Industry veterans who already survived the process spoke about the challenges of cooperation among brands, tech providers and agencies. Jason Wincuinas, managing editor at Campaign Asia-Pacific, moderated the discussion.
If you think about it, programmatic buying is simply about buying media in real time. "It's a wonderful thing but a difficult thing to manage," said Kevin Walsh, APAC chief digital officer at Carat. The agency invests quite heavily in data visualisation software to speed the collation of results and identification of areas for optimisation. This creates a much more dynamic relationship between the media agency, the creative agency and the client. "We can make changes on the fly, but we can't do that if we have to wait two or three weeks for an extra piece of creative to optimise a campaign," he said.
Brands should also consider what are the immediate issues they have and decide what internal data sets they can bring to the table, advised Cindy Deng, APAC managing director at Turn. That makes establishing a collaborative relationship with the tech providers and agencies an easier task.
Before that happens, the "trust" aspect of programmatic buying is probably the most difficult. Companies can be in danger of "focusing far too much on the tech side of things and not enough on the outcomes that technology can bring," said Walsh. Media agencies like Carat and others should be educating the industry to move programmatic buying away from the "black box" that it is associated with.
Who else, apart from the media agency, should take the lead in the effort to integrate programmatic buying into a company's overall strategy? The brand CMO was voted by 33 per cent in an online poll during the webinar. Technology underpins a campaign's infrastructure, but it's the marketer's vision that puts everything into practice. It's that human element that brings tech-enabled insights into the execution, said Turn's Deng.
On the topic of needing change management or a technology evangelist to help integrate programmatic buying into a media strategy, Deng gave an example where a brand-side coordinator was able to train 400 marketers and 18 agencies within a short six months, and expedite the integration process. Others on the panel also agreed that a similar role helps though it might not have to be a singularly dedicated one.
Walsh works with some clients who have a very strict spilt between creative and media, which is not unusual, but for programmatic the brand needs to have a much more open attitude, he explained. On the theme of working together collaboratively, he suggested building "a corridor of freedom" to make on-the-fly decisions without having to stop and ask for approvals from other parties in the programmatic eco-system.
But this needs trust, and that is not built overnight, but slowly and surely, concluded Rupa Rajamani, head of digital performance marketing and technology strategy at Standard Chartered Bank. "I think it's a right approach. As a marketer, I also try to establish a ceiling and a floor for the agencies to give them that freedom and flexibility to achieve campaign objectives together."
Here are some highlights from Twitter discussion on #campaignturnlive: