Brands that cede too much authority to their agencies in the programmatic world risk missing out on some big opportunities, and can also sacrifice transparency.

That’s the view of Lenovo’s Head of Digital and Social in the Asia Pacific, Danielle Uskovic (pictured below). She told Which-50, “When I started talking directly to publishers I was absolutely gobsmacked about what they were able to offer above and beyond just doing a standard buy with them. They were willing to share first-party data, they were willing to do events. They would do it all.”

In contrast, she said, “Agencies want to charge you for all of this. But they get all of this free stuff and they say you’ve got to buy it.”

She said she would strongly recommend to marketers that they take control of programmatic themselves.

That doesn’t necessarily mean excluding agencies altogether. In fact, Uskovic’s Australian team has recently returned programmatic buying to partner channels. However, Uskovic says, they are now much better equipped to manage the agency relationship and the service levels provided because of what has been learned.

Danielle Uskovic Head of Digital & Social at Lenovo Asia Pacific
Danielle Uskovic
Head of Digital & Social at Lenovo Asia Pacific

According to Uskovic, the decision to bring programmatic in-house was more about control and transparency than cost. “I saw programmatic was the future, and technology is fundamental to that. We wanted control over our own destiny.”

As it turned out there were wins on the cost front as well. “By doing it in-house we managed to reduce the CPM cost and the overall administrative cost as well.”

She says Lenovo also achieved better results across the board in areas like brand safety and viewability. “It opened my eyes to what goes on in the marketplace, which I did not have visibility to before.

“Agencies only tell you what they want you to hear, they don’t understand your business, they don’t understand your strategy and they only want to push inventory based on the deals they’ve done in the back end. Because they’re the ones who are getting all of the kickbacks.”

This time around, Lenovo is doing things differently. For instance, Lenovo will own the technology — it uses TubeMogul, which is now the Adobe Advertising Cloud (She was talking to us in between sessions at last week’s Adobe Symposium). “And the data is still ours — we own it and we get full transparency.”

Personalisation

Which-50 asked Uskovic what personalisation means to a company like Lenovo, which has such a disparate audience — from data centre customers to high-end gamers and just about everything in between.

“From a Lenovo perspective, we are all about customer experience. We want to make sure that our customers get a consistent experience no matter where they talk to us, and irrespective of whether they are commercial or consumer.

“I think we’re in a unique position. We have the technology so we can personalise experiences depending on how much information we have on our customers. It is really making sure that we are delivering the right message at the right time and to the right person.”

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