"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Erin Madorsky, Managing Director, MiQ
By its very nature, the ad-tech industry has always put a premium on innovation, newness and progress. Modernizing and advancing technological solutions are inherently part of our DNA. Automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence are widely applauded developments born of a desire for more speed, more scale and more effectiveness.
But amid this push for progress, has the emphasis and value placed on tech come at the expense of the talent actually managing it? Have we deprioritized human capital so much that they’re now opting out of the equation altogether? And have historical associations with “managed services” played a role in this conundrum?
When programmatic technology first emerged, it offered an enticing self-service option for ownership over one’s media transactions. It began to displace ad networks, which were sometimes bogged down by bad actors, fraudulent tactics and inappropriate ad adjacencies.
As the need for transparency and quality control intensified, self-service innovation became the answer. This trend caused managed-service networks to be viewed as comparatively antiquated and slow, providing questionable quality and a lack of transparency.
Flash forward 20 years, and while much of today’s advertising industry leverages both programmatic tech and some form of managed service, an unfair stigma remains for the latter. Perceiving managed service with the decades-old characterization as “low tech” couldn’t be further from the truth, just as it would be inaccurate to associate all aspects of self-service with high quality and transparency.
In addition, pressure to maximize return on digital investments has put managed service at further risk. Can the industry prevail with such low regard for service? I don’t think it can.
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