From The Desk Of Keith Gooberman: Top Trader Makes Bid For Independence

by , Jan 20, 2014, 7:30 AM
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Keith Gooberman is hanging up his hat at Varick Media Management and trading it for something that suits him a little better: his own company.

VMM's former VP of vice president of trading and platform operations is expected on Monday to announce the launch of his own independent trading desk, RTM Daily has learned.

The new trading desk, dubbed Programmatic Mechanics, will be owned and operated solely by Gooberman at launch.

“It's going to be a purely transparent model,” Gooberman said -- something he believes is “not very common” in the industry. He said the trading desk will have a focus on mobile, but will also handle display, video and social media buys.

But Programmatic Mechanics will not just be a trading desk -- Gooberman's new company will also have a consulting component for agencies looking to build their own in-house trading capabilities.

“There are some great advertising opportunities [in digital],” Gooberman said. However, he believes advertisers are not educated enough to take advantage of all those opportunities. He thinks agencies should be looking to build their own team of data analysts who know how to buy media via demand-side platforms (DSPs).

“Most are just sending everything to the DSPs,” he said. “There is enormous efficiency if you build a team -- which could be between three and six people, depending on the amount of money you spend -- that work on a self-serve basis across DSPs. But they need to know how the technology works.

“A lot of networks are making the space murkier for advertisers and agencies; they aren’t making it clearer or explaining exactly how it all works,” he continued. “I’m going to focus on education and clarity.”

Gooberman envisions bringing in agency representatives and teaching them how to buy media programmatically (through DSPs). They would learn what the different DSPs specialize in, what to be aware of and every trick of the trade in between. He wants clients to be able to do the bulk of their trading in-house, once they have received training.

Gooberman saw the gap he believes Programmatic Mechanics will fill during his time at VMM. He spent over two and a half years at the trading desk and praised the company and its employees. However, as VMM is MDC's trading desk, it was limited in terms of the advertisers and agencies it could help.

“I love the Varick guys -- nothing but good things there,” Gooberman said. “But they had trouble servicing agencies and advertisers that were at the other holding companies. I wanted to start a practice to service organizations outside the MDC family of agencies.”

As previously noted, Gooberman will be the only person working for Programmatic Mechanics at launch, but he shared plans to build a team "very shortly." He acquired angel funding and is looking to have a staff of six within three months and 10 to 20 employees by year's end.

But as a one-man show, will Programmatic Mechanics be able to compete with larger trading desks? Gooberman thinks so.

“The media trading business is really [about] understanding the technology," he reasoned. "I can compete in terms of quality media-buying. I also won't overstaff like competitors do; I'm not going to hire a team of 100 people before I have the money to support that. I will remain lean.”

Despite spending years in ad tech, the industry veteran is still infatuated with the technologies available today.

“I love the technology that’s emerging in our industry,” he said effusively. “I’m excited to do this; I love the education process. Digital and mobile advertising is one vertical in this world that continues to grow. The programmatic space is exploding."

3 comments on "From The Desk Of Keith Gooberman: Top Trader Makes Bid For Independence".

  1. Charles Pinkerton from Theseus Communications
    commented on: January 20, 2014 at 10:36 a.m.
    KG Awesome news. Have no doubt you will be a success. All the best CP.
  2. Lee Freund from TubeMogul
    commented on: January 20, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.
    Congratulations Keith! This exciting for you and all the marketers you will help cross the chasm.
  3. Lee Freund from TubeMogul
    commented on: January 20, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.
    Congratulations Keith! This is exciting for you and all the marketers you will help cross the chasm.

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