Don't Strand Your Programmatic Team On An Island

Programmatic media spend will hit $9.8 billion in the U.S. this year, according to Magna Global, proof that major brands and agencies are finally embracing the new technology. As part of this adoption, many brands are creating in-house programmatic teams, or at the very least hiring a programmatic expert to guide them.

Yet time and time again, we see that many organizations have isolated their programmatic team, confining them to a silo where they can’t interact with other departments and disciplines -- not even the marketing team.

These experts are tasked with knowing the technology, vendors, and application of programmatic across all marketing disciplines, but companies seem to be isolating them from the larger marketing decisions. For brands to succeed in programmatic, they need to pull their programmatic team into larger campaign planning conversations, using those insights and expertise to plot the entire digital (and sometimes traditional) strategies. To do that, they need to get their programmatic experts off the proverbial island.



Traditional brands are built on top of traditional practices and opinions. A 20-year marketing veteran at a major CPG advertiser is not going to wake up one day and devote all her time to understanding the ins and outs of various programmatic vendors, because it’s not her area of expertise. Brands need a specific expert, and they need to be open to listening and learning from their in-house programmatic guru. Those in the ad tech industry might argue that brands are behind the curve in implementing new technologies, but the truth is that nearly all major brands are at the same stage -- recognizing the need to hire someone who can roll up their sleeves and educate on the ins and outs of programmatic.

When brands start listening to and empowering their in-house teams, they can use programmatic as the foundation of their online campaigns. That programmatic team would be responsible for identifying partners and leveraging the technology and data.

Ideally, once brands take tighter control of their programmatic spend, their agency partners can focus on the more high-level and intensive creative executions, such as takeovers, sponsorships roadblocks and other kinds of high-impact ads. Programmatic will be the meat and potatoes of the digital plan, and the agency can showcase its expertise on the creative side and on the other pieces of media spending that will complete the plan, especially with the agency-level resources, teams and knowledge at hand.

In-house programmatic teams certainly will not completely replace agencies. It’s simply a matter of having the ability to make decisions in-house. In this best-case scenario, the programmatic team owns the technology, planning and access to programmatic media, but they don’t necessarily do all of the trading themselves, nor would they build the technology. This team functions as a part of the larger marketing department, managing the partnerships directly to do what’s best for the brands’ marketing initiatives.

From a brand’s perspective, data is one of the most valuable components of programmatic. As a result, brand marketers tend to place more emphasis on their data than agencies. Brands with in-house teams can dig into the data they own, as well as the third-party options, and start using that to craft better media plans.

At this point in time, all marketers need programmatic expertise, regardless of whether they’re executing brand or direct-response campaigns. Programmatic has become a vital component in online marketing, and marketers large and small need support and know-how within their company.

Again, the goal of building an in-house team isn’t about cutting out the agency. Rather, it’s about making the entire company smarter about an emerging marketing practice and technology. The programmatic experts just need to be part of the larger conversations.
2 comments about "Don't Strand Your Programmatic Team On An Island ".
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  1. David Carlick from Carlick, August 21, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.

    I remember when Doyle Dane Bernbach had a breakthrough by putting creative teams of copy and art together. Our engineers (at were a valued part of the creative team.

  2. tom dom from freelance, June 9, 2015 at 7:06 a.m.

    I coudl'nt more agree ... dont't repeat bad organisation a the existing silos for the CRM, eCommerce, Search, Merchandising ...

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