MDC Partners' Varick Media has filled the role vacated by Darren Herman when he became the Chief Digital Officer of MDC's kbs+p. On Thursday, the media trading platform named Neeraj Kochhar its new president. He'll report into Herman. Read more on PaidContent.
Kochhar discussed his past experience at GroupM as well as the new data-driven agency model.
AdExchanger.com: How did your most recent GroupM experience prepare you for your role at Varick Media?
NK: My role at GroupM, while focused primarily on digital media, provided invaluable exposure and insight in to the underlying supply and demand economics that have long been the basis for media investment strategies and tactics on the traditional side of the business – primarily TV.
The broad and in-depth view of the operations provided a solid understanding of the workflow – from research to invoicing – that exists within digital media organizations. The experience also helped forge my beliefs and opinions about the core building blocks – data, technology/automation, skill set – that I believe will influence future success in a highly-fragmented, always-on, real-time digital media environment.
Looking at the holding company level, what draws you to MDC Partners?
It is, first and foremost, the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that MDC Partners actively promotes and encourages. Darren Herman started VMM almost 2 years ago and its success and growth is a testament of the support innovative individuals can expect within MDC.
Should agencies own technology? If yes, can agencies continue to innovate technology?
Darren and I share the same perspective on the technology question. Most agencies should stay away from ownership of extremely expensive and low-level technology; but VMM is not an agency. There are different parts of the ecosystem; there are pieces we want to own, so either building or acquiring is of interest to us. The backbone of VMM is based around technology and the people we attract to work at VMM all understand the importance of technology within a marketing services world.
Finally, we are firm believers that it is vital to adapt and adjust as the space matures because technology will evolve in tandem at a very rapid pace.
In your estimation, why do so many ad technology and media executives come from DoubleClick?
In its early years, at the height of the Internet boom, DoubleClick fostered an environment that drove rapid innovation, encouraged collaboration and, above all, rewarded individual contribution and commitment. The culture, dynamic, and opportunity attracted some of the best minds – many who had no media experience whatsoever – across all key areas. In fact, many individuals left jobs in well-established industries to pursue opportunities at DoubleClick.
So, there is definitely an early-mover element at play here and that is now broadly reflected across the industry.
I feel extremely fortunate that I can claim an association.