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Education

Why Don’t Schools Teach Programmatic?

July 18, 2017 — by Elise James-Decruise1

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As graduation season rolls around each year, I often attend career fairs with recent grads who are interested in a career in ad tech.  I can expect to come across some bright young people who are eager to work, learn and offer new perspectives. What I don’t expect to see is deep knowledge of programmatic.

Programmatic is now a 10-year-old technology. And more than two-thirds of display ad spending is conducted programmatically. It’s also slowly becoming a bigger part of the way that traditional media, like TV and print, is bought and sold. It’s not a stretch to say that a decade from now, all media will be transacted programmatically.

Yet, I continue to see college graduates who know little to nothing about the topic. This is why I launched New Marketing Institute (NMI) five years ago – MediaMath’s education arm that offers courses and certification programs to train aspiring digital marketers on programmatic techniques and technologies. It’s our mission to solve for the skills and talent gap in the adtech space and though there are some encouraging signs that colleges are also looking to address this gap, schools in general need to step up their game.

Traditional marketing is still the norm at universities

One major reason for this lag is that four-year schools especially have a classically rooted philosophy when it comes to education. Students usually enter college at around age 18 when their minds are still being formed. Rather than jump straight into acquiring technical skills, young people need to first learn how to think critically and analytically. In other words, they need to learn how to learn.

While I’m receptive to that argument, I don’t understand why colleges are teaching the basics of Don Draper-era marketing when the world has changed so much. The next generation of CMOs for instance will likely be data jockeys who apply their skills to marketing, not marketers who learn data.

My other objection is that this isn’t the way schools prepare others for the world of work. Even 20 years ago, journalism program students learned how to write articles, how to interview people and how to edit. Medical school is all about learning the intricacies of the human body via the real-life experience of interacting with real patients. Why are we teaching students the Four P’s, but not teaching them what real-time bidding is?

Signs of change

 Most four-year institutions are very bureaucratic. It takes years to implement new programs. This pace works against change in two ways: First, it means changes come slowly. Second, it means that professors often logically conclude that by the time they start teaching about the current state of programmatic, it will have changed.

While there’s truth in this, it hasn’t stopped some universities from adapting to a dynamic marketplace. One shining example is Penn State, which last year launched a minor in Digital Media Trends and Analysis, an initiative led by Lee Ahern, an associate professor in the Department of Advertising/Public Relations. Ahern is also an active NMI advisory board member where we work together to provide insights and serve as a resource globally for new ideas and trends in digital marketing. I’m looking forward to seeing the first graduates of that program hitting the workforce this year.

Elsewhere, the industry has stepped in. For instance, the IAB offers professional certification for digital media buying and planning.

And then there’s NMI, which has taught digital marketing certification and training courses to more than 11,000 participants across the globe. To further our commitment to programmatic education, we created the Marketing Engineer Program in 2014 – an immersive and dynamic training program to give future marketers a unique opportunity to gain technical and professional skills that are equired to be successful in an ever-evolving industry. Since it’s launch, MEP has expanded it’s 12-week training program, launching MEP Berlin this year.

Both NMI and MEP are designed to provide career opportunities in programmatic to individuals across all backgrounds and is based on the idea of “meeting the learner where they are” by understanding each learner’s needs and motivations. It’s my belief that educating young people in programmatic will ultimately make the ad tech industry more diverse and bring in new thinking. It also helps level the playing field and bring new opportunities to students who might not have known that they could have a future in ad tech.

That said, I haven’t lost faith in our educational system. Two-year colleges tend to be more nimble and can integrate new technologies into their course offerings quicker than their four-year counterparts. Finally, most marketing programs advocate internships as a vehicle for learning about the industry.

These are all encouraging signs. It may be that academic programs will always fall a bit short of marketplace needs for whatever reason. Many coders didn’t study computer science in college and those that did, often found that they learned programming outside the classroom.

That may be the case with programmatic too, but I expect that to change. While it will always be important to learn the fundamentals of marketing, I know educators want to prepare their students for the current job market as well. That’s why it’s heartening to see academics already filling this gap.

EducationTrends

Programmatic and Science: A Leap Forward with Joe Zawadzki

May 26, 2017 — by Michelle Said0

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Joe Zawadzki is the CEO of MediaMath, and is a respected pioneer in the online marketing industry. With his deep experience in audience targeting and optimization, ad networks and exchanges, and real-time bidding, Joe is regularly invited to speak at industry conferences, roundtables, and major events. On today’s conversation, Joe discusses where programmatic marketing is headed, how AI will affect the industry, and the rise in popularity of header bidding.

Listen here now!

Education

Breaking Down the Programmatic Umbrella: What Is A Private Marketplace?

