Look at this ridiculous chart. If you’re in the digital ad world, you probably know it all too well.
If you’re not, you’ve likely seen it and thought, “Thank god I don’t have to memorize this thing.”
But like it or not, this is the universe,* and these logos represent the various services ad professionals must buy to do their jobs. Good luck deciding which of them (and the hundreds not listed) to do business with.
While at Adweek, I was assigned the “adtech” beat, and despite my best efforts, that area was not my strong suit. There are just so many companies offering “revolutionary” twists on the same solution that it felt impossible to make heads or tails of it.
Not helping was the fact that, being a mere industry observer, I wasn’t even using the dashboards, or enterprise software, or various other solutions they were offering, making it all the more difficult to choose which ones to write about. If my stories served to influence advertising professionals on which tools and services they would choose to pay for, I’d say a better system was required.
I mean, what else do they have to go on? Yes, other trade pubs cover the space with far more expertise than I did, but they still aren’t actually using the tools. Ad agency execs get an average of 20 calls or emails a week from startups pitching their solutions, but less than 20% of those calls end up in meetings. Only 10% of those who meet get an RFP from the agency, and only 10% of that group are selected for use. It’s a crowded, time-consuming market that could be simplified very easily.
At least, Gayle Meyers thinks so. She’s spent her entire career pitching various technology solutions to advertising professionals, holding leadership roles at 24/7 Real Media, Viewpoint, DoubleClick, and ValueClick. She’s noticed that in recent years, the volume of sales people knocking on agency doors has increased.
It’s impossible for agency people, who are just trying to do their jobs, to field so many incoming pitches from Casale Media or Criteo or TruEffect or Inmobi or ContextWeb or BlueKai or DoubleVerify or Pubmatic or AdMeld or Mojiva or Mojito or Martini or AdVampire or AdVomit or AdINYOURFACE or Ad#(@)#&%. … Anyway, you get the point.
That eventually led her to found the Digital Media Roundtable, a consortium of 160 media executives and 20 top VCs that, each month, get together to hear pitches from adtech companies and give them feedback. If they like what they hear, they offer the startup their stamp of approval. If they really like what they hear, they offer assistance that resembles an incubator. The roundtable has met nine times.
In organizing those events, Meyers realized the ad industry needs a learning platform across agencies and brands to share knowledge about the various tech solutions out there.
So she built it, and today, it’s available to the public. The DMR Index is a database for advertising professionals to search for solutions to their particular problems and get unbiased information about the myriad of adtech startups in the market.
The site features starred reviews from advertising professionals rating things like pricing, scalability, uniqueness, service, and innovation. The best part is that only other advertising professionals can post and view the reviews (and maybe, if I beg her, journalists?). Which means adtech guys can go into the system and fill out their profiles, but they can’t load their reviews with glowing PR crap.
Meyers says the index will be a welcome filter for busy ad professionals. 200 agencies like MEC and Havas have already signed on board. “They’re inundated with so many inbound requests. But they want to stay on top of all of the information in the market, and they want it a little more curated,” she said.
*Yes, I know it’s only the 2010 version, and that the most recent versions, which are broken out into search, display, social, commerce, and video, are even crazier. But they’re uploaded in PDF form and therefore not post-able. Charts via Luma Partners.