Programmatic Stars: James Marriott, Head of Programmatic Media, Expedia

Programmatic Stars has been launched by New Digital Age to celebrate the pioneers, trailblazers and innovators holding the role of Head of Programmatic, one critical to any company today. We want to understand what makes them tick and get their insight on this crucial sector of the digital industry.

What do you love most about your role as Head of Programmatic?

It’s a cliché perhaps but the diversity of topics you are exposed to. With the role sitting at the intersection between marketing, tech & media – no single day is the same and there is always a new opportunity to explore.

What is the biggest opportunity for programmatic over the next year?

Data Management. Specifically, advertisers taking greater ownership of their customer data strategy. By curating a joined up, opted in, first party- view on your brand’s own customers, underpinned by clear consent and customer knowledge of the value exchange.

You stabilise your ability to serve the customer respectfully by delivering relevant ad experiences and drive business outcomes through reporting consistently on media ROI.

What is your proudest achievement in programmatic?

Building our ‘world class’ in house team of specialist programmatic media, data and technology specialists to drive value for Expedia

What are the biggest challenges for programmatic and how will we overcome them?

Digital Identity and the crumbling cookie: Near term by developing a compelling vision as advertisers for people to give consent to sharing their data for marketing purposes and leveraging this first-party identifier appropriately 

Talent: The specialist skillsets required to navigate and extract value from the ecosystem are increasingly hard to find. Education is needed to spread programmatic knowledge across marketing teams and brand investment in ‘centres of excellence’ which enable you to attract and develop specialist talent within your organisation

Waste: Alongside identifying and removing cost inefficiency from the supply media chain. Setting clear thresholds for minimum expectations on campaign health metrics in terms of bot traffic, fraud etc, and enforcing these.

What innovation or technology in programmatic are you most excited about currently?

The broadening base of advertisers starting to talk about incrementality in respect of their media investments – it’s the gold standard! But precious few platforms are building product with this in mind.

How is the role of ‘head of programmatic’ evolving or changing at present?

The role is evolving to require a deeper level of technical and ‘product management’ skills than ever before.

To design and build differentiated tech and reporting capabilities that uniquely benefit our programme and help us achieve our KPIs more efficiently

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