Marketers taking programmatic ad technologies in-house has been a growing trend and a topic of interest around the industry. It is not the predominant buying method -- recent reports peg 11% of all programmatic spend as coming from in-house buyers -- and it may not be the most sustainable method for everyone, but it’s clear that some marketers are at least exploring it as a possibility.
MultiView, a demand-side platform (DSP) with a focus on B2B advertisers, wants to help marketers who can’t bring programmatic in-house for a variety of reasons. The company says it helps advertisers (typically smaller) that aren’t going to hire and agency or get a seat on a major DSP by serving as a “full-service marketing partner" and giving them programmatic technologies.
I wanted to learn more about MultiView’s model and how it could impact the competitive landscape of digital advertising. Ben Maitland, SVP of marketing, answered a few questions via email about the company’s unique approach.
RTM Daily: Why target smaller brands? What do they bring to the table? Are they mostly local brands?
Ben Maitland: We don’t target “smaller” brands. A better way of thinking about it is that we target brands
-- big and small -- that have a difficult time reaching precise and narrow niche audiences.
The B2B marketing landscape is much more fragmented than consumer marketing. You don’t see the same agency participation, nor do you engage the large in-house ad buying operations. Bringing programmatic technology to these specialized B2B advertisers is something the market needs.
RTMD: You say MultiView can serve as a "full-service marketing partner" for smaller brands. Does that mean you view agencies as competitors? Do you work with any agencies?
Maitland: Agencies serve the most important role in the advertising ecosystem, so we’re not competing with them, but aiding them, serving as experts in B2B advertising.
Programmatic technology is a means for distributing advertising, not unlike email, where what you say and who you say it to is important. Because agencies reflect that belief, we get along with them very well. In fact, a good portion of our campaigns are sold to agencies. Because we take on the design of the creative ad units, much of our efforts could be seen as redundant, but we’d prefer to describe it as collaborative.
RTMD: Should ad tech companies really be competing against agencies? Do you see that happening on a large scale -- a large enough scale that it could alter the advertising landscape?
Maitland: Ad tech companies cannot compete against agencies by connecting directly with brands because ad tech’s core competency will always be developing technology, not helping brands develop marketing campaigns to reach their target audience.
While I think that can work in the short term -- there are increasingly more examples of this today -- eventually they will become sales-driven companies, compromising their innovative spirit and allocation of resources.
With that said, I do think that the platforms' ad tech companies are developing will enable the disruption of the advertising landscape. Ad tech companies with a strong technological core will improve to the point of replacing many functions currently executed by agencies, such as in-house trading.
However, as audiences become accessible in real-time, the need for professional agency services will probably increase. Because agencies will simply reposition themselves upmarket, if everybody focuses on what they’re good at, the landscape should remain very familiar for a long time.
RTMD: How do you help the brands in the creative department? Aren't tech companies filled with "data scientists" and engineers?
Maitland: Tech companies are filled with data scientists and engineers, and we’re glad that they are. Their innovations enable the advertising revolution we are seeing today. Our philosophy is to leverage the infrastructure they have created and work really hard to optimize it.
Therefore, we see everything we do as creative -- from applying niche data to our campaigns, to brand positioning, to ad unit design. Brands still need to hit really tight segments (i.e., a certain occupation or industry), so they’ll always need a deep contextual understanding of their industry and their target, no matter which technology they are using. Ad tech is a very modular collection of platforms and therefore it cannot effectively connect with brands without some combination of agencies and firms like ours.
RTMD: What is your relationship like with most clients? Do they use the tech themselves, or is it done as a managed service? What are the benefits of each?
Maitland: Our relationship with clients is best described as full-service, from the creative to the distribution of the advertising. Our clients could complement our campaigns with in-house buying, but the business they do with us is always a full-service experience.