Whether clients use self-service platforms or managed service providers, they must be able to recognize the benefits of marketing technology while keeping an open mind on which approach is best for them.
In this article you will learn:
- How to assess the relative merits of self-service platforms and managed service providers
- The value managed services platforms can add to your business
- The importance of integrating providers and marketing technology tool tools in an omnichannel strategy
- How to balance service innovation with cost efficiency
- The importance of regular dialogue with clients
Table of Contents:
To provide a client perspective on the merits of self-service platforms compared to managed service providers RTB House asked Alex Flores Gomez, programmatic & RTB trader, media planner & co-founder of Skyrocket Digital Media how his agency uses these services.
Skyrocket Digital Media is an independent digital media agency that develops relationships based on maximum transparency and follow-up, reducing cost per click, impression, and view while optimizing performance.
“At Skyrocket we appreciate working directly with self-service platforms on our campaigns, but we also value providers with powerful support teams that we collaborate with regularly, especially in the planning and implementation of campaigns,” he says.
“When we are lucky enough to find providers capable and willing to offer us continuous monitoring of our campaigns, it is an added benefit that we value a lot.”
Self-service or managed?
These two options are not mutually exclusive since while self-service platforms provide higher activation speed and greater flexibility to run adjustments to campaigns, managed services providers can offer strategic support for new proposals, technical support in case of difficulties, and external feedback.
“The planning of campaigns is enhanced when working with a managed service provider as you are exposed to new ideas,” says Alex. “On several occasions I have gone to a supplier with a ‘definitive’ plan that later changed because they made proposals that were interesting to test or showed new creatives or their internal tools advised changing the weight of the strategies to maximize reach.”
In addition, the estimation of results is usually much more accurate and the planning support that managed services platforms can offer is time saved by the agency.
“Of course, you have to analyze it before you include it (or not) in the client’s media plan,” he adds. “But finding the balance between what the provider can offer you and your knowledge about the client’s market is what makes the difference between a good plan and the best plan.”
The biggest challenge lies in integrating all the providers and tools in an omnichannel strategy. The agency has a panoramic view of all the activated media but the providers do not, so they will need to receive both global and specific data for the campaign to ensure that the cross-frequency is not counterproductive, that attribution is adequately measured, and there is no cannibalization.
Skyrocket Digital Media manages this process through ad servers and web analytics tools.
Choose to be different
When choosing a managed service provider, Alex recommends looking for marketing technology firms that offer something different, provide personal attention and the best customer service, are responsive, and deliver a real-time view of the performance of the campaigns.
“What differentiates a good programmatic professional from a great one is not only their experience but also their network of providers and knowledge of the ecosystem,” says Alex. “In our profession you cannot be a lone wolf – it is such a broad, complex and changing ecosystem that isolating yourself is a mistake.”
When Skyrocket Digital Media approaches clients with new providers, they expect it to offer them new creative formats, emerging channels, and access to inaccessible inventories. As an agency, having a range of providers that support all possible actions is important, but they have to be justifiable.
“This means we have to consider that sometimes the desire to be as innovative as possible has to be weighed against increased cost with respect to lines that have been working well,” acknowledges Alex. “Our job is to maximize innovation while maintaining lines that deliver good results.”
A major part of Alex’s role at Skyrocket is to continuously evaluate new possibilities, so he regularly meets with marketing technology providers who he feels have something interesting to offer.
“Whether I have never been in touch with them before or they are already part of my network, I try to get together with them at least a couple of times a year to discuss new developments and/or success stories they want to share, or simply future predictions for the market,” he says. “In other words, I try to continue innovating, learning and anticipating the new realities to come.”
Finding the right approach
Alex observes that there are some channels or verticals that lend themselves to managed services better than others, especially when actions become more accessible via demand side platforms.
“When this happens the logic of the market changes – it is easier to carry out these services in-house, because the dynamics are simpler when there are fewer participants in the process,” he says. “However, those more incipient channels or most closed inventories require dialogue with third parties.”
The same is true for campaigns that require especially advanced technical aspects, either because of creative formats that require development or technical factors such as offline conversion measurement or dynamic campaigns based on data feeds.
“We are up to date with new possibilities but not always able to react accordingly in the short term,” concludes Alex. “In these scenarios it is valuable to have managed service platforms that can explain the reasoning behind each decision.”
As he explains above, using self-service platforms or managed service providers is not an either-or decision. What is important is choosing the most appropriate solution for each client and staying up to date with new marketing technologies and developing strategies.
If you have any questions, comments or issues, or you’re interested in meeting with us, please get in touch.