Lee Davis' Arc: From Baseball Dreams To Programmatic At MediaCrossing

As a kid, Lee Davis wanted to play professional baseball, but stopped growing at about 5 feet, 10 inches and realized that throwing 90-mile-an-hour fast balls wasn't on his short list of things he could accomplish.

Perhaps it's not exactly a line drive. But after 30 years in the media business, Davis pitched the ball to MediaCrossing and ended up as EVP of the agency's programmatic practice, which expects to contribute to eMarketers' estimated $32.56 billion in digital display advertising this year.

And though Davis has remained a big sports fan, he redirected his focus to educating clients on the benefits of programmatic media buying and ad serving. "I'm an inherent worrier," Davis said, admitting to being an overachiever and someone who sets high expectations of himself.

He also expects a lot from programmatic, a technology that seems to take the burden for many of the complaints about the digital ad industry -- everything from advertising fraud to transparency flaws. 



The biggest challenge for Davis becomes educating clients on programmatic's benefits, and putting misconceptions to rest.

MediaCrossing also believes it can help fix such challenges as reporting of the numbers in real time and transparency in terms of when and where ads are served.

Davis, who reports to MediaCrossing CEO Michael Kalman, heads a 15-person team that does the buying for display, social, video, mobile, streaming audio and native advertising for the agency's clients.

When asked if there a technology missing to support programmatic technology, Kalman chimed in. He doesn't think there's a missing technology, but he does expect to see platforms that will show advertisers the true underlying cost of an impression."Those things are in the works to remove some of the opaque or dark parts of the pricing market," he said.

Davis could soon be spearheading MediaCrossing's move into the TV space, Kalman said. The agency will either build a connected TV discipline or buy an agency that has the function, he noted.


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