What Advertisers Are Getting Wrong About Programmatic

TubeMogul's Phil Cowlishaw talks automation


Current gig Vp of strategy at TubeMogul

Previous gig Head of technology at Ikon Communications

Age 35

Adweek: Describe your role as vp of strategy.

Phil Cowlishaw: It's a little bit like Navy SEALs. I take a high view of our most important strategic accounts and then deep dive into them to get a deep understanding of exactly what business drivers will make a difference for them and then how TubeMogul, the platform, can deliver this. My job is to lead a team that helps these accounts, to truly align their business models with our software features. At the end of the day, it's ultimately helping them get the most value out of our platform. It's really about how they can pull the triggers inside of our platform to shift more product or brand awareness.

What clients have you been working with?

L'Oréal USA, Jose Cuervo, Mondelez, Allstate, Heineken, Quiznos, Hotels.com and Lenovo.

What trends do you see emerging in digital advertising?

There's an increased interest in this space on the brand side. We're seeing brands trying to understand exactly what programmatic is and how it could potentially help their business. We're seeing a significant shift into the programmatic space and a drive and adoption by big brand advertisers and their agencies to try and understand the power of programmatic, especially in online video, and how it can drive business results.

What is one of the biggest misconceptions about programmatic that advertisers have?

It's the definition of programmatic. As a business we talk about programmatic being the use of technology to automate a previously manual process. I think in the early days, programmatic was kind of thought of as a reach play, a way of monetizing lower-value inventory. What we're seeing now is a significant shift and adoption of the use of technology to automate across the entire buy—whether that is digitally endemic websites, whether that is networks such as ESPN—and being able to use technology to precision across the entire buy and to make it more effective.

You came to TubeMogul after working in Australia. What's been the biggest adjustment for you stateside?

The most exciting thing is that we're undergoing a significant change in the way that media is planned, bought and optimized. That change is being driven out of technology companies primarily based in the U.S. Being closer to the heart of that change is exciting, and that's been a fundamental shift.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 5 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.