Navigating the Brave New World

April 4, 2017 — by Kristin Brewe


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?


NMI Brings Programmatic Education to Dentsu Aegis Senior Leaders in APAC

March 23, 2017 — by Marrah Africa


In the complex and ever-evolving world of programmatic, New Marketing Institute (NMI) believes that to engage, educate and empower today’s marketers, we need to meet the learners where they are.

In APAC, where markets are in different stages of programmatic adoption, this becomes even more crucial. You have mature markets like Australia and Japan where conversations on programmatic are highly sophisticated versus emerging markets like India and Korea where conversations can begin with explaining what programmatic and RTB are and why programmatic isn’t just a line item on the media plan.

Other than market nuisances, “meeting the learners where they are” is important because the industry has grown so rapidly that more people need to understand and be involved. People coming from different backgrounds find themselves in roles that require them to be experts in the field. Different roles in an organization require different levels of involvement in programmatic. For example, a trader, a media planner and a CEO will have different marketing priorities and motivations.

Dentsu Aegis’s programmatic agency, Amnet, also recognized this need to educate and wanted to train Dentsu Aegis senior leaders on programmatic to enable them to lead conversations internally and externally across their APAC agencies.

NMI offered to conduct an executive workshop. The Programmatic Leadership Workshop was specifically designed for senior leaders and aimed to go beyond definitions and trends and instead provide attendees with the right foundations in programmatic to help them with their overall business strategy.

Developing the curriculum and content for this workshop involved collaboration across teams, cultures and time zones. After the initial selection of topics, the NMI team worked very closely with internal SMEs and Amnet to customize the first session and then re-work the content based on participant feedback and review by the facilitators involved. Taking the time to figure out what we should include in the workshop to meet their needs enabled us to deliver relevant information to executives excited about offering their clients a way into programmatic marketing and a rationale for doing so. The reception our workshop received surprised and delighted the NMI team and we seek to continue to provide comprehensive Executive Education and support to more APAC executives and executives globally.

“The Programmatic Leadership Workshop helped us gain a very good understanding of the ever-evolving programmatic landscape and prepared us to have more sophisticated conversations both internally and with our clients,” said Nick Waters, CEO Dentsu Aegis Network APAC. “This serves as a great foundation of the upcoming education program that we plan to roll out within Dentsu Aegis Network.”

To read more about the workshop and the results, read the full case study here.



The Podcast Where the Ghost of Edna St. Vincent Millay Makes an Appearance

March 3, 2017 — by Michelle Said


In the latest episode of Programmatic Untangled, MediaMath’s CMO Joanna O’Connell talks about the current state of programmatic. She covers such wide-ranging topics as:

  • The growth of mobile and video advertising online
  • Brands bringing programmatic in-house
  • The impact of header bidding on the industry
  • The magic of data science and technology

She even digs into the influence of science fiction movies in digital advertising. Listen here now!


Monthly Roundup: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for February

March 1, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal


As we wrap up another month, we bring to you the best performing blogs for the month of February. From the top programmatic trends of 2017 to the launch of GDMA and Winterberry’s Global Review of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising, here are the top five blogs:

• #1 17 Programmatic Trends For 2017 

• #2 Four Ways To Create A Unified Customer Experience In A Post-Channel World 

• #3 Insights From The Global Review Of Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising 2017

• #4 B2B Programmatic and Precise Targeting: The Truth 

• #5 Ad Blocking A Symptom of Disengaging Ads: MediaMath CMO




Introducing Programmatic Untangled

February 14, 2017 — by Michelle Said


New Marketing Institute is excited to announce the launch of our new podcast, Programmatic Untangled, where we tackle digital advertising’s most talked-about topics.  As advertising becomes increasingly more effective and targeted, it has also become increasingly confusing to many, who often feel like they’ve been left behind.

In this podcast series, we will dive into topics ranging from programmatic education, big data, header bidding and much, much more. We will release episodes on the last Friday of every month, and will feature subject matter experts from a variety of backgrounds in the digital marketing realm.

In our first episode, we interview Elise James-Decruise, the founder of New Marketing Institute, who has led the charge in building a team of training professionals who are committed to educating marketers. Elise discusses the definition of programmatic marketing, and why it’s important for marketers from all walks of life. Listen now!


