“What If We Don’t Get Digital Advertising to Scale”: Eric Picard Thinks That It is Time to Grow Up and Run Agencies Efficiently


A-ha!  A call to action that makes me scream hallelujah!  Eric Picard is the director of advertising strategy and emerging media planning at Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions and wrote “What If We Don’t Get Digital Advertising to Scale? in ClickZ this mering.


 


Eric is reiterating the same set of complaints that he issued in a 2005 article.  Technology is not being properly leveraged to automate the management of online advertising so that we can be efficient!  “Digital advertising, both on the Internet and in traditional media, isn’t scaling. The buy and sell sides (advertisers and publishers) have neglected to get their platforms right in the advertising industry,” Eric Says. 


 


And is he right. 


 


Publisher tools do not effectively enable sellers of media to know what they have to sell and so they are leaving revenue on the table.  Inventory management is antiquated.  Sellers don’t know what is available to sell with respect to what other agents have reserved on their team.  Multiple proposals can’t properly reserve space with supervisory control over allocation the holding of available inventory.  Many of the major publishers are dissatisfied with their current vendors – i.e., everyone knows that AOL has never been happy with the DoubleClick relationship since its inception.


 


Advertiser tools fall short on many, many levels.  I have 20-30 postings on this blog alone that talk about inefficient workflow, the manual tasks of an ad server, the lack of integration with accounting tools, the single-entry steps of creating placements, the incongruence of ad server workflow and agency workflow, the monotony of a trafficker’s job and so on.


 


Managing online advertising is a rabbit hole that you pour money into if you are an agency.  The reason for this, online advertising has no infrastructure at most agencies.  It was never developed on a foundation upon which it could grow properly.


 


“There should be no reason for the vast number of agency or publisher staffers required to handle ad operations. There should be significantly more process automation and many fewer bodies to get the job done.”  Eric argues that out-sourced companies like “…Operative and Ad Operations Interactive exist because ad platforms don’t automate everything they can.”


 


In Maximize your Ad Traffickers’ Value, Re-Evaluate Their Time I argue that “…online advertising operations are comprised of band-aided techniques that have been slapped together over time, never organized or operationalized into an efficient set of procedures that maximize time and resources.”  In that article I present a product that automates the entire media planning, RFP, I/O, creative management, placement scheduling and reporting process.  It’s a self-promoting discussion I know.  TruAdvertiser.xls is a vendor solution that works.  It’s also built on Microsoft Excel which Eric Picard should like!  Maybe that article should have been called “Maximize Your Ad Traffickers Value with a Workflow Tool That Automates Their Job!


 


Anyway, while Eric’s sky is falling position is important.  The fact that he doesn’t even know about a Certified Microsoft Partner like TruEffect, that has a qualified solution to his stated issue is my problem.  But the problem itself is bigger than that.


 


Ad agencies are not addressing their problems of inefficient operations.  They are pushing the problem under the rug.  Well not quite.  They are outsourcing it and “…throwing bodies at the problem, [and having clients] …pay the bills,” as Eric put it.  That is not good business. 


 


Ad agencies should turn around and look at how they conduct their business and manage it better. 


 


Or maybe it is the client who should take the long hard look.  Maybe the client needs to stop and take the time to examine how their agency conducts itself.  Maybe if clients asked questions about how their agencies managed themselves, and their businesses, it would force the agency to look within and take action. 


 


Imagine if a mega-advertise took an audit of its agency’s operation?


 


If I have a $5M budget (small I know) I would want as much of that to go to media and the rest to go to my agencies profit so that they are rewarded.  I would want us both to win.  I would want to know that I am working with a smart partner.  If they manage their business well then I can have confidence that they will manage my business well.  If they take 15% of my budget for their fee and then pile on additional fees for outsourcing services, which they should be capable of handling, I would consider an agency with more competent capabilities.  I would expect an agency that can manage my business holistically, and efficiently.  This is not 2000, its 2007.  It’s time to grow up and run our businesses like it.  Online advertising is no longer new.


 


Reactionary with Insight.

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