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Managing Marketing: The Problems With Programmatic

Stephen Wright

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Stephen Wright is the Global Media Lead for TrinityP3. He was also the Director of Programmatic Media and he shares what he has identified as the three key challenges stopping programmatic media from achieving its full potential for advertisers. Stephen also shares how many of these are being addressed to make programmatic more accessible for non-tech marketers, less complex and more transparent and accountable in the marketing mix.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing media, marketing, and advertising, with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

Today, I’m sitting down with Stephen Wright, global media lead at TrinityP3 Marketing Management Consultants. Welcome, Stephen.

Stephen:

Good day, Darren.

Darren:

Well, I should say actually welcome back? Because you’ve returned to Trinity P3 after another sojourn back into the industry.

Stephen:

You tempted me back in Darren and I couldn’t resist.

Darren:

Well, I actually like the fact because I think we’ve worked together since — what was it? Around 2000 and?

Stephen:

2005, the Telstra pitch.

Darren:

Oh my God, 2005, 15 years ago. But it hasn’t been continuous because you went back to work in an agency running their new business for a while, very successfully.

Stephen:

New business at Starcom for a few years and then back more recently into programmatic, which was a really interesting foray into the cutting edge of media.

Darren:

Well, look, and that’s what I’d love to talk to you about today because you’d have to say that programmatic promises a huge opportunity for marketers, advertisers in the form of being able to automate and manage the huge fragmentation of the media market, doesn’t it?

Stephen:

Yeah, look and that’s the reason I went back in. It was an incredibly exciting opportunity when programmatic appeared. And all of the theory at programmatic provides a magnificent new opportunity to cost-efficiently target and reach your audience. And it’s delivered in that, but in Australia, it has been held back.

And it took me a while to work it out. I was working in the industry while all this was happening, and there was a set of circumstances and factors that came together that I think swatted the growth of programmatic in Australia.

Darren:

No, I just want to stop you there. You’re right though, from the point of view that programmatic has not been embraced as much in the Australian market as it has in other markets.

I mean, when we look at the percentage of money going into programmatic in like the UK, Europe, and the USA as part of a total digital media spend, it’s actually relatively small here in Australia compared to those markets.

Stephen:

It is. I mean, there’s one factor which will hold it back a bit, which is our geography. But even putting that aside and taking that into account, it hasn’t got the level of penetration that it should when compared to those very similar markets. And a lot of that was to do with the way it came together in the early stages.

And I’ve grouped the reasons why it stalled a bit and hasn’t grown as quickly as it should into three areas.

The first one I would say was an indulgence in digital expertise in digital language. In the early stages, I mean, media has always been a bit of black art and that marketing people understood media a lot better and then digital with the black art and they understood digital better. And then programmatic has taken the acronyms and the language to a new level for marketers.

Darren:

Apart from the technology, because programmatic is very heavy tech, isn’t it? It’s the propeller-head type nerdy person that was attracted to it. And a lot of them did come from technology more than they came from the media, didn’t they?

Stephen:

And that was part of the problem in the early days. There weren’t enough translators and salesmen to break it down into everyday terms that marketers understood. And a lot of marketers were almost too afraid to put their hand up and get an explanation.

So, they burned a lot of marketers in the early stages, just by indulging in the language and trying to make it seem almost more complicated or certainly as complicated as it is, indulging in the high-end digitalness of it.

Darren:

I mean, I know myself, when the conversation turns to programmatic, I can follow at a certain level, and then it gets down into this murky type of technobabble, I call it, where suddenly, I just see three-letter acronyms are getting thrown around and numbers, huge numbers or very small numbers — you know, it’s so quick to get lost.

And I can imagine, that’s for me, who has spent quite a bit of time trying to get a handle on it — I can only imagine for a lot of marketers, it’s just completely baffling.

Stephen:

It was. And a lot of them started to shy away. And then the second factor in terms of what has stalled it, kicked in and compounded that problem. And that is that suddenly, there was this fantastic new opportunity for everyone to make money.

So, there was this gold rush bandwagon where digital companies sprung up everywhere and everyone was peddling their wares now to salespeople; “Me, me, me, I’ve got the latest product.”

And so, those marketers who were trying to understand the area were absolutely bombarded with a million and one new products and systems from every man and his dog, all saying they had the answer and the solution for the client. So, clients were just completely bamboozled by all of this.

Darren:

Because the LUMAscapes are a great visual demonstration of that, aren’t they? And I remember how people used to joke about how many little logos could they possibly stick into one chart.

