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Why programmatic is shaking up agency structures

Why programmatic is shaking up agency structures Agata Smieciuszewski

In this digital age, everything is measurable. Programmatic is power, and it's our responsibility to harness that power in a positive way and identify the impact it's having on our industry. At the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Austin, Texas, Peter Bray, managing director of Alive & Thinking, and Will Clarke, VP of marketing at Poo~Pourri, spoke about how the scenery is changing.

Rather than a traditional TV-first advertising strategy, Bray said the best place to start growing a brand fast and at scale is YouTube. After establishing your brand there, then you can move on to TV and other avenues.

One example of this YouTube-first strategy is Poo~Pourri, which established on online presence on the video platform before selling over 10 million bottles through ads with a potty-mouthed British woman. The marketing strategy there is to continually focus and test mainly on YouTube, with new content and operations launching regularly. The medium is the message, and it's crucial to fully understand the medium you're working with and how your audience interacts with it -- and also how your company interacts with it.

So what's the problem with programmatic? Making many iterations has the end goal of being better, but more resources have to go into the production and planning of multiple versions of everything, creating a "creative crunch." Production needs to be bigger and faster, without losing the magic. This crunch can put a strain on companies that insist on sticking to a traditional agency format because eventually all the middle men will disappear, and all that's left are the makers.

Bray said that companies need to account for the increased production costs in the budget and adjust their expectations. It's also essential to have personnel in-house that can quickly turn over creative.

Controversially, Bray also stated that it's time to reevaluate the need for specific positions within the agency structure, most notably the executive creative director. Campaigns have set start and end dates, which don't fit in with the new high-volume testing environment necessary for programmatic. Job roles will change, Bray said, and the creative cycle has changed so much that the ECD is not needed.

Combining media buying and creative together under one roof can create a streamlined process. Your analytics team should have the skills to communicate with clients and the power to contribute to creative decisions. The way we work will change, and these cross-functional teams are best equipped for the future of the industry.

Agata is a writer, editor, and social media marketer living in Los Angeles. She's a former Associate Editor at iMedia Connection and Social Media Manager and Editor of MMX at Modern Marketing Summit. Before that, she worked in the healthcare,...

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