IPG’s Matt Seiler: You Don’t Get To 50% Automation With ‘Old Media’ Thinking

mattIPG Mediabrands’ Global CEO Matt Seiler says the advertising industry thinks too much about media in the context of the individual medium.

“It drives me crazy that the way media is procured is still the way media is procured,” he said during “The Unfolding Strategy and Services Sector” session at Industry Preview 2014, where he took the stage Wednesday with Deloitte Digital Principal Mark Singer and Zach Rodgers, managing editor of AdExchanger.

Seiler, who in 2012 committed to automating 50% of all media buying at IPG within three years, said that “technology, analytics, data and finance all have to be bought in one place to achieve that objective.” The end goal? “Exchanging everything. If your objective is to automate 50% of everything, then programmatic is a significant driver of that.”

At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly unclear which entity “owns” these client services. As media buying becomes increasingly automated, which poses questions about talent, the external competitive landscape is shifting simultaneously. It now includes quasi-competitors like cloud-based enterprise technology companies Salesforce.com or Oracle, each vying for CMO share; companies with services layers like an Adobe, Turn or MediaMath; and management consultancies that mirror marketing-services firms.

“We take a strategy-through-execution approach,” Deloitte’s Singer said. The consulting firm looks at what its clients want to accomplish, how it needs to change from an operations standpoint, and what type of technologies it needs to facilitate this transformation.

“Once the infrastructure is in place, we look at, ‘How does the information we gather make you more effective?’” he said.

The overlap of domains between software companies, media agencies and consultancies can occur in the campaign execution process or “communication” stage, but can ultimately benefit clients, Seiler said.

“I think it’s awesome to have lots of different ways to get to the same result,” was Seiler’s response to consultancies and tech firms planting agency stakes. “Cable TV did so much to make broadcast TV better, so bring on the competition.”

Even the creative side is being affected. While Seiler noted that the media owner still has the greatest creative capabilities, he pointed out the concept of “good creative” is in and of itself changing.

“We think too much of, ‘Is TV creative?’ ‘Are the ads good?’ I think, once upon a time, you’d look at [a brand like] Nike through their TV work.” Now, he said, Nike is showing up as as an “active participant in our lives,” with data-rich products like FuelBand. “Consuming media is a much more personal thing than it used to be” and the advertising message must not be contained to one “medium.”


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