Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Celebrating Women in Programmatic: Michelle Vint, Co-Founder, Regital

The Women In Programmatic Network was set up to represent women in the programmatic industry. To celebrate its work and its members, NDA is running a series of interviews with its members. Next up is Michelle Vint, Co-Founder, Regital.

Why did you join the Women in Programmatic network and what do you hope to get out of it?

There aren’t enough women working in senior programmatic positions. It’s that simple. I want to hear more women’s voices talking about the issues that affect the whole industry. It’s a young sector compared to most, so it is still evolving, and while it’s very accommodating we don’t hear from our peers enough.

There’s more and more diversity coming on-board, which is great to see, but it’s fair to say it is pretty London-centric at the moment. I’m really keen to play a role in promoting the network in the North of the UK.

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities for women in the programmatic industry today?

The challenge is the same as the opportunity. Being part of the high level conversations that are moulding the direction of travel of the digital advertising landscape. The industry is going through a period of change the likes which none of us have ever seen.

With that in mind, we need to hear from fresh voices, with new perspectives. The world’s biggest tech companies don’t have the answers to what is coming next. Why should we listen to old heads when there is a new movement being sculpted by all of us.

It really is our future to make at the moment. There has never been a better time to be heard.

What does the industry need to do to champion women in the programmatic industry better?

There needs to be more women in senior leadership roles, especially on boards in media and tech companies. It is an ideology and a choice not to have 50% of women in senior roles. We need to see a culture of conscious inclusion where the industry leads, thinks and act with the conscious intent of including everyone.

Lots of companies plan how they’ll hire more diverse staff, but few have a plan to develop and keep them. To keep them, you need an inclusive culture where everyone wants to work together. It’s about much more than targeting or hiring policies. It’s about creating a culture where everyone feels valued every day, and where everyone is heard and able to make an impact in the business while progressing their careers.

On a more practical level and less gender specific, the industry in general could do with exposure to graduates and school leavers, much earlier. As things stand we tend to wait until post-graduation until we engage, but that’s too late. The best talent is hoovered up much earlier in the process, by industries that engage and show career aspiration.

What are the biggest challenges, and opportunities overall for programmatic advertising this year?

Marketing and media is changing faster than most sectors. For twenty years third-party cookies have been the backbone of digital advertising. When they go, things will never be the same again. That isn’t something we need to be scared of, but it will mean different tactics and methods of working will be needed.

We’re already seeing huge swathes of opportunities in the privacy-first web. Smart marketers and brands aren’t waiting until Google pulls the plug. Cookies are going because people don’t like them. For me 2022 has to be about the industry becoming privacy-first

A privacy-first web will look very different for the programmatic industry. It needs to be built on trust, and better data. The use of cookies led to a reliance on data without question. They created a somewhat perverse behaviour that does not necessarily serve advertisers’ interests.

Data was counted rather than interpreted, and ‘performance’ became the only thing that mattered. Moving forward, data will become more important than ever. Marketers will be interested in incremental growth, improving market share, unlocking new audiences, and understanding how their advertising channels are working together. To understand these things, dynamic data sources that take a broad view are required.

With more screens being traded programmatically, it’s a hugely exciting time for the industry. 2021 was a bit of a breakout year for programmatic digital OOH and I’m expecting to see increasingly more inventory available in CTV. As an industry, we’re ready with TV, but there’s still a few operational barriers, which when removed will be a game charger for how TV is bought moving forward.

What is your biggest achievement in programmatic to date?

I’d have to say launching the first programmatic specialist seller outside London.

No one batted an eyelid as the opportunity beyond the M25 wasn’t really there. We didn’t even know if it was there, if I’m being honest. It sounds funny looking back now a decade down the line, but we essentially helped to create the programmatic market in the regions.

That’s why I’m looking forward to help TWIPN build things in the north. I’ve seen first hand the talent in the regional market, and I’m determined to make it flourish.