New IAB CEO wants more marketer input into the IAB's agenda

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 2 August 2016
Vijay Solanki

Vijay Solanki, the IAB's new CEO says the organisation needs more input from client-side marketers as well as agencies and media owners to inform its agenda.

Solanki, who started at the IAB last week, is spending his first 90 days holding face to face fact finding interviews with 50 stakeholders in what he's calling the 'first 50'.

He tells AdNews that before outlining what his agenda for the organisation is he wants to spend time listening and getting feedback on how the IAB is currently viewed, what it stands for and what his priorities should be.

“We're naturally very close to publishers but I want to get closer to agencies and to marketers. Getting a cross industry read will be really important. I want to create the sense that our doors are open and we're a listening organisation,” he says.

He will also look to do a number of digital immersion days with members and is launching a member survey to canvas broader opinion.

“I want to do 50 one-to-ones to get current impressions and views on what the IAB should and shouldn’t be doing and what the key challenges are,” he says.

“I think knowledge and learning never stops. It gets bigger and faster. I'd love for organisations to open their doors so I can better understand their operations whether they are traditional businesses building digital in or pureplays.

When asked what his impressions are off the bat and what interested him about the role he was cautious and restrained in making any bold pronouncements before embarking on the deep dive with its member base.

“It's right and proper for me to keep an open mind rather than be led by any sort of prejudice. I need to be a good marketer in my approach and go out and listen.”

“It's important I go through this exercise, make sense of it and then come up with the future picture [for the IAB]. The industry is still growing fast and needs a body that champions digital education … there are elements of policy that are important, they need to be pushed through training and events and then there is communication aspect so the broader industry understands [those things]. That's what the IAB has been doing here and in other parts of the world.”

Policy, education and communications are at the centre of the IAB's remit and that is unlikely to change, but with the pace of advancement in digital and media, the organisation has to make sure its attention and its working groups are pointing in the right direction.

Solanki, who is British, came to Australia 15 months ago and spent a year at SCA as chief digital officer. He has previously held roles in Phillips in the UK where he was senior director of global digital innovation, and before that digital and marketing roles at Blackberry and BP, Shazam and

He replaces Alice Manners who led the IAB for three years.

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