Opinion: To programmatically buy or not to programmatically buy? That is NOT the question

Paul Brooks
By Paul Brooks | 10 July 2014

In recent weeks there has been a lot of noise around programmatic buying going in-house, with FOXTEL and Mondelez among the brands grabbing the headlines. There is a lot of debate around in-house versus agency, versus hybrid versus direct, which begs the question; which model is the right one?

Before jumping to a solution on the right model, we must remember the role that an agency should perform with and for its clients. In its simplest form, we are there to enable our clients to connect with consumers or potential consumers in an effective, efficient and impactful way, and we do that by understanding and navigating the media landscape.  Importantly, we are able to provide independent and objective advice to clients.

This point has been lost in recent weeks.

There isn’t and shouldn’t be a straight forward answer and I don’t believe we can say which model is “best” until we have answered the clients’ central question.  What are you looking to achieve? It is only by answering this question that we can advise and recommend what model is right for that specific client; it is and never should be a one size fits all! All clients will have different requirements, different budgets, different capabilities, different partnerships, and different skillsets and…You get it, different!

There are some key challenges that will be consistent for most advertisers when considering programmatic buying;

  • The significant fiscal investment required
  • The varied skillsets required to implement delivery of any programmatic offering
  • Technology, platform and licensing required to deliver effectively
  • How does a programmatic offering work with the other industry verticals?
  • Current e-commerce offering versus long term e-commerce plan
  • Complex and extensive vendor management
  • Accurate evaluation of 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data and the role played in customer growth versus retention
  • Requirement for robust attribution modelling

There are more and these are the challenges and questions that agencies should be discussing with their clients before deciding on a solution. Our role is to ask the questions, understand our client’s objectives and then recommend, build, develop or evolve a model that delivers against these requirements.

We need to be flexible, progressive and willing to break new ground. It will mean a more complex landscape with increased fragmentation and more circuitous partnerships but that should be nothing new to any of us.

Paul Brooks
National head of investment and partnerships

comments powered by Disqus