May 18, 2017 — by Michelle Said0

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Previously in our educational video series, Breaking Down the Programmatic Umbrella, we explored programmatic marketing and the public auctions that represent the open exchange. This week, we consider private marketplaces, and what makes these auctions unique from their public counterparts.

Stay tuned for more videos to be released weekly as we explore the programmatic umbrella in-depth!

Watch below!

Education

Getting In-Depth With MEP

May 3, 2017 — by Michelle Said0

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In this special bonus episode of Programmatic Untangled, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Yamaguchi, NMI’s Director of Program Development who founded the very successful Marketing Engineer Program (MEP) here at MediaMath. In the three years since the program launched, we have seen cohorts thrive at our headquarters in New York, as well as in London, Berlin, and Sao Paulo.

Joining Adam on the podcast was a recent graduate of the program, David Khalev, who told us about his experience with the program and his plans for the future.

Here are a few highlights from the episode:

Michelle: Where did the idea for the program start?

Adam: The idea was let’s create a program where we can set people up to be successful, have them learn from people who are subject matter experts within the industry, and then send them out to go about and find jobs afterwards.  So really kind of a — or what it’s evolved into, at least, is a career accelerator within digital marketing and programmatic.

Michelle: We have a lot of varied backgrounds in any given cohort. How do you pick out which candidates will be successful in a program like this?

Adam: I think one of the great things about MEP, one of the things I particularly love is that we do have folks who have incredibly diverse backgrounds, and you know, I believe and we believe, within MediaMath and NMI, if you give people the right tools, anybody can be successful.  I think that’s what MEP is a perfect example of. Folks in the program come from all different work and educational experience.  And I don’t think it matters so much where you come from.  I think there are certain things and certain indicators of success, as you mentioned, and a couple of those are folks who do like digging into data, who are somewhat quantitative and analytical, as there is a lot of that in the program.

That is one thing that I think a lot of participants who go through and do well certainly have.  But also other things, like an insatiable appetite for learning.  It’s a lot to learn, and it is immersive.  When I say that, it truly is.  It’s sometimes being fed from a fire hose.  So you have to want to learn, right?  That’s a big thing.  I think you want to have that insatiable appetite.  You want to be really passionate about what it is that we’re doing, because it is immersive, so if you don’t really love it, it’d be hard to stay engaged.

Strong communication is also a big one.  It’s very collaborative and is very much about working with people. So being able to communicate effectively and work well with others is all about how you interact and build relationships.

Michelle: David, can you tell me about your experience as a MEP?

David: My experience has only been positive here.  Everybody is a great resource to you all throughout the company.  Whatever projects or trainings or shadowing that we’re involved in, we’re always supported by, wonderful, intelligent people here, that always know how to make an impact.

And another thing that I really enjoy about the program is the partner visits, for sure.  Being able to invite innovative companies into our office and just see what they have going on, what they have planned for the future, how they’re adapting to a changing industry.  And then going to partners’ offices and seeing how other companies in this space just function day-to-day.

We’re all different, we’re all innovative.  And it’s been really interesting and rewarding.

Michelle: I know that it started here in New York, but we are also expanding all over the globe.  Can you tell me how we’ve launched that and how it’s working?

Adam: In New York, we launched in June of 2014, and then soon after that, in the summer of 2015, we launched in London, which is another big hub for MediaMath. I think the same kind of roles and problems apply just about everywhere, right?  Around the world.  And that there is this dearth of, of talent.  And we recognized that.  And wanted to see, how can we bring this to other locations?

London was the first way that we did that, and we’ve run, I believe, now, uh, four programs, three or four programs in London.  Boy, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of, I should know that.  In that time, we have launched one in Sao Paolo in Brazil, which was great to be able to bring that there, where, again, there is a huge demand for talent out there.

Just this past year in March, we launched in Berlin, have a program there. It’s exciting to see this grow.  I wouldn’t have ever expected that when I started. Because people really do need this training.  And, and you know, more on the horizon too, I think looking at where we can continue to bring this, even regionally here within North America?

As there’s a lot of different cities where I think there could be a huge benefit as well.  And then also to other regions too.  So looking in that and seeing, where in the future we can run another program.

Michelle: Can you tell me about the relationships you’ve made with your fellow cohort and how you guys have been working together?

David: I can honestly say that I’ve made friends for life here.  These people that I’m working with in the cohort are among the most ambitious and intelligent people that I’ve had the pleasure to work with and to learn with.  Apart from seeing each other every day for three months and spending a large majority of our time in one conference room, we also get together outside of the program. I know even some of us from the program are going to be living together in the future.

Michelle: Oh, wow.

David: Yeah, so —

Adam: Roommates.

David: Yeah, MEP roommates.

Michelle: That’s so cool.

David:  I’m really thankful for the amount of energy and the amount of passion that everybody’s put into developing themselves within the program, and then helping develop others as well.

