Havas Media Needs To Automate Says Rob Griffin

rob-griffinBy folding MPG and Media Contacts into Havas Media Group, Havas has created what it believes will be a better, integrated approach to addressing client needs.  So says Havas Media EVP of Product Development Rob Griffin who also admits that internally the agencies had become too decentralized and “siloed” into specialized business units.

Griffin believes his agency’s changes echo the need for a global strategy for clients and adds, “We’re putting centralized resources against their business and we’re going to market with a unified plan for marketing communications, media planning and buying.  This includes what tracking tools will be used, what demand-side platforms and data management platforms are going to be used and so on.”

If it sounds like Griffin is on the trail of better attribution models, that seems to be the idea. He says that in addition to a centralized agency services approach, a centralized platform should follow: “If you don’t have a universal platform to build, track and run everything through, then inefficiency enters for advertisers, agencies and even our partners. We need to automate. We’ve got to be lean and mean – and then focus on adding strategic value.”

AdExchanger spoke to Griffin about the changes at Havas and where programmatic media may fit in.

AdExchanger:  So, are you all headed toward a programmatic future? 

ROB GRIFFIN:  Having all the media integrated as everything is becoming digitized  – that’s my vision of the future.   Everything is going to be bought programmatically, however not everything’s going to be using an algorithm and a demand-side platform (DSP).

We’ll still do our upfronts, which will be online and offline, and through strategic publishers.  Then, a group such as a trading desk will get handed a purchase order and they’ll have the technology infrastructure in place to enable paperless media planning.

From research to planning, to giving clients recommendations, to executing an upfront buy where it’s a fixed price, to the ad server and trafficking  – all of that becomes automated. The same happens with the billing, too – but it’s all a fixed price and that’s that.

How much of the media you buy today is programmatic and how do you see that growing in the next year or two?

We can’t disclose exact figures, but I can see it exponentially growing. For example, it has been remarkable to watch the mobile programmatic business.  The space has clearly learned from what happened in the traditional Web that resulted in the creation of the ad network and ad server. Linking the two of them with the inventory could have eliminated the need for a DSP in the traditional Web.  The mobile display Web “slingshot” right past the traditional Web –  you don’t see a ton of mobile networks per se.  Mobile buying went right to the DSP.

With the changes at Havas, has creative moved closer to the technology and media side of the business?  Even the programmatic media side of the business?

Well, it absolutely has to.  I’ve been at Havas now for 12 years and we talk with clients about site redesigns and different things.  If I’m going to use an ad targeting technology provider, I want them to hook into dynamic creative, which allows us to buy effectively against audience segments.

You’ve got to be relevant and from the creative perspective, ideally, you’re focused on creating an outcome in the consumer’s life. That means having creative and media tied together again – it’s the essence of what we offer our clients. We are breaking down silos that we thought had to be there at one point but now we feel aren’t necessary.  And to deliver good outcomes for clients, programmatic will be mission critical in the equation.

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