I was asked the other day why I opened up an ad agency and quite honestly my answer is that I just got tired of working for media companies. They measure their success based on their own metrics rather than on results, and customers don’t know who or what to believe anymore. A lot of customers have misconceptions about how digital works because they have this rep that they trusted and that rep was told how to pitch a product based on some metric that was given to them by their “corporate VP of digital sales” or whatever. Those are incorrect metrics.
I came from a pretty big organization, and I had a lot of the VPs and people that were supposed to be more educated on digital come to me and ask me questions once they found out that I was IAB certified. Once I became certified I got a lot of pushback because those people felt threatened by me. They thought I was going to come in and take their jobs but honestly, I didn’t want their jobs even though I knew more than they did. Was I looking for a “seat at the table” so to speak? Yes absolutely. That’s why people go to college and get an education so that they can be compensated in some way, shape, or form to move up the corporate ladder.
And the reality is that working for a media company fucking sucks. Unless you are at the top it really does just suck. Being an account executive or a sales manager means that you don’t have any pull or say so in what you are trying to accomplish for a client. You are pretty much just pushed to the side and told “shut up” and “do what you’re told” and “go to your corner”. One of the most fundamental differences in what I want to instill in my ad agency is that I want to train and empower people. I want to surround myself with people way smarter than I am and who knows way more about a specific platform than I do.
Half of the business that we have generated has come strictly from referrals. It’s been amazing because of the talent that we have as an agency. My team is extremely talented and I want them to understand that I want to empower them every day. I always tell them “I’m not saying no. I want you to convince me as to why this is going to work” and it doesn’t take much to convince me honestly. It really comes down to the fact that I opened an ad agency because I got so fucking tired of ad agencies lying to their client about this proprietary bullshit. Everyone is buying from the same exchanges and the same platforms unless they are an ad tech company. They have invested a ton of capital into an actual technology that they own. That is the only thing that would really set you apart as “proprietary”.
Now when it comes to the fact that I feel that I am one of the most intelligent individuals when it comes to programmatic in East Texas… I will own that every. single. day. As a matter of fact, there are two events, one next week in New York and another in San Francisco, the “Who’s-Who” in programmatic will be there. Those are the two places that I need to be if I want to stay on top of this game. This industry moves at such a rapid pace and it’s constantly evolving.
There is so much technology behind programmatic that it’s impossible for you to stay in one platform. That’s why a lot of people don’t like programmatic because they feel like they need to have an understanding of how it works. You can learn it, don’t get me wrong, but it will take you a lot of time to teach yourself. I am not going to take the time to educate a client on how each and every little step to programmatic works because that would take months. That’s why a lot of people fall back on things like Facebook and Google. Those platforms set up free training that is very easy to complete, but programmatic is a little more difficult. It involves the entire ecosystem.
You have to ask yourself how you are going to use programmatic in a way that is going to be not just the vehicle but the engine that will get you to your desired destination. Also, understand that search and social are the driver and the passenger inside of that vehicle. You still have to have someone to direct you to that place. That’s what I was just talking about yesterday.
Media companies and most agencies haven’t figured that out. And they’re not going to because they are stuck in that rut of social or search, or they’re afraid of trying to deliver real results because it will cut into their bottom line profit. I am not worried about that. I am going to make sure that I can generate real results. That’s why I am in business. The only way that I will succeed is if my clients succeed.