Monthly Roundup: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for January

February 10, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal


Kicking off 2017, our CMO Joanna O’Connell shared her thoughts on what this year will bring for the realm of programmatic marketing and our CEO, Joe Zawadzki, says 2017 will be the age of attribution. Check out our top performing blogs for the month of January:

• #1 Joanna O’Connell’s Programmatic Marketing Prediction for 2017

• #2 Joe Zawadzki’s Take on Attribution in 2017

• #3 Integrated DSP + DMP Approach Increases ROAS for Luxury Retailer Luisa Via Roma

• #4 Adtech: Predictions for 2017

• #5 The Changing Face of Audience Segmentation


Why Buzz Lightyear Is the Ideal Coworker

February 9, 2017 — by Ronika Vyas


Imagine This.

If you can’t build a macro in excel with your eyes closed, you can’t get a job.

If you don’t understand the likes of data attribution or programming languages, you can’t get a job.

And above all, if you can’t effectively articulate how to do the above to others — well, good luck.

Truth is, you don’t have to imagine it. Transformation in technology and its inevitable reshaping of the job market is our modern-day reality. According to a 2013 Oxford University Study, nearly 47 percent of jobs will be replaced by technology in the next 20 years and beyond.

The relationship our society has developed with tech is truly paving the way for a newly defined view on human interaction and ultimate job security. The more you choose to become tech savvy, the greater your chance is of staying relevant and employed.

And so here’s a round of applause for the parents and academic institutions pushing STEM as a proactive education measure i.e., building it [the skill] before the world needs it [tomorrow].

Yet as tech continues to be an integral part of our lives, some may feel it may be over glorified. To beat out competition for job security by independently developing technical skills, are we losing our cognitive ability to communicate effectively with one another? Does technological advancement characteristically devalue the need for meaningful relationships and emotional intelligence?

I like to think that Buzz Lightyear did it right. He represents the right balance.

As an up-and-coming tech toy in the classic Pixar movie, Toy Story, Buzz never fell short of being a savvy visionary while maintaining a strong point of view on the importance of solid relationships.

I believe Buzz embodies the characteristics of the ideal modern day coworker. He recognized early on that while you can reach new heights on your own, the real joy is in reaching ‘to infinity and beyond’ with some of your most trusted companions [Woody] along the way.

As you reflect on the type of employee, leader or space ranger you want to be, I hope you consciously choose to never forget the importance of building meaningful relationships before you need them. You never know how many sequels you’ll create with some of your closest friends and colleagues on your lifelong journey and career in tech.


The Real Reason Corporate America’s Diversity Initiatives Fail

January 26, 2017 — by Elise James-Decruise


This article originally appeared in Fortune’s Leadership Insiders column, authored by Elise James DeCruise, VP, New Marketing Institute at MediaMath. 

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question, “How can you play a role in advancing workplace equality?” is written by Elise James-Decruise, vice president of the New Marketing Institute at MediaMath.

I lead a diverse, global team of 29 people in 16 different countries, which brings me face-to-face with the importance of having an open dialogue about equality in the workplace. Here are a few tactics that can help open up the discussion and effect change at your organization:

Create equal opportunities

It’s important to remember that while the terms are often used interchangeably, diversity and equality mean different things. Diversity is recognizing our differences while embracing them, whether it’s at work or in society at large. Equality, on the other hand, refers to fairness and equal treatment, where everyone has the same opportunities.

Tell your staff that if everyone doesn’t have similar opportunities for professional development, career pathing, and access to resources, you’re not fostering equality. Thus, you are ticking the diversity box on paper, but not making a true effort to nurture and empower each individual to their best potential.

Effect organizational change

Most organizational change efforts fail, often because executives don’t get enough institutional buy-in for their initiatives and ideas. If you build relationships in advance and have a strong track record, executives are more likely to support you in making changes.

When I joined MediaMath in 2012, I made it my mission to foster a strong relationship with our CEO. What I was trying to build—a comprehensive training program for employees, clients, and partners that honored their differences in gender, culture, and career background—had never been done before at the company. Through sparking regular communication, building trust, and showing passion for my mission, the CEO became my biggest champion and was instrumental in helping me nurture the New Marketing Institute (NMI) into the global unit it is today.

It’s important to show your executive sponsors that being an equal workplace ultimately adds value to the business. It can ultimately help you innovate and bring in unique perspectives.

Initiate equality programs

Equality-based initiatives can foster and promote teamwork, compassion, inclusion, and respect both within your company and with business partners. At NMI, we created the Marketing Engineer Program in 2014 to provide career opportunities in the programmatic marketing space for individuals across all backgrounds. These individuals work with different teams and are then offered jobs within our own company or through partners and clients. This fosters equality by giving individuals equal access to job skills training in digital marketing, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, or career background.

