered a session at The Festival of Media, called ‘an insiders guide to programmatic’ the design of which was to have a straight forward and open discussion with a room full of advertisers on the topic. It was not meant to be educational in the sense of ‘whats a DSP’ but more a discussion on topics of transparency, operating models, the changing landscape and how the advertiser may need to think differently to how they have been to date.
It was a credit to the Festival organisers that we had nearly 40 advertisers in the room and no other adtech or agency people. Thank God because I was not kind to some of the other players in the ecosystem, although I believe fair. Since the event I have received some feedback that they enjoyed the discussion, at least some of them! The common theme throughout was that they enjoyed the open dialogue and straight talking. Anyone who reads this blog knows thats what I have always tried to do.
In fact I try and do that when I am face to face with clients as well, some make it easier to be straight talking than others. One unnamed advertiser started the meeting with ‘before we start, can I just tell you that I don’t believe a word that comes out of a trading desk!’ Well that sets a tone for sure, one I like because it basically says that the gloves are off and we can talk clearly and simply. It may not come as a surprise to know that I have had a few of those kind of meetings and on the whole I feel like the end result is often better. First of all you get to actually state your case rather than be in the shadows. Secondly it is an opportunity to pick apart the headlines and give the straight answers to straight questions and thats a good thing.
The gloves are off between the advertisers and the agencies right now with all the headlines of FBI and ‘prison time’ and I think that in the end this process that is being led in the US and supported heavily in the UK with the likes of ISBA and their new contracts will allow the right people to talk to the right people and hopefully ask some difficult questions on both sides. The net result being an opportunity for both sides to challenge the current situation.
But I still have not got to the point! As I look around offices all over the world and I see that more and more the work force is retreating behind emails and headphones I fear that the straight talk will also diminish. My first boss Tracey Stern always told me that if I had bad news, I had to ring the client and tell them myself. It taught me to have difficult discussions and hopefully made me think harder about what I was doing. Now everything is transmitted by email. Mistakes, demands, apologies are all carried along the pipes and not delivered through the dog and bone, an experience that is not easy but nevertheless worthy. I think we are all complicit in this, both the sender and receiver has come to prefer it that way and for me that is where the disconnect creeps in and starts to unravel relationships.
I appreciate the world has changed and we are all working in a different way but I firmly believe that if we did the following things, relationships would be better on both sides:
- Always call your client and talk to them about life and work
- If there is a problem or a mistake, deliver it in person or on the phone
- If there is good news, pick up the phone and tell them
- If you are unhappy then say so – on the phone
- If the client is unhappy then say so – on the phone
The rest can go on email! As in all things there are personalities that prefer some things over others, but I firmly believe that some of that is habit rather than preference. So yes it is over simplistic and we are all guilty but we need to do more talking and less emailing and encourage our teams to build relationships through dialogue as well as delivery.