Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Programmatic Stars: Liting Spalding, Havas Media Group

Liting Spalding is Head of Audience Planning & Programmatic at Havas Media Group. She joined Havas in 2019 from Mindshare where she held a number of senior programmatic roles.

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

The biggest opportunity lies in elevating programmatic from a single channel into an integrated solution across the rest of digital and wider media. There is a lot work to be done, so this will certainly go beyond 2021.

However, it’s very exciting to see that a lot of brands are already looking at digital as a dynamic space and really injecting this approach into planning to deliver truly meaningful results.

I also expect a big focus on addressable audiences within digital / programmatic and TV. There is a lot that modern marketeers could learn from the old TV days about establishing a truly one-to-one relationship with consumers and audiences.

Bridging the gap between programmatic, modern TV and traditional TV advertising from an audience planning, activation and measurement perspective, together with the advancement of technology, is a really interesting space to watch.

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

Our biggest challenge is to leverage the rapid pace of change in technology and policies. We, as agencies, need to ensure our approach is future-proofed (as much as possible of course), that we have a consistent but agile approach to product development, and that we encourage organic competition within the digital ecosystem.

We must have a mid and long-term vision, developed in partnership with our clients, for the coming one, three and five years.

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

I’m excited about TV becoming part of programmatic / digital, connecting online and offline audience planning and performance measurement. This is the top of the list, followed by the creation of a robust framework on brand suitability, and meaningful insights within programmatic.  

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

In a nutshell, as there are many things I love about my role, it empowers me to make effective and efficient changes to the business, the team and the industry. It’s great to have access to vast resources and support, as well as being able to identify opportunities and turn them into outcomes as promptly as possible.

What is your proudest achievement in programmatic?

I’m beginning to find my life purpose through marketing, something that I don’t say lightly. It’s about the opportunity to drive business outcomes whilst doing the right thing, and recognising the values and purpose we share with our clients and partners.

I have an exceptional team, wonderful colleagues, and a supportive network to make positive changes. This is only the beginning of a journey towards responsible and sustainable marketing. We have a long way to go, but it’s never too late to start making these changes.  

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

It’s no longer a role that’s just for an experienced technical specialist. It now requires a programmatic skillset with a non-programmatic mindset.

A good programmatic head should be a mentor for their team, a strong communicator, an innovator, a quick learner, a people person, a doer who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, and a leader who is committed to turning great ideas into action.