Babar Khan Javed
Feb 2, 2018

In programmatic, adopt partners that share your end goals

Audiocast recap: Partnerships in the digital advertising ecosystem work best when all parties have the same goals and the complementary skills to meet each other halfway.

L-R: Scott McBride, Suresh Balaji, Matt Harty
L-R: Scott McBride, Suresh Balaji, Matt Harty

Though technology, analytics capabilities and having technically capable people onboard are important factors for effective advertising through programmatic means, participants taking part in an audiocast Monday agreed that success often comes down to old-fashioned values like partnership and trust. 

Brand, agency, and platform leaders took part in the first episode of Programmatic Maestros: Growth Hacks, presented by Campaign in partnership with The Trade Desk. Matt Harty, APAC SVP of The Trade Desk, debated with Suresh Balaji, global head of marketing at HSBC Insurance and regional head of marketing at HSBC, and Scott McBride, cheif digital officer at IPG Mediabrands. The audio of the event is available on-demand.

Speakers agreed that programmatic is a major component of every modern marketer's customer outreach strategy, and asserted that industry concerns around brand safety are being addressed with steady success. Balaji in particular stressed that success comes from a customer-first marketing approach, wherein all the technology in a re-targeting stack must be reined in to avoid ad fatigue.

High bar for talent

"We need to look for talent that are analytical, customer-centric, and are able to translate broad strategies, for clearly defined objectives," Balaji said, adding that the industry doesn't need bean counters but rather multi-faceted leaders that can map a customer journey.

Speakers agreed that programmatic must be viewed as a methodolgy for digital media planning and buying, with team selection predicated on matching strategies with business outcomes, while ensuring customer experience is a top-of-mind concern.

McBride values talent that understands data, tech, and programmatic, but said the true value is placed on non-commoditised skills, such as understanding business requirements, brand requirements and the end goal.

Talent also needs to recognize the variance of metrics across campaign types. Harty added that programmatic offers numerous options of what to measure and optimise.

Responding to an audience poll on brand safety with a programmatic team, attendees representing brands, agencies, and publishers predomnently felt assured for the moment while being well aware of the potential risks involved.


As the industry goes, so do concerns around brand safety, fraud, viewability, and transparency, particularly among SSP and DSP partners. McBride reemphasized that marketers need to be more savvy when ensuring that budgets shifted towards programmatic deliver a measurable return on investment. 

"To those more pioneer-focused there is a tremendous opportunity to optimise across these metrics to drive performance," he said. "Think of this use of adtech as an ROI opportunity."


Speakers agreed that programmatic needs to be left up to partners and experts that can deliver the promised results. The marketer's role, as agreed by Balaji, is selecting a partner that matches the business need and marketing opportunity.

Responding to a poll on which ROI metrics measure effectiveness, the unanimous response from participants was that metrics vary with adspend budgets and business goals, adding that the cost of customer acquisition, cost of retention, cost of conversion, cost of leads, and customer attrition rate were the go-to metrics to focus on. They insisted that the divide between sales and marketing varies across industries such as consumer electronics and automobiles.

More than half the attendees during the Audiocast voted that they were confident in their digital supply chain partners, all the while continuing to explore varying metrics that matched business requirements.


The latest report from Publicis Groupe’s Zenith, predicts that by 2019, programmatic will be used to trade two-thirds of global digital display advertising. The findings projected that the expenditure on programmatic ads would rise from $57.5 billion to $84.9 billion over the next two years. 

The key takeaways from the Audiocast:

  1. Programmatic is a methodology for digital media planning and buying,
  2. Retain decision making in house for partners with a track record in meeting commercial goals,
  3. Partner with companies and agencies that align with a brand's approach towards marketing.

In an industry as heavily regulated as consumer finance, which Balaji represents, programmatic and agency partners that match targeting and messaging in line with sector and brand parameters are critical for the industry to thrive. Balaji added that his partners understood this and always came through.

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