But programmatic, before you talk about AdTech, MarTech, programmatic was already like lots of little ants all over the place into these seemingly boxed off areas of the advertiser on one side and the publisher on the other. And it felt like if you drew the connecting lines, there’d be 10 or 20 different companies all with their finger in the till.

Stephen:

Yeah. Even now, the market’s thinned out a bit. Even now, you look at the latest LUMAscape, it’s still mind-boggling the number of companies and logos and different opportunities and entities and subdivisions of products that are on there. So, that was the second thing that compounded the problem.

And then the third issue that kicked in, was what I call the subterranean river of gold. And this was where I think most agencies would admit with hindsight, they didn’t help the cause for programmatic. And this is where a series of things came together.

Agencies obviously, were aware of the fact that marketers and clients weren’t particularly savvy on the whole programmatic area. It was an area that was under the radar with regard to remuneration. It was incredibly confusing, the pricing, the commissions, the fees, AdTech fees, commission service fees. And agencies saw an opportunity to actually make some significant margins on this new area through a lack of understanding by clients.

And in fairness to them, there was a reason, a legitimate reason why they did it. At the same time as programmatic was born and became a new entity, there was an awful lot of pressure in pitches from procurement on the transparent remuneration terms.

And so, agencies were looking at these remuneration terms of having to participate in a race to the bottom of saying, “Okay, well, if I’m going to have to play that game and basically do things non-profitably for those transparent terms, I’m going to look to make some money over here and help recoup a level of money that makes a business profitable.”

Darren:

Okay. So, just let me get it right. So, the three things that have been holding back programmatic; the first one is this huge technology language problem, the almost impenetrable way of understanding what’s actually going on.

Stephen:

And the lack of translators.

Darren:

And the lack of translators. The second one is the complexity of the number of people that are playing in this space and all seem to be needed. And we’ll talk about it some more, but there seem to be more things coming in all the time with people verifying what everyone else is doing. It’s almost like paying a watcher to watch the watcher who’s watching the watcher’s who’s actually watching the person buying the media.

And then the third one is this whole issue around less than transparent ways of making money – that the agency saw in the early days a quick win for them in the face of being constantly squeezed on their fees. So, that’s pretty much it?

Stephen:

I think you can summarize all of the early issues with programmatic into those three camps. And it was a combination of those things that meant that programmatic hasn’t here quite got the share of revenue that it has.

Darren:

Okay. So, let’s now go back over those three. And let’s talk about some of the things that have either improved or are needed to improve where we are with programmatic. And let’s start off with the techno — I’ll call it the technobabble. You had a much nicer term, what was it?

Stephen:

The indulgence in expertise.

Darren:

The indulgence of expertise. I mean, I just know that whenever I start talking with someone about programmatic, it can go down that rabbit hole very quickly of language and processes and technology.

Stephen:

In that whole area, things are a lot better now. Obviously, the tech companies now have people who talk the everyday language, understand how to pitch and articulate propositions to marketers. And so, marketers are very much more comfortable in dealing with the AdTech providers and the sellers.

In a sense, at times they’ve become a little too comfortable. Some of those guys (and we won’t name any particular companies) have become so proficient and professional at selling their products that before they know it, advertisers have signed up to quite expensive products on some rather cagey promises about the level of simplification to implement and use those products, and have got quite expensive vehicles in the garage that they haven’t gotten the capability or license to drive.

So, I think almost, the tech companies have almost done too good a job in some instances.

Darren:

I’m sure that’s true for the salespeople, Stephen, but I’m not sure it’s actually true for the people using these technologies in agencies and in the AdTech companies. Because I have to tell you, every time I see or meet with a group of the techies (let’s call them), they only talk their own language.

And when you talk to agency people that are often interfacing with a client and you bring up something about programmatic, they go, “Well, I have to go and talk to the techies and get back to you.”

I think there’s still quite a significant barrier between the technology group and the marketers. You know, I’m not sure there are as many translators, you called them, as we’d like, or that we need.

Stephen:

Look, and I think you can put the clients into three different camps. There’s one camp, which is probably very small now who really haven’t embraced that high-end digital at all. In the middle, there are those who have embraced it and they’ve started to get tech specialists on board. So, they’ve actually got people within their own ranks who can talk it.

And then there are those who have fully embraced it and either got teams that run things in-house or work in a hybrid way with agency teams to deliver a high-end performance media product.

