“Data-driven thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas about the digital revolution in the media.
Today’s column is written by Erin Madorsky, CEO, MiQ
The ad-tech industry has, by its very nature, always put a premium on innovation, novelty and progress. Modernization and development of technological solutions are inherently part of our DNA. Automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are a major endorsement of development, born of a desire for more speed, greater scale, and more efficiency.
But in the midst of this push for progress, has the weight and value of technology come at the expense of the talent that actually manages it? Have we depreciated human capital so much that they are now completely opting out of the equation? And have historical associations with “managed services” played a role in this problem?
When programmatic technology first emerged, it offered a tempting self-service option for ownership of one’s media transactions. It began to displace ad networks, which were sometimes downplayed by bad actors, fraudulent tactics, and inappropriate ads.
As the need for transparency and quality control intensified, self-service innovation became the answer. This trend caused managed-service networks to be considered relatively outdated and slow, resulting in questionable quality and a lack of transparency.
Flash forward 20 years, and although much of today’s advertising industry utilizes both programmatic technology and some form of managed service, there is still an unfair stigma for the latter. Perception of managed service with the decades-old characterization as “low tech” could not be further from the truth, just as it would be inaccurate to link all aspects of self-service with high quality and transparency.
In addition, the pressure to maximize the return on digital investment has put additional risk to managed service. Can the industry win with such low respect for service? I do not think it can. & # xD;
As overall ad markets return, eMarketer predicts that digital advertising spending will increase by 20.4% by 2021, reaching $ 455.30 billion by the end of the year. The ability to meet the growing demand requires skilled talents, which today are increasingly limited by what some consider an all-out hiring crisis.
At the macro level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 10.1 million job openings across the country in June, surpassing the number of unemployed. Closer to home, Campaign recently noted that top agencies like FCB, McCann and others have more than 100 openings each in early August. Clearly, the post-pandemic cultural spirit of the time, shifting priorities, and response to burnout are leading many to opt out of their jobs, leaving companies struggling for talent.
Recruiting and retaining the talent needed to plan and activate at the current pace of digital investment will continue to be a challenge. So while there may be an incredible demand for programmatic if it is successfully served by qualified talent, we will not take advantage of the growth, especially when researching against traditional media investments or search and social.
The talent flight itself suggests that service costs and we should be willing to quantify pros and cons. So is there an opportunity to reconsider the value we assign to service and the costs we are willing to pay for it? And does that require us to divert old stigmas and revise the realities of the “managed” service now?
Managed service providers leverage the latest industry technology and bring a level of expertise that facilitates its greatest application. As its core strengths lie between technology and human expertise, managed service providers can help many customers innovate and implement this technology better than they can.
While the potential for sophisticated technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning is undoubtedly valuable, the industry needs to retain the human touch that provides vision, creativity and expertise.
And we should seek more comfort by assigning a price to the value of managed services. After all, we do not live in “Westworld” yet.
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