Q+A with tonight’s Modern Marketing Summit’s Mitch Waters

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Aussie programmatic advertising outfit The Trade Desk is establishing itself as a global player, and ANZ GM Mitch Waters, who’s in Auckland for tonight’s Modern Marketing Summit – Programmatic (sold out!).

He is being accompanied by Stephanie Falomaro (The Trade Desk’s APAC director of agency sales) who is presenting a keynote on The Future of Programmatic in a Connected World.

He agreed to a quick Q+A:

What is the greatest challenge facing marketers today?
The growing complexity of the industry is probably the biggest challenge for marketers. Not long ago the average marketer was focused primarily on developing creative strategies for a few key channels to drive traffic. Today, while still maintaining those traditional marketing efforts, marketers must simultaneously juggle increasingly complex digital strategies and must do so across a growing number of digital platforms and channels – all while proving their performance through the data available in digital. 

What’s your take on the NZ market?
We are finding a substantial divide in the experience of media buyers in New Zealand. Some are very early in their programmatic careers. Others are arguably more advanced than buyers in Australia and the US – particularly with regards to the customisations they build on our platform. Also, I see a lot of innovation coming from publishers and broadcasters in New Zealand, as they’re willing to test new strategies, especially in the Connected TV space.

One thing that makes the New Zealand market both amazing and challenging is its size. As a smaller market, there can be some resistance to change but the beauty is that you only need to change a few hundred people’s minds to transform the entire market. We’ve started to see this happen with programmatic in the past couple of years and our business has grown rapidly as a result. I’m excited to see this effect again, as agencies and media buyers work with other technologies. Given the over-representation of one platform in the market, those that find new partners will see success from the differentiation in their pitches.

If I had to choose just one secret to explain our success it would be the team that we have assembled. We have more than 900 staff across the world today. From a local perspective, I’m certain we wouldn’t have seen so much success in New Zealand without the people we have here.  And it’s because of this carefully selected team that we have such a great culture – one committed to collaborating together to achieve our company goals.

Locally, we are also an engineering-first operation. With more software engineers in our office than sales staff, we are committed to a client-first strategy. We don’t off-shore our development because we want our engineers to hear what our clients want and need to be successful. Our engineering team is in constant discussion with our sales team, so we can shift and adapt our product strategy on a weekly basis based on client priorities.

The future?
The move of consumers to Connected TV is without doubt the most exciting thing that’s happening in media today. The appetite for on-demand services has been unbelievable and it is forcing traditional media companies to reinvent themselves. We’ve been preparing for this moment for years, we are ready to deliver not just what agencies want but what they’re going to need to stay competitive in the near future.

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