Q&A with Pierre Naggar, Director of Sales, UK at MINT

By R. Larsson, Advertising Week

We sat down with industry veteran Pierre Naggar, Director of Sales, UK at MINT to discuss the key challenges for brands in managing digital advertising workflows, why brands should focus on campaign metrics vs audience data, and why AI is not coming for your job.

Q. What does Advertising Resource Management mean?

Advertising Resource Management (ARM) is to advertising what ERP is to finance and ops, and what CRM is to marketing. It is a technology that consolidates all the processes, resources and workflows that advertisers use every day into one single end-to-end system. In this way, ARM fuels advertisers by freeing them from tedious, manual tasks to focus on wider strategic goals, supported by real-time data and AI optimization.

Q. What are the key challenges for brands today when it comes to managing advertising resources?

Advertising is infinitely more complex today than it was as recently as ten years ago, with new channels and formats such as CTV, retail media, DOOH and digital audio — each with their own process and technical specifications — emerging in recent years to change the game.

In 2020, 66% of digital channels were walled gardens — by 2026, this is expected to rise to 82%. This growing fragmentation makes it difficult for brands to achieve the right levels of governance, transparency, and efficiency, while also resulting in higher operational costs. As brands struggle to orchestrate multiple media channels and achieve a unified view of advertising spend, this is having a significant impact on their ability to meet business objectives. Simultaneously, the deprecation of the third-party cookie is set to create serious information gaps for marketers, as campaign optimization will no longer be based on audience data, meaning historical data will become ever more important.

All this takes place as the average marketing budget drops to 6.4% of corporate revenues – the lowest level in modern history. At the same time, 54% of companies see data quality and completeness as the biggest challenge in the data-driven market right now. Brands are losing access to data and budgets, while media fragmentation and costs are on the rise. More than ever, marketers need to boost performance with the same amount of resources, which means understanding more of what they already have at their disposal.

Q. How do automation and AI help marketers overcome these? Can you provide an example?

Automation and AI can have a hugely positive impact on a company’s operating model, by helping marketers focus their resources on high-value tasks with tangible and measurable business outcomes. They also provide marketers with an easy way to try, test, and understand data. Freeing up time pushes the boundaries of decision-making, allowing for more in-depth, efficient strategic thinking. Simultaneously, democratising access to data fosters a culture shift towards collaboration, meaning that brands and agencies can work together more efficiently and focus on achieving their campaign objectives.

By way of an example, we partnered with an energy company for a transformational project — a software-led in-housing to own all core strategy and governance activities, leaving the hands-on-keyboard work to an external agency. Doing so provided the client with greater clarity over their advertising efforts and supply chain, while facilitating cost efficiencies and time savings. As a result, they strengthened their relationship with their media agency.

Q. Brands are facing tough times, what should they prioritize?

Brands need to rethink the way they communicate with their customers. Frequent changes in consumer behaviour make a flexible and nimble marketing machine for fast reaction times an absolute essential, while CFOs push for increased accountability. Every penny counts, for brands and customers, and every adjustment performed at the right time could have a real financial impact on both.

We believe that brands need to invest in technology that enables them to focus on making fact-based decisions, quickly. This is why it is so important to have a unified view of their marketing and advertising data, so they can optimise their channel mix, based on real-time insights. Like sales and financial departments, marketing departments should have access to resources that allow them to measure performance on a daily basis. This makes it easier to strategically plan and demonstrate ROI to leadership, at a time when showing the efficacy of campaigns is absolutely essential.

It’s also important, during such times of upheaval, that your culture as a marketing department, and as a business, is able to adapt to changing circumstances. Advertising resource management costs businesses billions every year, crippling departments and stifling agility and progress. Adopting a change management approach is key – make sure you have access to the right data, at the right time, and be prepared to pivot direction, or try something new, when change dictates it.

Q. What’s your biggest prediction for the industry?

The programmatic revolution of the 2010s created a complex ecosystem for marketers and a much longer supply chain. As a result, we are going to see a push for technologies that help organisations govern their data and processes to help simplify this complexity. It is impossible for anyone to keep up with the level of fragmentation that exists in our industry today, while simultaneously trying to pursue their business objectives, without the help of these technologies. MINT’s mission is to empower human thinking. I believe that AI, if managed correctly, will play an important role in streamlining repetitive tasks and freeing up time for people to focus on more strategic and creative work, thereby transforming how brands reach their audiences in the future.