Over 1,200 of the Digital Industry’s thought leaders and decision makers assembled in Palm Springs, February 11-13, to discuss the current state of Marketing, Media, Data, and Consumerism. There was an overlaying focus on the expanding Direct to Consumer (DTC/D2C) economy and what it takes to build a successful brand in today’s increasingly cluttered environment. How does an advertiser capture focus, much less create engagement and loyalty in a landscape, that by design, vies for attention with ever-increasing persistence? Targetability and data proliferation have created a bit of a quagmire—if every brand has the ability to customize delivery to their target audiences based on interests, demo, device type, behaviors, etc. it becomes the norm, so how can your marketing message continue to motivate?

As I see it, this surplus of laser-focus has resulted in a spoiled consumer that expects customization and immediately notices when a message is off base. Most consumers, Millennials in particular, are savvy enough to be aware of the many ways they’re being advertised to and have grown cynical of the experience. In a world of Alexa, Siri and Amazon Prime, it’s harder and harder to impress but easier than ever to disappoint. Brand affinity can still exist but true loyalty is difficult to achieve. This conundrum was addressed by new IAB Chairman, Scott Schiller from NBC Universal, who stated that we must first ask brands and advertisers what they want, and then it’s the media industry’s job to deliver the innovation that will push the needle forward.

Day 2 of the conference was not without a little turbulence. The first waves were made when Keith Weed, CMO/CCO at Unilever—following P&G’s lead from last year—hinted that a decision might be made to pull money from digital because of a lack of transparency across the digital supply chain (Digital Remedy response). To be fair, Weed left the door open by adding that he believes the industry can make the needed changes. Then during an OTT Video discussion, the folks with a stake in OTT/CTV supply were singing the praises of the format, which is certainly in higher demand than ever before, while members of the buying side questioned the merits of its engagement metrics and mentioned fraud concerns. Voices were instantly raised, and neither side could convince the other that they were seeing the picture correctly. The session ended without resolution; a perfect display of the conflicting viewpoints causing friction across our industry.

From my vantage point, and colored by the lens of working at Digital Remedy, while P&G and Unilever’s concerns are valid with regard to a lacking consensus across the industry, I’d argue that solutions for transparency, proper attribution and brand safety DO exist. Brands and advertisers just need to align on what their standard is. Digital Remedy, being truly agnostic when it comes to measurement, safety and attribution, is familiar with all the players who are trying to make sense of our Lumascape, which still looks like a Where’s Waldo page, even after a 2017 that was highlighted by consolidation. Is Viewability what matters to you? Fraud? Brand Safety? Audience Guarantees? There are literally dozens of accredited vendors who can certify your campaign against any of these metrics. It’s not fair for Unilever, as a major influencer, to complain about the “swamp” and then just wait for it to be drained. GroupM at least had an answer when they released their incredibly strict standards. They identified a problem, then dictated the exact standards that would “fix it” by their criteria.

My perspective is that, until there’s industry consensus on a silver bullet, the non-buying side of industry, including Digital Remedy, must take a listen-first, ears-forward approach and let our clients tell us what makes them comfortable. Let everyone create their own GroupM type criteria—we welcome it. There is no one size fits all approach, we need to listen to the many and customize solutions for each. Digital Remedy is uniquely able to take this agnostic approach not just in theory but also in execution since we’ve created the partnerships and have the expertise and head-count to put them into practice. We can’t drain the swamp for everyone, but we have the airboats, mosquito repellent, machetes, and cold beverages available to make sure that everybody we work with enjoys their trip to the Everglades.

IP Zone: Leverage the relationship between users and the location of their IP addresses in a cookie-free, safe and scalable way.

Behavioral: Combine first party with network analytics and enormous scale to define custom audience channels that are optimized to sites with high brand engagement.

Demographic: Reach the right audience based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and income.

Mobile Device: Target users by mobile device type (Smartphone, tablet, etc.), carrier and operating system.

Geo-Location: Target your audience residential cluster, proximity to retail locations, campaign level DMAs and more.

Contextual: Place a relevant ad in front of a user who is reading content that contains specific terms.

Buying Power and Quality

Let’s be honest. Your ad ops are limited by your access to only a handful of channels and DSPs. You want more reach and better prices, but don’t want to sacrifice quality in order to achieve those goals. Digital Remedy has access to a vast multitude of channels based on relationships we’ve cultivated over nearly 20 years in business. That means we get the best prices, have personal relationships, and don’t get sent to voicemail when we call.

It also means that we can execute omni-channel ad ops for better prices than an internal team, while ensuring the quality is up to industry standards. On top of access to all sorts of specific audiences we’re able to to leverage first- and third-party data across all your campaigns and pivot across platforms based on results. Any campaign, any budget, any platform, any audience. Digital Remedy backed by AdReady is restriction free ad ops….and what could be better than that?

Resources, Time, and Overhead

When was the last time you enjoyed balancing budgets, reading resumes, dealing with aggressive sales teams, or wasting years of time for small gains in performance. By partnering with Digital Remedy you get the full support of $30m in OPEX including marketing teams, sales teams, and a dedicated 24/7 ad operations team. No hiring new employees for media optimization, business development, or account management. No months of training and on-boarding. No long meetings crafting sales materials. Just your team focused on making deals, and our teams and tech focused on supporting and executing those deals in a tech-enabled, digital ecosystem designed to get the most out of any KPI.

Reporting and Support

How nice would it be to have all of your data and insights in one location. We don’t mean an excel sheet sent out once a week with complicated charts, or an XML file with pages and pages and pages of tables (what is this, 2003?). We mean a fully customizable dashboard reporting in real time, or as real time as possible. You get to decide the how, what, and when of the reporting you’re seeing. And that’s ALL of the how, what, and when’s. If you want to see breakouts of all of the individual campaigns in your system, done. If you want broad scope comparisons of all of the campaigns in the last year, done. If you want to see CTR’s for specific audiences and compare them to CPM for your best performing advertiser but limit the scope to campaigns greater than 30k, done. All of this is at your fingertips with the AdReady Dashboard, all in one place.

Jessica Cortapasso

With more than a decade of experience in human capital management, Jessica Cortapasso serves as VP of Human Resources at Digital Remedy. After graduating from Muhlenberg College, she quickly recognized her passion for people and entered the workforce in Human Resources where she gained expertise in employee relations, designing strategic benefit plans, and the development, implementation, and curation of corporate engagement initiatives for big-name brands and small companies alike. Becoming a member of the Digital Remedy family in 2013 while simultaneously acquiring her Masters Degree in Human Resources Management and Development from New York University, Jessica has steered company culture through significant events ranging from acquisitions and a rebranding, to the development and application of our Core Values that shape our daily business practices. Cortapasso resides in Brooklyn, plays competitive volleyball, and loves spending time with her nieces.