Ticketmaster’s head of programmatic: Bringing it in-house won’t cure what ails you

“If you haven’t gotten around to fixing something yet, bringing something in-house is not that fix.” So says Gosha Khuchua, Ticketmaster’s senior director of digital and programmatic media, on this episode of Digiday Live, recorded at the Digiday Programmatic Summit in Palm Beach, Florida.

The decision to take programmatic in-house involves weighing the cost of investment against the benefits of gaining control and transparency in media buying. Ticketmaster operates in the events space; it’s fast-paced and the brand launches about 300 campaigns per month. In this episode, Khuchua shares what online purchasing platform Ticketmaster learned about itself when it took on the task of moving programmatic inside the organization.

Here are some highlights from his talk.

Bringing programmatic in-house to cut costs is misguided
If the reason you are bringing programmatic in-house is because of cost, forget it. “[Brands] pay for a lot of things we can’t do ourselves,” admits Khuchua, but if it’s something you haven’t gotten around to yet, bringing it in-house is not the answer. Tackle systemic problems instead.

Don’t have multiple cooks in the programmatic kitchen
According to Khuchua, spreading programmatic responsibilities around an organization results in slower decision-making. “Seek counsel, but don’t have multiple captains,” he advises.

Brands are not internally built for media, so make sure you invest in talent
Unlike agencies, brands are not built to buy and sell media. From compensation schemes to talent pools, brands do not have the same resources as media agencies do, and brands should be prepared for the difficulties that will arise from that. Khuchua recommends working closely with HR to staff up appropriately.

Listen to Khuchua’s talk at the Digiday Programmatic Summit in Palm Beach, Florida in the Digiday Live episode above. Get more insight into how brands and agencies are tackling the challenges of programmatic by listening to more Digiday Live episodes below:

  • Gary Milner, global digital marketing manager for PC brand Lenovo, has some firm advice for brands looking to take the programmatic route: “Be relentless in the pursuit of excellence.”
  • “We’ve been doing it [programmatic] forever,” says Target’s vp of digital media Brent Rosso. As one of the world’s biggest advertisers, Target has access to a huge pool of customer data that it is now mining and using to inform its new Target Guest Access program.
  • Amy Manus, senior media director at Razorfish, shares how agencies manage the complicated header bidding process.

Keep up with the best sessions from Digiday events by subscribing to Digiday Live on iTunes or Stitcher.


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