"the executioner" opinion expressed below is written by Natalie DiBerto, Lead, Account Services, Ad Exchanges, at Razorfish.The search skill set is more aligned with the tools necessary to execute exchange buys on demand-based platforms. SEM managers take care of the whole shebang: they plan, buy, execute, and report on data that requires aggregation from front end and back end data sources. A seasoned SEM manager gets it when it comes to needing fluid and flexible budgets in an auction environment. In the future, particularly in the realm of direct response, media planners will need to rely less on strong communication and negotiation skills, and more heavily on data and analytics skills. There is a reason why planners don’t typically run search campaigns, and that’s usually because the release of Office 2007 with a million functional rows didn’t increase their heart rate (in a good way).
In general, it is a difficult task to change the way people think about buying media and in some cases, convince people that there needs to be a change in the way they think. Now that the nature of media buying is changing due to new technology, agencies need to adapt to the landscape and find ways to adopt and accommodate change. Transition isn’t easy. Some people will embrace it, some won’t know how.
Should media planners and buyers be expected to work toward a proficient understanding of demand-based platforms and have a background in analytics, or should agencies employ a specific group that specializes in exchanges and train them from scratch? The real question is, how will they deal with these questions and what will it take to evoke change?