Darren:

And that’s an important point because I agree with you, that the marketers that are focusing more on high-performance media or performance media, are the ones that have embraced the technology and almost learnt the language or enough of the language that they can converse in that space.

What worries me is that that’s a relatively small group in the whole marketplace and that there’s a large group of marketers that are missing out on the potential opportunities here, because it’s still in the too hard basket.

That the language and the lack of translators being able to communicate in simpler plain English terms of what the benefits actually are, means that there’s still the vast majority of marketers in this market that are turning their backs or stepping away from programmatic.

Stephen:

Yeah, look, in these three camps, if you look at the middle camp, which is those that have begun to embrace it, got people on board, there’s an awful lot of clients that want to go to the next level of delivering a high-performance media product. But when they look at it, they are frustrated by their capacity to do that.

And that as much as anything else is about the quality of the data they have internally within their organisation. Because very often what they suddenly realise is that there is a massive project to organise their own company data, to be able to put that data in the marketing area, into the marketing area and the advertising area, in a way which reflects very specific audiences and contract opportunity.

So, there’s a lot of companies who are in this quite slow and awkward transition to being able to do what they know they want to do, because of their own quite significant internal problems and issues.

And very often when these things are looked at, you’re talking about seven-figure sums to align data internally across sales, customer service, and marketing to have single data sources that are fully integrated where everyone’s using and talking and working with the same data.

Darren:

Yeah, well, it’s really robust first-party customer data.

Stephen:

Yeah, and I think a lot of companies underestimate how long and how much that would take to do in a proper way. And this is where you need CEO and C-suite involvement and buy-in to be able to make these things.

Darren:

Of course, that’s a much bigger enterprise decision than just a marketing decision, to actually move to that.

It is a big issue, isn’t it? The language and the ability to actually navigate, because it’s also holding programmatic back in a number of other areas. And one of them is we mentioned performance media. And when you talk to marketers, they’ll often think of programmatic as either performance media or they’ll think of it as a way of delivering cheap CPMs because you can buy lots of impressions, millions of impressions at relatively low cost. Or they’ll think of it as just tactical and not for brand building.

And yet, in actual fact, programmatic can do more than all those things. It can actually deliver high-quality inventory in environments. It can actually — you pay for that high-quality environment and impression. And also, it can be used for brand building.

And the other thing is, it is not just display-ads and video. It’s going to be television, digital out-of-home. Soon, all media channels will have some type of programmatic ability, won’t they?

Stephen:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, already, it’s quite significant in outdoor. The programmatic opportunities are growing every month.

So, I think probably the biggest issue with delivering against all of those quite broad potential objectives that programmatic can deliver, is the quality of information going in.

Because there are a lot of companies that are using these new areas that are still putting in quite basic target audience data and information that actually isn’t based on the deep customer experience or knowledge, because that’s part of another system, part of a different data system, which has privacy issues around it.

So, there’s a lot of people using quite sophisticated areas of programmatic, putting in quite blunt audience information to try and extract value from it. So, there’s a little bit of a mismatch with what a lot of people are doing, and those are the clients that are in that middle group, who I think are frustrated by wanting to do more but not being able to do more at this point in time.

Darren:

So, let’s go to the second point you made, which is about the gold rush and all the different tech companies that have rushed into programmatic and made their land claims of the various stages. You briefly mentioned that there’s some sort of consolidation or rationalisation happening?

Stephen:

Yeah, it’s interesting. About three years ago, I went to a programmatic conference and I think it was ArtNexus who stood up and they said part of this problem with the fact that only 39 cents in the dollar is being used and goes back to the media provider, is all of these middlemen that have got involved.

And they said we as an industry need to ensure those middlemen are made accountable and that they add value.

Now, ArtNexus being one of the large players, that was very much in their interest. It was an element of self-interest with them.

But I think that the whole PR around the fact that such a small proportion of money actually came back to the media provider, meant that there was an increasing focus on what people did. And it has thinned out enormously.

A lot of people simply have fallen by the wayside because they couldn’t get their product to work because their product didn’t deliver anything in the time they got found out, as much by other tech providers on whom they became reliant, as by marketers or advertising agency people realising.

So, it has thinned out and there are more roles, but everyone within those sub-roles within the programmatic chain has to be more accountable and deliver some form of benefit now to survive.

Darren:

Yeah, except that you’re constantly hearing about there’s a new company with a new platform or a new application that’s going to help you eliminate risk to your brand by verifying the environment that your ad’s going to appear in.

