Greg Williams is currently the Senior VP of OPEN Partnerships, as well as a Co-founder of MediaMath, a digital marketing technology development company that offers deep industry expertise, allowing marketers to communicate with consumers individually and on scale. Prior to co-founding MediaMath, Williams led advertising media strategy for global brands. The Makegood recently spoke with Williams regarding the newly launched OPEN Buyer Certification Program.
The Makegood: Congratulations on your launch of the OPEN Buyer Certification program. This program was made to present growth opportunities to the companies that excel in industry awareness and programmatic media buying. Could you elaborate on what exactly this means for the companies that receive the certification?
Thank you. The overall OPEN Program was designed to help ad tech professionals learn about the constantly changing ecosystem of partners and to foster opportunities for connection and collaboration between marketers and the organizations that support them. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise among the organizations engaged inprogrammatic media buying. By developing a certification program for organizations, we’re creating a community of expert users of digital marketing software who can represent their brands and be role models for new digital innovation. This enables our buyers to have the opportunity to better position and differentiate themselves in the space.
Thus, one of the primary benefits of the OPEN Certification Program is lead referral. MediaMath will help our most strategic certified buyers grow their businesses by driving inquiries from marketers to our platinum-certified buyers so that these marketers can make more informed business decisions with input from the experts in the marketplace. Furthermore, we also will present certified buyers with marketing and PR opportunities to help promote their expertise and strategic capabilities, including content and event collaboration, participation of media interviews, features on our OPEN site, the MediaMath blog and more. Finally, we also engage our certified buyers in our product development and testing, and provide them with the opportunity to be part of our beta programs as we go to market with new features.
The Makegood: As with any certification, there are requirements that companies must meet in order to be certified. What qualities should a digital marketing firm have in order to qualify for certification?
A digital marketing firm that is looking to qualify for certification should be one that fully embraces platform-based marketing approaches and programmatic strategies within their organizations, as well as takes an active role in sharing best practices and success stories, to both educate and advance the market. Essentially we are looking for those organizations that are focused on driving marketer ROI and digital innovation.
Specifically, we have categorized our certification criteria in three main areas.
- Marketplace Presence. This category is focused on how active a company is in promoting programmatic strategies and cultivating them through leadership in the market; This could include activities such as producing case studies and content, building a presence at industry events, advancing education through New Marketing Institute courses or many more.
- Platform Usage. This category focuses on how buyers are adopting platform marketing approaches efficiently and effectively, as well as activating the full suite of products and range of features available to them within the platform.
- Strategic Initiatives. For this category, we consider how the organization is driving digital innovation. Most often, this manifests itself in the form of business building activities on top of our platform, as well as advancing the industry as it relates to programmatic marketing.
The Makegood: This type of certification will encourage digital agencies to step up their game in order to maintain a competitive stance. What was the goal behind the creation of this program, and what made you believe that it was necessary to the industry?
A common test that we apply internally when making business decisions is: “Does this drive marketer ROI and advance digital innovation?” Translated, we were looking to develop a program that advances programmatic marketing in the overall mix and strengthens the relationships between brands and their media buying or trading organizations. The overall program is designed to identify and acknowledge those that have a proven commitment to this philosophy. The feedback we received from many of our buyers has only reinforced this need in market; the need for a program that helps marketers make sense of the options available to them.
The Makegood: In the future, more and more companies will become qualified for certification, and ultimately certified. At some point, will you update the certification program to make it more challenging for companies to become certified? In other words, will the program eventually seek more innovative qualities?
Absolutely. This is a program that will constantly evolve. As the industry grows and programmatic strategies are more rapidly adopted, we will evaluate our criteria to ensure they remain relevant and seek the core principles of what this program is about. In addition to modifying and expanding qualifying criteria on a regular basis, we will also further categorize our certified buyers across industry verticals– and distill down to the needs within specific segments–as well as based on geographical locations. Of note, our certified buyers will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they maintain qualification.
The Makegood: MediaMath is based in several different locations globally. Will the program be extending to the companies you work with around the world? Will qualifications be different for those companies?
We are a global company and our platform is being utilized in virtually every region of the world. When we designed the program, we did so with a global approach in mind. In fact, we have a number of global buyers that have already started the certification process. I could not be more thrilled with the adoption of this program throughout each region.
The Makegood: Thank you, Greg.