Collective Names Kerry Bianchi CEO As The Ad Tech Overhaul Continues

bianchi-imgCollective promoted its COO Kerry Bianchi to CEO Thursday, as the 12-year-old startup continues to evolve out of the traditional ad network business.

Joe Apprendi, Collective’s founder and now its former CEO, will remain on the board as executive chairman.

Since 2015, Collective has reshaped its business to meet what Bianchi described as the next generation of advertiser demands. “We looked at the landscape, and it certainly did not look like the world needed another DSP, but there was a clear pain point for agencies and marketers who now have to wrangle all their data, dashboard UIs and platforms into something more coherent,” she said.

Last year Collective split into a self-service tech product – which consists largely of the VISTO platform – and a managed service group, which is essentially “the legacy media business people know us for,” said Bianchi.

Bianchi said the managed service media business is profitable and still represents about 80% of company revenue, but that she expects “the pendulum to swing to the other side within a year or two.”

Now Bianchi must navigate between Collective’s managed media business, which is large but declining, and the potential of its tech shop, which brings less capital but requires steep investments.

“As part of becoming the agnostic solution marketers needed from an advertising hub, we got rid of our proprietary DMP and our proprietary bidder,” Bianchi said.

Collective, which sold its UK ad network business to Time Inc. last year, is shunting client budgets and resources to its SaaS platform even as it relies on its US-based ad network. For instance, even though Collective’s two divisions “are set up as absolutely distinct business units,” with no formally overlapping employees aside from Bianchi, there is a productized path between its media and self-service groups.

“We do have clients on a journey,” Bianchi said. “Some may want more transparency but still prefer managed media buys, while others are on that glide path to bringing the tech in-house, where we want to facilitate that in a consultative way before handing off to a self-service relationship.”

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