And then there’s someone else that’s come up with a way of detecting ad fraud. For every problem, there seems to be a new solution that’s come along, which is another person largely that’s putting their fingers in the till.

Stephen:

Yeah, and I think a lot of these become more and more addressing sub-segments of programmatic. You are in this category and you need to find exactly the right SSPs for your category that are going to work hardest for you. So, we’ve got this tool or engine that helps find and identify those fully.

So, look, there are people constantly looking at what else they can add to the system to make a dollar from. And everything always has to have a cost-benefit, have a benefit that’s far greater than its cost. And I think if you isolate particular things for particular people, you could normally make a case.

Darren:

Well, I was in London when that big story broke about — was it Lloyds Bank? Well, it’s on the front page of the Times of London: Lloyds Bank runs ads in pornographic and terrorist sites. And so suddenly, brand safety was the big issue.

And then there are all the stories about how ad fraud is the second-largest criminal activity in the world after, I’m not sure if it’s illicit drugs or human slave trafficking, sex trafficking. You hear those huge stories about all those problems and then someone comes along and goes, “I’ve solved it.” They’ve got their hand up waving, “I’ve solved it. Just pay me to plug in another thing into your programmatic stack and it’ll all go away.”

Stephen:

Yeah, look, there were a lot of things that frightened an awful lot of people. And there were so few instances where this happened; people appearing in ISIS videos and you kind of wonder whether it ever actually happened or whether this is just an urban myth with some of these things because no one can quite remember the exact example in many instances of what ran.

But what it is, it’s up to CEOs and it may-

Darren:

And quite rightly.

Stephen:

The marketing person may have got a request to visit the CEO’s office … had gone there wondering what he’s done wrong and had to assure the CEO that these brand safety measures — and brand safety is a term that’s only been introduced in the last five years.

Darren:

Exactly, but that’s what I’m saying. It’s almost like if you were a conspiracy theorist, you would say that the AdTech companies actually come up with the problems so they can then sell you the solution, in some ways.

Every time ad fraud, brand safety, a lack of transparency, where the money’s going — I mean, even this year, we had the report from ISBA and PwC, which God help them. Doing a manual labour-intensive audit of a programmatic supply chain; what a nightmare. Because we’re talking about billions of transactions.

Stephen:

And they wonder why there was an awful lot they couldn’t find out through a lack of cooperation. Look, the only way, and there are systems-

Darren:

It took two years for something that was going to take three to six months.

Stephen:

The only way you’re ever going to get transparency across the digital supply chain is with automation that is included on everything that a buyer touches on the way through. And that will provide complete transparency. And there are systems now that can do that.

So, we’re at a stage now of breaking through and there is a genuine opportunity for supply chain transparency. So, I think all of the fears around that have the potential to be allayed.

Darren:

Well, yeah, especially when they really were only looking at the shallow end of the pool in some ways, because they were only looking at the transactions that they could actually audit. And so, a lot was put into the too hard basket. Almost like auditing private markets rather than the open platform — I know they did some open programmatic.

Stephen:

Their results were that about 50% of the money went back to the media provider and 50%, they could find no trace of whatsoever, which is actually 30% of the 50%.

Darren:

Yeah, of the cost of the-

Stephen:

So, a third of the cost was lost to someone that was completely untraceable. So, there was an awful lot of ticket clipping on the way through that they could find … that no one was owning up to. This was an auditing process with cooperation from clients and from providers all the way through.

Darren:

Now, we will get onto your subterranean River of Gold. So, the way that the agency saw this as a big opportunity in the early days. But what we’ve got to remember here is that we’re talking about, in most cases, from the DSP to the SSP. And this is where the money was lost.

And yet the agency sits on one side of the DSP on behalf of the client. Sometimes they own the DSP, but largely they are contracting them. And then the other side of the SSP is the publisher. So, just in that bit … when we talk about transparency, a lot of the conversation is about the agency being transparent, but this is actually the supply chain being transparent, isn’t it?

Stephen:

Yeah, there’s an area in the middle where there’s an awful lot of people who are touching a trade, a buy that both the seller and the buyer would have absolutely no record of, and no one has specifically identified these parties as needing to have a role.

But they are just part of this process that takes place where the digital buyer gets bounced around amongst a number of these middlemen.

And very often, it can get bounced around 10 times in that middle area. And you have to question whether all of those bounces around and all of those companies that are clipping the ticket and taking a small amount of money on the way through are actually adding any value because almost certainly they aren’t all adding value.

