First Step In Digital Media Strategy Is To Define Non-Guaranteed Goal Says EVP Naylor Of NBC Universal

Peter Naylor of NBC UniversalPeter Naylor is EVP, Digital Media Sales at NBC Universal. Naylor recently answered questions from regarding his thoughts on digital advertising strategy from his publisher-side point-of-view. What is the first, key step in creating a cohesive strategy that aligns your company’s goals for guaranteed and non-guaranteed digital ad inventory?

The first step is to articulate a clear goal for your non-guaranteed inventory. What do you – the publisher – want to do with that slice of your inventory? Not every publisher wants to maximize revenue for every last impression. But, if that’s the goal, the overall sales strategy has to clearly map out how it will be accomplished. This used to be a much simpler exercise – you either ran ad networks or house ads. Today there are more options and publishers are getting more sophisticated.

From your perspective, what is the biggest mistake large media publishers are making in regards to their display advertising strategy?

Your first question really get’s at the issue: too many publishers fail to develop a sales strategy that accounts for every last impression. Addressing uncommitted inventory is an ad hoc exercise for many publishers. Page views grow, sponsorship sales cap out and the organization scrambles to monetize some of the undersold inventory. This haphazard approach has real downside: brand equity loss, downward pricing pressure, sales channel conflict, etc. Start with a holistic sales strategy and act in a thoughtful, deliberate manner in regard to uncommitted inventory.

What’s the big hurdle in monetizing a large publisher’s user data? Privacy risk, technology is complex or isn’t providing a solution, the need for in-house resources, etc?

There are two challenges, inadequate data platforms being the first. Publishers lean pretty heavily on their ad servers for business
solutions. But the dominate ad serving platforms weren’t designed to facilitate data access, collection, segmentation and sales. So, publishers have to build or buy solutions. Publishers aren’t great at building technology and there aren’t many appealing solutions on the market. So we wait. Data sales is the other obstacle. The notion of “decoupling” the data point and impression may have been useful in rationalizing the data exchange business model but it isn’t a useful model for publishers in their own data sales. Publishers are in the business of selling ads and data sales must complement that.

How do you see the skillset of the digital, direct seller evolving in the next 3-5 years?

The sales job inside a publishing company is changing a lot right now. Today sellers need to excel at consultative, creative, high-touch sales to move big sponsorship opportunities. Increasingly, that same sales person must be skilled at weaving sophisticated audience targeting solutions into the conversation with agencies and marketers.

If there was one tool you could have today, what would it be?

An ad server that is equally adept at managing guaranteed inventory as it is at maximizing yield from all other demand sources while serving as a sophisticated data collection and targeting platform.

By John Ebbert

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1 Comment

  1. Very well said. I believe publishers also need to evaluate advertiser technology (ie DSP/RTB) and the best placement in their yield curve to enable these technologies, along with the appropriate set of policies/restrictions.