Keith Grossman talks ad tech at Digiday Programmatic Summit

As Bloomberg Media Head of U.S. Sales Keith Grossman observed at last month’s ClickZ Live conference, no one is a digital expert – digital transcends all platforms.

That might be especially true in the world of ad tech. As traditional marketing functions have merged with traditional IT functions, a new  landscape has emerged: technology and software generate data and analysis capabilities that help marketers find customers and understand their needs.

The rapidly-changing state of that technology – and the wide-open future it’s powering – was in focus at this week’s Digiday Programmatic Summit in New Orleans, where Grossman joined Digiday Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey and Hearst VP of Programmatic Sales & Strategy Julie Clark for a conversation on how publishers are using high-quality data to help brands connect with specific audiences.

No one is a digital expert. Digital transcends all platforms. – Keith Grossman

In many ways, Grossman said, the industry is just getting started with showing what technology and data can do. As tools and capabilities grow, that in turn has widened the field of players: Facebook and Google may be the most high-profile, but consulting firms, telecoms and IT shops are also emerging as potential partners for brand marketers.

“The reality of marketing is less extreme than it often sounds,” said Grossman. “People like to say, ‘this is dead, that is dead,’ but actually, exceptions are celebrated, and trends and scalable implementation follow.” For brands, building innovative, successful strategies has never been so full of possibility – or so complex.

For both publishers and brands, it can pay off to be a fast-follower rather than a first-mover – learning from industry experimentation and taking advantage of more mature technologies. “In the case of programmatic,” Grossman observed, “right now the industry is really beginning to define itself. At Bloomberg Media, we were able to test and observe in year one so that we ultimately could develop a structure that would lead us to long term success.”

Most organizations really need to focus on ensuring the right piping and support is in place. – Keith Grossman

Getting that structure right is vitally important – and depends on a true understanding and appreciation for the underlying technology.  “Everyone focuses on the sales team,” Grossman said, “and sales is the most visible aspect of the organization. But at Bloomberg we have one sales team that sells five different platforms, and smart sellers can sell both direct and programmatically.”

“Where most organizations really need to focus on is on Ad Ops and ensuring that the right piping and support is in place to implement programmatic transactions,” Grossman added. “This is where we have been spending a considerable amount of our time and attention.”

Read next:

– Three insights on publishing and video from Bloomberg Media COO Jacki Kelley
– Bloomberg Media CEO Justin B. Smith dissects shifting media landscape at DLDnyc

– Jen Robinson | May 25, 2016