Darren:

Yeah. So, what we really need is — and you’ve said that it’s available, is a way of seeing who’s clipping the ticket. And if they’re not adding value, then taking them out of the equation as quickly as possible would be a way of just accelerating what’s already happened, which is this consolidation anyway.

The ideal world is the DSP and the SSP, and maybe the ad exchange is all that’s needed, but there are a lot more players in there than that, aren’t there?

Stephen:

Well, if you have visibility over the path and how it’s bouncing around, and you measure performance against every buy, then you can see the paths that deliver the best performance and are the most efficient for you. And then you can work your schedules to redirect more of the funds through those paths that are going to be more efficient for you.

So, having visibility and understanding allows you to control what happens in that middle area. Which at the moment, if you’re not aware of what’s happening, you haven’t got the capacity to control it and optimise it.

Darren:

But there’s also a whole group of the industry, programmatic industry, not the media industry — that’s talking about this ultimate solution which is having a blockchain so that every single transaction has its unique identifier so that every single transaction will be able to be allocated and tracked. But potentially that’s user-wise, isn’t it?

Stephen:

Look, technology isn’t there yet. And potentially, an even bigger problem than the technology is getting buy-in from every party of the industry to adopt a standard system. And you’ve got so many competing parties and all levels in the areas of that digital supply chain, that getting universal agreement on something that provides complete transparency over what they all do, is something that will be enormously difficult to achieve.

I think the only way in which that will ever be achieved is if it’s by the people who provide the funds and fuel the entire industry, the advertiser’s mandate that no one will book anything with any party that doesn’t conform. And again, that’s an awfully big call to get not just the large advertisers, but all of the smaller advertisers as well, globally aligned to do that.

Darren:

Well, we’ve got all those AdTech providers from Google right through — they would all have to actually change their systems to accommodate a unique identifier that is common to the whole ecosystem, to the whole supply chain.

I think we’ve got more chance of getting cross-media measurement before we’ve got a chance of getting a unique trading identifier.

Stephen:

And you’ve got major players in the marketplace here. That would create a far more level playing field of transparency. And you’ve got players in this that really — the large players who are incredibly influential within digital don’t necessarily want a completely level playing field. And don’t necessarily want complete visibility over everything that’s happened.

Their behaviours at the moment would suggest there’s a lot of things they want to keep close to their chest. So, the likelihood of blockchain technology coming in, getting up, being endorsed and implemented by all parties within the industry to provide market-wide visibility and transparency, that’s remote.

There are systems, however, at the moment that are very new, that can provide specific levels of transparency for individual advertisers who opt in to buy that. And because they are funding their activity, can get the rights to have transparency through on the buyers and on the funds they’re putting into the marketplace.

And that sort of system … well, it’s active, it’s up and running now. And that has far more potential to be useful for large advertisers and marketers.

Darren:

Well, rather than waiting until you get a universal system finally agreed and implemented, which may never happen.

Stephen:

There’s a huge debate and a little bit of a fight going on as to what’s going to replace the cookie as an identifier at the moment. And there are all sorts of self-interested parties pushing their own barrel on this. And there’s no agreement on that at this point in time.

Darren:

It’s almost proof that the market doesn’t regulate itself well. Everyone talks about market regulation, but in this case, it’s actually led to complexity and obfuscation rather than the transparency and clarity people need.

Let’s move on to the final point because the last — The Rivers of Gold, the last time that was used was for the newspapers classified section. But now, you’re calling it subterranean. So, it’s below the surface.

Stephen:

I drew this analogy because it was a new revenue opportunity for agencies and subterranean because it was hidden from view. And it was something that the agencies kept discreet and the clients had no visibility over.

There are a few reasons why clients had no visibility over and P&G, one of the world’s largest advertisers discovered in 2017; they suddenly realised they had no idea how much their agencies globally made from this whole new area. So, even the largest advertisers in the world were in the same situation as your everyday advertiser here in Australia.

Darren:

Well, I remember at the time, the agencies were saying that to invest in this area of programmatic was a significant investment. And so, the holding companies were saying, “Well, we’ll invest to build a programmatic capability and then our different agency brands will be able to use it.” That was their justification for setting up programmatic specialist companies.

But there was actually a more insidious reason than just having the consolidated investment in one area, wasn’t there?

Stephen:

Look, I think agencies got badly beaten up in the press over this when everything came to light.

They were seen as being underhand in terms of the secret commissions and high-margins they made. This was brought about because clients and procurement clients pushed so hard and there was this race to the bottom and everyone had to basically drop their pants (excuse the analogy) — drop their pants on remuneration.