I’d like to personally wish the sixth MEP cohort with the best luck as they go out into the world! To anybody who is interested in the program, please visit the NMI site to learn more and apply for our August rotation in New York.

You can listen to the full interview on Programmatic Untangled (podcast) here.

In case you missed last week’s blog post, NMI will be releasing a series of microlearning videos that the MEPs found helpful in their learning process. These videos were produced with NMI’s microlearning partner Grovo to take programmatic concepts and break them down into bite-sized videos. Catch the first video in the series on the blog here.

Education

Programmatic Down Under: People and Culture

April 28, 2017 — by Michelle Said0

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The latest episode of Programmatic Untangled goes around the globe to interview Indy Khabra, the National Managing Director of Amnet, ANZ. Indy has over 10 years of business leadership experience with expertise in data-driven programmatic advertising. In this episode, he shares his thoughts on how programmatic has changed the Australian marketplace.

Listen now to hear about the Australian digital marketing workforce, the varying degrees of programmatic adoption and how that impacts campaigns, and how marketers can combine the data-driven programmatic side and the artistic creative side.

Listen here now!

Education

Breaking Down the Programmatic Umbrella: What is Programmatic?

April 26, 2017 — by Michelle Said0

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People who have attended New Marketing Institute’s courses Introduction to Digital Marketing and Programmatic 101 may already be familiar with our bite-sized educational videos that cover everything from pixels to real-time bidding to the key players of the ad tech market place.

The marketplace has expanded and changed so quickly that it has created a need for more videos that would further break down the industry in easily digestible, microlearning bits.

We worked with our partner Grovo to create a new series that breaks down topics within the programmatic umbrella.

In the first episode of this series, we explore what programmatic is, how it works, and why it is important.

Stay tuned for more videos to be released weekly as we explore the programmatic umbrella in-depth.

Watch below!

Education

#TeamsWin: NMI Celebrates Five Successful Years

April 14, 2017 — by Elise James-Decruise0

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As we look back at the past five years of the New Marketing Institute (NMI), it’s hard not to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. When I first joined MediaMath and launched NMI, it was an exciting time filled with unknowns. As the education technology industry continues to evolve, we have progressed with the fast pace of innovation and we are eager to continue collaborating with bright minds. Five years later, I am thrilled with the work we achieved so far and can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

If our greatest achievements to date are any indication of what’s to come, the next five years will have big things in store for NMI. To celebrate our anniversary, let’s take a look back at our most exciting milestones:

The launch of the certification and training courses:

Launching our training courses is one of the proudest accomplishments for me because at its core, NMI aims to achieve a solid foundation for learning. We offer digital marketing certification courses, including “Intro to Digital Marketing” and “Programmatic 101” to help fill the skills gap in an ever-evolving industry. And as the space keeps growing and innovating at such a rapid pace, NMI understands that today’s marketers need to stay competitive.

It starts with having a best in class team who shares an enthusiasm to teach in the ad tech space. To date, we’ve trained more than 12,000 people and have grown our presence in over 16 countries. Being compassionate and understanding that not all people learn the same – some individuals may learn better through listening, while others learn more effectively through visuals. We “meet the learner where they are” by offering localized content and giving learners access to courses online or in-person because we want to be as flexible as we can to serve the education needs of all of our students.

The launch of our Marketing Engineer Program (MEP):

Another proud milestone was establishing MediaMath’s Marketing Engineer Program (MEP) – an immersive and dynamic training program we developed to give future marketers a unique opportunity to gain technical and professional skills needed to be successful within the digital marketing space. Since it’s launch in June 2014, we have seen the 12-week curriculum-based course grow into an international training program, launching MEP Berlin for the first time this year. Graduating more than 50 marketing engineers to date, MEP is about to graduate its sixth cohort at the end of this month!

The NMI Advisory Board launch:

Last August, we officially announced the launch of our NMI advisory board. The primary goal for the board is to provide insights and serve as a resource globally for new ideas and trends in digital marketing. On the board, we have members that come from retail, technology and education. This dynamic mix allows for the group to openly share ideas and best practices across industries.

The launch of NMI’s first podcast, Programmatic Untangled:

Here at NMI, discussions around launching a podcast had been taking place for quite some time. When we were able to host our first podcast, it was a huge accomplishment. I love the idea of working with new mediums for education and podcasts are a prime example. They’re collaborative and allow for learning to take place on the go. Over the next five years, NMI will certainly continue to utilize different forms of media for lessons, like podcasts.

Industry recognition in the form of award wins

 We are all extremely proud of the work that NMI has achieved, but seeing it recognized by industry professionals is the icing on the cake. NMI has won awards in education and innovation, winning two Brandon Hall Group gold awards for the best learning and development program and Marketing Engineer Program (MEP) getting recognition as the best certification program. Moreover, I was honored by Chief Learning Officer magazine at the 15th Annual Learning In Practice ceremony by receiving silver honors for the Innovation Award and gold for the Strategy Award. Seeing others in the industry acknowledge our growth and commitment to education is a remarkable feeling and serves as a testament to the power knowledge has in the digital marketing community.

