How To Sell Programmatic To The C-Suite

If you’re a marketer reading this article, there’s a decent chance you already know that programmatic buying is a uniquely effective tool. The problem? Just because you get it doesn’t mean the higher-ups do. So, how do you convince the C-suite that the company is missing out on programmatic? Well, you can start by remembering the fundamental lesson of programmatic advertising: You’ve got to target the right message to the right people. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips for convincing the leaders of your company to go pro(grammatic):

CFO: If your CFO is like most CFOs, then he or she is going to be obsessed with costs and efficiencies. There’s nothing a CFO loves more than hearing about new ways to trim budgets. So why not focus your pitch to the CFO on programmatic’s power to save by only serving ads to people who are likely to take action. You can start with the basic example of site retargeting and explain that a good programmatic vendor won’t simply retarget every visitor to the site. Instead, the programmatic vendor will work tirelessly to eliminate the wrong targets, such as individuals who have already purchased the product being advertised or who arrived at the site via irrelevant search terms. You might also note that frequency caps can ensure that you never over-target the same person. Programmatic gives you the most bang for your buck. Your CFO will appreciate that.



CTO (or CIO): The only thing CTOs love more than data itself is controlling their data. If you’re going to get your CTO on board with programmatic, he or she needs to be convinced that the company's data will be one hundred percent secure at all times. So, your best bet with the CTO is to point out that you don’t necessarily need to work with an advertising agency to go programmatic. You can bring the operation in-house and work directly with the vendor. The other C’s will like this idea as well, as it will save even more money. But the CTO should especially like the idea because in addition to data security it means a bit of investment in some great new tech toys.

CMO: Of course, if you’re going to be running a new type of campaign, it’s a must to have the CMO on board. So, how do you convince the CMO? Why not explain programmatic in terms every CMO will understand: search marketing. In other words, you can explain that programmatic has been so successful in part because it brought some of the best aspects of search marketing to display. Explain that real-time bidding in programmatic functions in much the same way as in an SEO campaign: It gives you the power to target users based on what they’re thinking about at any given moment. While you’re at it, why not mention that programmatic also allows the marketing team to put its own CRM data to use in an entirely new way. In other words, it allows the CMO to demonstrate to the other C’s that all the online data gathering the company has been doing is now paying off.

The CEO: A CEO needs to make sure programmatic is implemented in a way that drives profits for shareholders. He or she also need to ensure that all the other C's work together to achieve that goal. That's why the CEO needs to understand that programmatic is one of the best ways to keep marketing accountable to the shareholders. Make sure your CEO appreciates that, unlike blind site buys, programmatic is transparent and makes it possible to bring hard evidence for what's working and what's not. While you're having the conversation, it won't hurt to mention that Procter & Gamble hopes to buy 70% to 75% of its U.S. digital media programmatically by the end of the year.

Not every executive is going to see the benefits of programmatic right away. But don’t give up. When your company does finally go programmatic, as it inevitably will, you’re going to end up looking very smart.

1 comment about "How To Sell Programmatic To The C-Suite".
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  1. Emil Panzarino from Assembly Media, August 4, 2014 at 1:06 p.m.

    really great read Lori. Hope all is well with you!

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