So, the agency’s hands were forced to an extent because they had to labour profitability. And suddenly, this new area came up where they could make more money and clients were really none the wiser.

So, they happily agreed to very, very low transparent remuneration terms on the basis that we are going to get digital activity, particularly in the programmatic area and be able to make profit and money that way. Some of them then took it a little too far, they kind of got hooked on the drug, if you like, it was the-

Darren:

There was one year when the holding companies all had record profits and everyone was going, “It must be the programmatic media.” After a fairly average performance, suddenly there was this peak — I think it was around 2014, 2015.

Stephen:

Well, until P&G and the ANA exposé in the States, it was all going under the carpet, the subterranean Rivers of Gold were flowing nicely. And it was only when a sort of hole in the rock ceiling appeared and everyone saw the Rivers of Gold flowing-

Darren:

Medal from MediaCom, yeah, the whistleblower.

Stephen:

And things became more complex for them. And then a lot of the multinational media companies actually structured their business, they had bought into the middlemen supply chains and bought shares in some of those companies that were taking a clip on the way through. And had structured their entire companies around the separation of the trading desk and began to do these things with no visibility on what they were doing for the clients.

And so, it was quite difficult to unwind. For some of them, who had agreed to very, very low transparent terms, they were suddenly not going to be making money on the digital. So they, in theory, to make the same sort of money, they’d have to go back and revisit transparent remuneration terms, not an easy thing to do.

Go and say, “Well, we’re not going to make as much money here on the digital side, so we want to put up the fee by 15% next year because we’re not making that 15%.” You can’t have those conversations.

So, a lot of them were left in quite a precarious situation, which is why it took some of them a little longer than others to come to the table. I have to say now, I think all of the agency groups are now operating in a far more transparent way.

Some have very, very transparent contractual terms to which they’ll happily agree. And I think that problem has worked itself through. The agencies got beaten up and very much maligned because of what happened. And they were to blame in varying degrees, but the middlemen escaped any of the wrath of the industry.

Darren:

And Stephen, I think that’s one of the things that everyone focused on the agencies, but no one was really focusing on the AdTech providers that have actually created that supply chain. And the agencies, to your point, yeah, they had some influence, of course, they have some influence. But ultimately, they have no way of demanding that people do what they need them to do.

Stephen:

Well, the agencies were an easy target because they were beholden to the advertisers. If they had contracts and the contracts weren’t transparent, the advertisers were saying, “Well I want now to have transparency, you need to tell me what you’re making.”

The middlemen, nobody even knew because there was no transparency on who was being used in the middle of that digital supply chain. No one even knew who to address or who to talk to. It was, and until recently, has been a black art of sorts, and even the PwC report last year, which was running 2019 into 2020, still couldn’t identify 30% of the amount that was lost.

Darren:

Yeah, let’s just recap things. So, as far as the technology goes and the way they communicate, there’s big improvements there and the industry is now talking more in plain English and talking about benefits rather than trying to sell technology.

The second area was the complexity. You’re seeing that simplifying, but you’re also seeing huge and significant innovations to bring around transparency from end to end. In fact, you’ve mentioned that there’s a platform available that will provide that.

And then thirdly, you’re largely saying that most of the agencies now have come to the party and either divested themselves or moved back into a position where they’re providing transparency and are now acting in the best interest of their client. Is that a reasonable summation of where we’re at today with programmatic?

Stephen:

Spot on, Darren.

Darren:

So, here’s the question; why is it that many Australian marketers are still either too scared or put off programmatic to actually wade into that area when there is so much opportunity for them to invest in that area?

Stephen:

I think the problem now is what I talked about earlier, which is there’s a lot of clients in that middle area who would love to do more but haven’t got their own data to a sufficient level of detail and to sufficient quality, to properly capitalise on the programmatic and digital area.

So, they haven’t yet aligned their data internally, they haven’t yet got their own DMP. They’re not yet capable of putting really high-quality customer-based data into the marketplace. So, that is probably the biggest element and factor that’s stalling digital and programmatic growth at this point in time.

Darren:

Okay. Look, I’ve just noticed the time and it’s been a terrific conversation, but we’ve got to wrap it up. Thanks, Stephen, for sharing your experiences from programmatic media and now back at Trinity P3. I haven’t said this before, but welcome back.

Stephen:

Thanks, Darren, it’s good to be back.

Darren:

One last question, if it was your money, would you put it into programmatic media?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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