Burt CEO Von Sydow On Creative, Media, The Marketer – And Its New Ad Software Play – Rich

Ad software company, Burt, recently announced a free version of Rich, Burt’s new analytics tool for marketers and creative agencies. AdExchanger.com spoke with advertising software company CEO Gustav Von Sydow (AdExchanger.com Q&A) on current challenges for creatives in the space as well as his company’s new product.

Rich By BurtAdExchanger.com: How are creative agencies adapting to the use of technology in advertising in your view?

The short answer is that in our experience, getting good agencies onboard with products that allows them to deliver better work, in time and on budget is usually no problem whatsoever.

The longer answer is that advertising has always been about adapting to new technologies and formats. Some agencies move a little bit faster than others, but eventually everyone will use whatever technologies and formats that have proven to be effective and reliable.

Historically, creative agencies have steered clear of too much in-house production, but now we see how several of the most creative agencies (defined as those winning the most awards) have quite a few talented tech people on staff. This is very interesting shift that might suggest that agencies will embrace new technology faster moving forward.

Obviously, at Burt we believe that there’s a huge potential to match this shift with products that makes it even easier for creative agencies to leverage digital technology and understand the media better.

What is the problem that creative agencies are having today that Rich solves?

We used to think that Rich was going to be all about providing better functionality – clever metrics, heat maps, APIs etc. But based on user feedback, we’ve come to realize that an improved feature set isn’t the most critical dimension to build customer value. The way to improve – at least in the short term – is to provide better usability and accessibility.

So the first problem we solve right now is that information isn’t getting distributed to copywriters, art directors etc. These are the people *making* the ads that are supposed to learn and improve, but since nothing reaches them, nothing happens.

The second issue is that when someone actually get a report, they don’t understand it. What does it all mean? Which ads were shown? Reports don’t tell a story, but they should. Rich is not quite there yet, but it’s a big leap in the right direction.

Do you think Media is starting to get “a bigger seat at the table” with the Brand Marketer? Is the Creative losing ground?

Yes and no.

On one hand, ever increasing media fragmentization drives the need for media specialists… but on the other hand biddable placements combined with 3rd party data might simplify media buying to the extent that media agencies are disrupted. Of course this is only happening in search and display ads so far, but it’s not far fetched that the same model will be applied to other channels as well.

Either way, Creative is more relevant than ever. If we are in fact being exposed to +3000 commercial messages per day (who came up with that number btw?) the problem isn’t reaching people, it’s getting their attention and making it stick. The difference between average and great ads can be as much as a 10x boost.

But doing great creative is not easy, and it doesn’t help that the industry hasn’t really harnessed the idea of systematic continuous improvement. Hopefully Rich will help push things in the right direction by giving agencies and advertisers access a simple tool that just works.

Follow Gustav von Sydow (@vonsydow), Burt (@BurtCorp) and AdExchanger.com (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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