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Of the programmatic haves & non programmatic have-nots

It may appear that the advertising ecosystem, specifically the component that is impacted by technology, is mushrooming with too many players on the programmatic side. So much so that many industry leaders have predicted consolidation in the space. However, a big challenge facing most of these companies is explaining what programmatic stands for to the marketer, and the potential it holds.

At dmexco’s inaugural satellite event in Singapore last week, the discussions took a detailed view on the transition that programmatic can allow in the advertising business, and the challenges that must be overcome to achieve its full potential. Hosted together with its sponsor partner Adap.tv, the event saw participation from more than 125 marketing and advertising decision makers.

Kara Weber, Adap.tv

Kara Weber, Adap.tv

The discussions saw a few key points made towards what is needed to convince the marketer on programmatic benefits. “The shift to programmatic is the preface to a golden age for marketers and for the overall marketing and advertising industry,” stated Kara Weber, CMO, Adap.tv. She explained that the change is driven by programmatic not only in terms of economic efficiencies but also in enabling more time for creative inputs and relevant messaging.

“Machines free up time and take away the clerical rigour. In effect, this allows advertising professionals more time to strategise or to invest in creative thinking. While programmatic leads to increased effectiveness of media, the noteworthy aspect is the scale that it can reach, which is critical in the world we are in today,” explained Ms Weber.

Ambrish Jain, Lenovo

Ambrish Jain, Lenovo

Drawing attention to one of the biggest challenges, which is the complexity of the business and how the marketer faces it, Lenovo’s Vice President Marketing and Communication, Ambrish Jain highlighted the need to simplify. He said, “With digital, the amount of KPIs has increased to include even things such as fans, video shares and so on. It is all very complex and a senior marketer does not need to deal with it unless forced to.”

Mr Jain admitted that even he had not paid attention to programmatic until recently. “It is important to educate senior business leaders on some of these aspects and that would not help if it includes complex structures. The industry has to simplify itself and show the benefit that the new age advertising technology gives to advertisers,” he advised.

R Gowthaman, Mindshare

R Gowthaman, Mindshare

The impact of the overload of data and information was well captured by R Gowthaman, COO – APAC, Mindshare Worldwide, when he said, “The data tsunami has just started and will become worse. When there is a deluge, we do not need a bridge but an arc. A structure to survive has to be built and programmatic is a very good beginning.”

G’man, as Mr Gowthaman is better known, emphasised on the need to bring in as many stakeholders as possible. He said, “To bring in efficiencies, we need everyone in the system. It is equally bad if a few of the product and service providers are not in because the mundane aspect of manual labour kicks in again. We need to find a way where more people can come in the ecosystem. In addition to the mad men and math men, we need to get more tech men in the system.”

Programmatic is just a beginning, and the ability to manage big data is under question right now according to Mr Jain too. His question is how information can be utilised to sharpen consumers reach. “The old world order has changed; the importance of content is clear. But in all this, it is important to see how programmatic brings simple solutions and what it does amongst marketers. We have seen the likes of Google and Facebook evangelise the digital media and social media space; the programmatic industry needs to do the same,” commented Mr Jain.

G’man pointed out that there are too many players in the system and everyone is hoping to make money. “This is not how the business will sustain. There cannot be so many players and we are hence likely to see some of these merge to make way for a much simpler ecosystem,” he stated.

Agreeing with G’Man, Ms Weber remarked, “In the course of the programmatic journey, many silos will fall over. We have entered the age of programmatic haves and non programmatic have-nots. It is brand building versus direct response and we are going to see many changes that will redefine some of the rules of the advertising industry.”

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.