As leading Digital Media Recruiters, we have fielded concerns over time about Programmatic Ad Buying platforms replacing Digital Media Sellers. These apprehensions were not uncommon just a few years ago. Sales teams had to pilot through new territory, many without the requisite technical knowledge to maximize their sales skills. And the pure “personality-only” Ad Sales professionals were finding it difficult to compete for jobs. Was this going to be yet another situation where technology replaced people?
As Programmatic has evolved, this relationship has become clearer, and more positive for the digital-savvy sellers in Digital Media, Media Technology, Ad Tech, and Media-related SaaS. With the creation of more ad pages with which to fill Programmatic advertising, it has in fact required sellers to satisfy the demand. It has also given Digital Sellers the opportunity to elevate their knowledge of Programmatic and Platform selling.
Last year, as Todd Garland wrote in MediaShift, “Programmatic isn’t a robot looking to replace you, it’s a robotic exoskeleton looking to give you abilities previously unheard of.”
Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP & Chief Revenue Officer at The New York Times, had insight on this subject back in 2013 in a Digiday article. She said, “Publishers need sellers who are as conversant and capable in the technological aspects of putting audiences, media brands and marketers together as they are in developing ideas. The most successful sellers know how and when marketers’ objectives are best served in whole or in part by the machines, and how to leverage machine-based programs into larger premium programmatic partnerships. The stiff competition for savvy sales talent amongst publishers will be matched only by the stiff competition for share of marketers’ dollars.”
We are now at a stage, so soon, where we can look at the “evolution” of a Programmatic Salesperson. Sarah Sluis of AdExchanger writes about how the position has changed over its brief lifetime, and how different organizations are structuring their Sales Departments depending on their Programmatic strategy – a worthwhile read.
As Digital Media and Ad Technology continues to change at the speed of light, to meet consumer demand for real-time consumption of content on any device, anywhere, anytime, the industry will require smart, entrepreneurial, strategic and tech-savvy Digital Sellers with engaging personalities who exude trust and knowledge.