As we look back at all of the progress we have made at NMI, we are excited for what’s next. If you’re looking for ways to explore the future of digital marketing and programmatic advertising, take a look at the programs NMI is currently offering.

EducationMedia

Taking Cool Technology and Making It Scale

April 5, 2017 — by Michelle Said0

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In the latest episode of Programmatic Untangled, MediaMath’s Michael Weaver, VP of Channel Solutions at MediaMath, breaks down all things mobile. Michael’s two decades of experience in digital marketing give him a unique perspective on how the industry has continued to innovate as new technologies and consumer behaviors come into the mix. In this podcast, we explore the challenge inherent in an environment where technology, devices and delivery platforms are ever evolving.

In this episode, Michael shines light on the following:

  • Defining mobile: is it a channel, a format, or a device?
  • How mobile and video are merging together
  • The three ways marketers measure location in relation to mobile
  • How to navigate these continually evolving technologies

Listen now to find out what Michael thinks absolutely will not work when it comes to marketing. Hint: it involves the words “creepy” and “intrusive.”

EducationIntelligenceMedia

Navigating the Brave New World

April 4, 2017 — by Kristin Brewe0

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As a part of a module I teach at the University of West London, Emerging Technology, Other Realities, I have students read a work of science fiction in addition to practical training about programmatic advertising and augmented/virtual reality campaigns. How do you prepare students to work in a world that often resembles classics in science fiction? How do experienced industry professionals manage to stay ahead of the game in which the “present” is often already too late? There’s one rather old-fashioned answer: training.

The digital skills gap is an equal opportunity employer

In the Government’s “Digital Skills for the UK Economy,” approximately 1 in 5 job vacancies relate to the digital skills gap. This is even more pronounced in creative industries, like advertising. Experienced industry professionals often fall hard into the digital skills gap; yesterday’s media planner is today’s statistician. Not that there’s anything wrong with statisticians, of course. However, as companies embrace the technological transformation of advertising, they fail to create a world that takes experienced staff along for the journey.

This comes at a business cost in addition to the obvious human one. Many companies making such technology shifts lose out on the deep knowledge that comes with experience. For example, I have worked with many media buyers who came up through radio and TV who would have been perfectly suited to more tech-centric media trading. In fact, they might have been better than the average entry-level employee, as they had years of experience negotiating and evaluating deals—something that’s hard to teach other than on the job. Those colleagues didn’t get the chance, however. No one trained them. The businesses in question lost out on all that knowledge, the people in question left wondering why they ever cared about their careers in the first place.

One might think that overlooking experience would lead employers to be overly satisfied with recent graduate hires, given that everyone always talks about tech-savvy Millennials. However, that is not the case. Both as an employer or an advisor to employers, I have found communications graduates woefully unprepared for the automated world we’re creating. While Millennials and Gen Z are adept at using their phones to use Snapchat filters, very few can tell you how Snapchat/Facebook/Instagram/display advertising might work to target them or be tailored to them.  As Accenture’s Mohini Rao wrote in The Digital Skills Gap in the UK, “This generation are consumers of digital technology, not creators.”

Creating opportunities to learn about machines vs. machine learning

Of course, we, as a society (with our industry strongly implicated in this), have created these consumers who lack context. But because we created that environment, we can also create a new one with opportunities to code, to use industry tools, and to understand how the machines in our lives work. (Note: This should probably start in pre-school, but since I teach university, I’ll focus on Uni students.)

This is where courses like our new Advertising & Public Relations course come in. At UWL, we are committed to ensuring that our students understand the basics of automation so that they can succeed in their careers. Even creatives need to know that programmatic ads are often certain standard sizes, much like we used to teach the dimensions of standard print. Admittedly, we have an uphill battle here. When you start diving into these topics with university students, responses like “WTF is programmatic advertising?” or “You can see all that data about me? Is that legal?” or “But making skyscraper banners is boring!” are common.

To help overcome such obstacles and to create a more positive environment for the next generation of professionals, our course is working with visionary organisations like the New Marketing Institute (NMI). A few weeks ago, the excellent instructor from NMI came in and managed to transform boredom and cynicism into excitement. Several students afterward came to me to express interest in knowing more about things like programmatic and in exploring ad tech as a career path. That’s both a testimonial to the quality of NMI’s instruction and also to the fact that, once this aspect of advertising is explained clearly, it doesn’t have to be a boring diet of acronym soup.

Would that more organisations like NMI visited universities. Would that more students were exposed to the advanced aspects of our practice. Would that my former colleagues had the chance to change with our industry, rather than outside of it. So let’s change all that, shall we?