Advertising Technology

Joe Kowan on RTB and MEC’s Digital Workflow


Joe Kowan is Managing Partner, Practice Lead, Digital Investment & Activation at MEC Global, one of the world’s top media agencies. The Makegood recently spoke with Joe about his new role, MEC’s digital workflow, and RTB.

The Makegood: Congratulations on your new role as Practice Lead, Digital Investment and Activation at MEC. What are your goals for 2013?

2013 will be a very exciting year for MEC’s digital team. My goals are very much product-centric, and quite aggressive. Over the course of the year I’ll be investing time and resources into the overall refinement of MEC’s digital product. Be that from the level of tactical workflow improvements, to a more holistic approach to portfolio management from an investment to how we go to market.

The Makegood: You’re creating a dedicated digital investment team to leverage your significant spend in terms of efficiency and first-look opportunities for all your clients. Can you elaborate on your challenges and your plan to solve these?

Any cutting edge digital agency needs to be equipped to not only break out portfolio capabilities from their inevitable silos, but to leverage each one’s strengths to ensure they are bringing significant value to the marketer. MEC has done a fantastic job for each of our clients in this area, and as part of our product refinement vision, we intend to become even more effective in this area.
The digital investment team will also work very closely with GroupM to look at our existing partnerships with key media outlets and optimize those working relationships to operate in a more fluid manner.

The Makegood: You’re implementing best practices with regard to data collection, dissemination and optimization. Can you give us a practice example of a project that you are especially proud of this year?

We do some amazing work for our clients. Too often, at any agency, the mechanics behind that work is not reproduced and scaled as well as it could be. One of my big focuses this year has been centered on revamping our digital workflow. Taking those best practices we’ve tended to silo in the past and distilling them into formal processes will result in a very tangible increase in our ability to scale the most innovative aspects of our work.

The Makegood: In a Digiday article earlier this year, Forbes’s Meredith Levien defined banners as an endangered species and said, “Programmatic isn’t a magic bullet to save digital advertising.” What is your opinion on this?

It’s unfortunate that all of the buzz around programmatic transacting has centered on real time bidded media. Programmatic buying has the promise of increasing overall efficacy of our marketing programs, RTB is simply one tactic. I agree with Meredith, it is a nice arrow to have in our quiver, but I’m more interested in the adoption of programmatic buying outside of the RTB / general auction landscape. I’m looking at how we can be more effective in the premium, high impact execution space, and leverage the portfolios we manage to consistently increase the value exchange for our clients.

The Makegood: What do see as the real-benefit Susan Schiekofer released that MEC’s digital attribution model will be rolled out widely in 2013. Also, she said you would be beta-ing social media advances from your key social partners in addition to your proprietary tracking tools. Can you elaborate on this?

We do have a very exciting new attribution modeling product launching later this year which is focused on delivering more effective and efficient results to maximize our client’s media-investments. This is just one of many best-in-class tools and services coming from our robust A&I team, that at the end of the day, will help us all to better understand consumer behavior so that we can better drive ROI for our clients.

The Makegood: Thanks, Joe.