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October 3, 2014 – There are “clear incentives” for agencies to engage with programmatic advertising, leading ad tech leaders have claimed.

Speaking at the Festival of Media LatAm in Miami, Eric Wasserman, co-founder of MediaMath, and Henk Van Nierkerk, senior VP, publishers and DSPs at, argued it is beyond debate that agencies have a role to play in programmatic marketing.

“Every part of the ecosystem needs to have an answer to the question, ‘how does programmatic marketing affect their business?’” said Wasserman.

“Let’s think creatively about how we can create a proposition that brings the best of the agency to the table, activates the many media buying capabilities on behalf of a brand that’s using best-in-class technology to grow its budget over time.

“There’s a triumvirate here: the relationship and roles between technology, brand and agency are changing. The result is better returns for the marketer, which makes everybody happy. Three or four years ago this question was very polarising – I just think the conversation has matured and there are very clear incentives for all constituents in the ecosystem to make marketing more efficient.”

Van Nierkerk agreed, claiming it was a “false question” to suggest that agencies should be afraid of the rise of ad tech companies: “A lot of people ask, are brands going to go direct to publishers, and what happens to trading desks in agencies, but I think it’s a false question.

“They have become smarter about how they use data, they buy in new and interesting ways. There are a multitude of activities they can engage in,” added Van Nierkerk.

It was also argued that brands ought to move on from using real-time buying to target existing customers, to a new model by which it identifies new prospects.

“What is neglected in the targeting world is capitalising on data to find new customers,” said Wasserman.

“Congratulations if you can find your current customers and up-sell them. But the real labour from an algorithmic perspective is the creation of meaningful models that will find users who are likely to mimic the behaviour of your most valuable customers.

“Marketers and agencies are now willing to push data into a centralised place, which leads to the opportunity to create holistic models.”