What Media Agencies Should Look For In A Tech Partner

What Media Agencies Should Look For In A Tech Partner

In this opinion piece, Damien Thomson (pictured below), country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Sizmek, provides some words of wisdom for media agencies in search of a quality technology partner.

Daniel Thomson

 Working in ad tech is akin to running a marathon – sooner or later you will hit the wall. After 10 years working in digital media and advertising, hitting the wall translated to a move to lead an independent media agency in Sydney.

I look back fondly on my time in agency land. As the great cricket identity Bill Lawry would describe it – the drama, the tension, the atmosphere, the buzz – “It’s all happening”. But there are three things I learned during this period.

Firstly, how uncool I am as a 40-something working in the digital media industry (a lesson I’m sure my daughters will remind me of later in life).

Secondly, how to speak Millennial. See lesson one if you try to actually do this as a 40-something working in the digital media industry.

Finally, how a good technology partner can make a huge difference in both the efficiency and effectiveness, and as a result the bottom line, for an agency.

In my experience, there are three areas that a media agency should focus on when selecting technology partners, each of which are guaranteed to result in better performance for their clients, improved team morale and a more profitable business.

Reliability to deliver

Reliability doesn’t just mean your account manager turning up on time for your next lunch. Reliability must exist across all areas of their business, including technology, data, support, and performance.

This is especially vital in digital advertising, where the technology stack must be secure, accessible, flexible and scalable. Data should be collected, stored and used to drive performance across five key data attributes: campaign, consumers, context, creative, and cost. You also need to invest in tech that allows you to future-proof your business as requirements change.

Local support can impact the way an agency adopts technology. Currently, there’s frustration across all levels of the campaign execution process, partly because a single campaign can involve a multitude of vendors and platforms. Support from your tech partner can come via troubleshooting, training or handholding with complex campaign executions. They should also provide detailed campaign insights, industry best practices and product expertise.

A great technology partner is one that not only has the best technology, but one who ensures the technology does what you need it to do and finds quick solutions if any technical issues arise.

Simplicity without compromise

There are plenty of moving parts in the management of digital campaigns, so you don’t need a technology partner adding to that complexity. This is compounded in larger agencies by the number of platforms the operations team needs to manage.

Managing campaigns, setting up conversion pixels or executing media buys need to be fast and intuitive. Imagine the most basic technology implementation: a system to build a media plan, another system for campaign tracking and reporting, and another to setup viewability and verification. If I’m buying through a DSP, I have a way to connect my data sources and then another platform to execute my media buy, and finally, a huge excel sheet to track everything.

Not every agency has the luxury of being able to work with a single partner with an integrated stack, but they should look for a core partner with which all their peripheral systems can easily be integrated to ensure minimal operational costs. Most importantly, this must be achieved without compromising on performance – a challenge when time is inversely related to complexity.

Transparency across the entire journey

Transparency is not a term that has been historically synonymous with the media industry, but transparency does not just relate to shining a light on dubious deals or hidden campaign costs. Transparency also refers to exposing the entire journey of an ad – from creation, to placement, to performance and the discovery of insights.

By demanding greater visibility from their tech partners, agencies get clarity on how media investments impact results. Access to this type of data helps media agencies build powerful recommendation engines to enhance future performance.

With added transparency, comes greater control, which of course ultimately leads to trust.

My second wind

After more than a decade in advertising, I’m convinced that software-based activation systems will transform the ad management process.

An agency needs to rely on the underlying capabilities of the platform to assist with performance – a task made easier through the increasing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). Despite its naysayers, AI will transform a swathe of industries, including advertising operations.

The daily sprint of ad tech is easier to traverse with access to AI-powered insights and recommendations. It gives agencies and advertisers greater control and transparency over performance. That’s ultimately why I moved back into ad tech and joined Sizmek.

With the right technology partner, agencies can focus on what really matters to advertisers – telling a brand story, refining a customer experience, and building a stronger brand.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Ad tech Damien Thomson Media Agencies Sizmek technology partner

Latest News

Creating Efficiencies in the Age of Consumer Privacy
  • Marketing

Creating Efficiencies in the Age of Consumer Privacy

In this opinion piece, Jess Miles, Country Manager ANZ of Integral Ad Science, reflects on the questions surrounding consumer data. The ability to collect consumer data online has revolutionised digital advertising by enabling customised targeting strategies and data collection. This reliance on data has been the cornerstone of many audience targeted strategies enabling marketers to […]


by Kathleen Farmilo

Kathleen Farmilo
Jye Smith Named President Of Vibewire Board
  • Media

Jye Smith Named President Of Vibewire Board

After ten years of board leadership of the young entrepreneurial collective Vibewire, Founder & Co-CEO of Disruptors Co. Gavin Heaton is passing the torch to fellow strategy and creative leader Jye Smith, Founder and Director of branding and design studio DOUBLESTAR CO, who will now take over as Board President.

Australian CDP Lexer Raises $33.5M In Funding
  • Technology

Australian CDP Lexer Raises $33.5M In Funding

Lexer, the Customer Data Platform for brands and retailers, today announced it has raised AU$33.5 million in Series B funding, bringing its total funding to AU$43 million. The round was led by Blackbird Ventures and King River Capital, with Series A investor January Capital also participating. Blackbird’s Rick Baker will join the Lexer board. The […]