With programmatic partners, two’s company, but when is it a crowd?

Dear PulsePoint,

I thought my new partner could give me everything I needed. I was naive.

Sure, it was great at supplying me with basic display, and it even opened my eyes to mobile. But while that was fine for a time, it got old. I felt unfulfilled.

I started noticing gaps in how it met my needs: Where was the video? Where was the native inventory? (No camouflage jokes, please, it’s a soft spot.)

Frustrated, I turned to the only place I could: other partners. I fell down a spiral of disconnected, one-off flings to meet client objectives campaign by campaign. But the experience felt so shallow.

I need something more, and I’m not getting it. Help me, PulsePoint. You’re my only hope.

An agency athirst

Dear Thirsty,

We’ve all been there. We thought we knew what we wanted at the time, and we found a partner that could provide. Maybe you found the perfect match for outstream video, or a platform that was really into native. You felt great.

But time changes all things, including your programmatic proclivities. Your business matured, your needs expanded and, suddenly, hitting consumers with one type of ad wasn’t hitting the spot. You were after real connections, real creative engagement, and for that, you needed a partner with a much wider repertoire.

You know, there are partners out there who can do it all. These worldly, experienced platforms are familiar with all of the formats that are welcome across the wider web, from the tried and true to the IAB’s Rising Stars. They can help you avoid high-price-point experiments that just don’t have scale on their side while still staying on the cutting edge of the industry. (If you’re into the extremely custom stuff, you’ll likely still have to get that on the side. Don’t feel guilty.)

A great partner with a breadth of knowledge like this will make your relationship feel less transactional and more like a real union. Isn’t that what you’re missing?

The alternative, you well know, can’t last. It’s stressful to bounce around from partner to partner. It’s hard to remember what you’re going to each one for (or even to remember their names, which can lead to some awkward situations). Not only that, but rates could vary wildly across your set of suitors, adding to the complexity of building an effective media plan. And coordination between them? Forget about it.

So don’t sell yourself short. You have a huge job on your shoulders, and a small or fragmented set of techniques isn’t going to hit all the right consumers’ buttons forever. Don’t expect what worked once to work forever.

Get out there and play the field until you find a partner that views you as you should be viewing yourself: as a multidimensional, interesting agency with a lot of demands and a lot of potential.

You deserve this.


Looking for more words of programmatic wisdom? Download the full ebook, Proper Conduct for a Programmatic Age.


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