Other companies might consider internal initiatives such as having a high-performance program for talented employees of female or minority backgrounds, connecting women in leadership roles to younger female employees for mentorship, and holding on-site professional development trainings and team summits at times that accommodate working parents.

Meet each person where they are

We can’t approach equality with a broad brush. For instance, almost the same number of women without children opt out of promotions as working mothers—55% to 58%, respectively—according to findings from a study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. This is an issue that goes beyond gender and parenthood to the very heart of what we expect out of leaders today.

At NMI, we talk about “meeting the learner where they are.” This means understanding each person’s needs and motivations based on their particular situation. Ask yourself questions like: Do employees in other regions have access to the same resources in their native languages? Are managers giving their employees access to opportunities in a way that is culturally relevant to their background? Is everyone in every office onboarded in the same way? Does everyone, from a junior coordinator to a C-level executive, have access to professional development opportunities fitting their particular career phase?

We live this idea of “meeting the learner where they are” at NMI by offering anyone who goes through our program—whether an employee or a client—localized content, the ability to tune into courses online or in-person, and different course levels to meet their specific area of expertise. There’s also a culture of information-sharing, whether via our internal wiki or email, or in person, so no one is being deprived of resources or learning opportunities.

Read the full article on Fortune here


2016 Yearly Roundup: Top 10 Most Popular Blogs

January 11, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal



Got Millennials? How to Attract Top Talent—and Keep Them

January 10, 2017 — by Elise James-Decruise


This byline originally appeared on

Over the past few years, millennials have developed a negative reputation as the lazy, self-indulgent “me-me-me generatiom.” However, when you look at the facts, that picture couldn’t be further from the truth. It turns out the majority of millennials are actually workaholics with no plans to “job hop” who don’t even take their allotted vacation time.

Millennials have moved past Gen. X to become the largest generation in the American workforce. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, the number of millennials in the workforce – currently 53.5 million – is only expected to grow as millennials currently enrolled in college graduate and begin working. Companies need to take notice of this generation and understand what it takes to not only recruit the best talent in the group, but keep them happy.

Throughout all industries – from tech and finance to hospitality and fashion – the traditional offerings of money and stability will no longer cut it when trying to attract the top millennial employees. Instead, organizations need to offer transparency, culture, and flexibility. To recruit elite talent, the entire company needs to be involved – not just the HR team.

If you’re looking for ways to attract young talent to your organization, check out the below tips on drawing and keeping their attention:

1. Write a Compelling Job Description

Now that it’s easier than ever to post jobs and search for positions online, a generic job description is no longer enough. The description of any open position should reflect the company and the team.

If culture is important, that needs to be clearly included in the job description to ensure the right person is applying for the right job. If the post is vague, it makes the applicant question if the job is right for them – and it wastes the time of the company when employees are stuck interviewing someone who isn’t right for the role.

If you are not looking for a typical job candidate, you need to consider the qualities that would make an applicant successful in your company, on your team, and in this specific role; then write a description based on them.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot People to Other Roles

Sometimes you interview a candidate who blows you away – but it turns out they aren’t the right fit for the specific position to which they applied. Rather than not hiring this impressive talent, try pivoting them to another team internally.

As much as you want the right person for the right role, sometimes you need to take a step back and recognize it’s important to have the top talent in your company in general. If you go this route, patience will be necessary as it can take several months to find the right fit. If you have the flexibility to pivot, millennial candidates will be excited by the opportunity to learn through experience until you ultimately find the perfect placement, and your company will benefit from obtaining a stellar employee.

3. Get Creative With Your Company Perks

Company perks that make the difference in retaining employees go far beyond a happy hour on Fridays or free meals. Millennials don’t expect excessive perks that aren’t sustainable for most companies, but they do want something tailored to them and their passions. Focus on creating the right perks for your ideal workforce.

If you find out what drives your applicants, you can alter the discussion around those specific perks. Do they have a family at home? Offer a flexible work schedule. Fitness buff? Provide free classes or allow them time to catch a midday workout when they don’t have meetings. Even internal professional development training can be valuable to someone just getting started in their career and help convince millennials to join – and stay at – your company.

By taking these steps, you can make your business much more attractive to millennial applicants, which should prove very beneficial to your organization: Millennials will represent nearly 75 percent of the workforce by 2030.