Welcome to the first episode of AdExchanger Talks, a new podcast on data-driven marketing. Following this discussion with GroupM's North America CEO, Brian Lesser, we will publish new episodes twice monthly.
If you need further proof of the big agency holding companies' seriousness about programmatic advertising, consider the rise of Brian Lesser.
Lesser started his WPP career as an ad tech product guy at 24/7 Real Media, which the holding company bought in 2007. After launching Xaxis and growing it into a $1 billion dollar business, he was promoted to CEO of GroupM North America, one of the biggest jobs in media buying.
"The nature of what GroupM is and does is changing," Lesser says in this episode. "GroupM is much more reliant on data and technology platforms and automation than it has been in the past."
He notes that GroupM was set up 13 years ago to create leverage for clients by aggregating their spend for media negotiations. He says leverage still exists today, but it's more about data and technology.
"Thirteen years ago, the concept of leverage was much different," he added. "My job is to transform GroupM to be much more about gathering data about consumers, because that's where our leverage is going to come from in the future. And that's how we're going to drive performance for clients."
For the inaugural episode of our AdExchanger Talks podcast, we're pleased to share a half-hour conversation in which Lesser answers a range of questions on GroupM's media buying ethos, agency transparency and the changing programmatic industry.
This episode of AdExchanger Talks is sponsored by Google AdSense.