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Melinda McLaughlinCMOExtreme Reach
Extreme Reach is an enterprise software company that helps clients leverage video assets across linear TV and digital video. eMarketer’s Patricia Orsini spoke with Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach, about how the company helps clients make sense of and use technology to ensure their ads reach consumers in the most targeted and efficient way.
eMarketer: You spent 10 years in TV at A+E Networks, and before that on the agency side before transitioning into ad tech. How do those experiences inform your role in the ad tech world?
Melinda McLaughlin: I would say every day it informs where I’ve been since. The agency side was the absolute best training ground, working for Procter & Gamble and Kraft, learning how to help them drive their business at a time when it was all about ideas and strategies and understanding your client deeply.
And then to go to the television side as technology was starting to disrupt and content was going everywhere. It was a massive change jumping from A+E Networks to Tremor Video and now Extreme Reach.
But if you think about it, it all comes back to the discipline of brand-building advertising, reaching people where it affects them. Yes, it’s now in the capsule of massively complicated technology and all this other disruption that’s going on. But I constantly remind myself and my team that we have to get back to where we’re delivering meaningful messages to the right people at the right time. In the end, the fundamental goals are the same, and the power of content remains paramount.
eMarketer: Is it difficult for a company like Extreme Reach to work with clients whose digital video ads are often repurposed TV ads?
McLaughlin: For that fundamental base of reach and frequency, which is an essential element of any big brand marketer’s plan, why wouldn’t you use the TV ad that you spent months and months and millions of dollars perfecting? You need and you want to leverage that across every screen while you layer onto it interesting things you do with integrated brand marketing or native advertising. But let’s not forget the base.
There is no reason that we shouldn’t be leveraging creative across all its destinations now, including TV. The more we don’t make a distinction between TV and digital video, the more we can help marketers and agencies who are facing enormous disruption—and stop forcing the paradigms of the [TV] set on the wall into the square pegs of digital infrastructure.
eMarketer: What does Extreme Reach do to help brands make sense of and use the technology?
McLaughlin: It’s still an industry with enormous inefficiency in many parts of the advertising life cycle. We’re helping our clients through a lot of managed service, showing them just how easy it is to get on the keyboard and make it happen in milliseconds.
eMarketer: As TV and digital converge, what are your clients depending on Extreme Reach to do?
McLaughlin: We connect their teams that are not used to coming together because the systems and the processes are different. I’ll give you an example: The minute that a TV ad is produced, it’s immediately ingested by our cloud platform, sitting there ready to be deployed. A broadcast traffic person sees that it has just been ingested, and then creates traffic instructions. We know in our technology exactly where that ad is going to go because we are connected to every TV station in the country. And it’s all seamless, as you would expect.
If you jump to the video side, that same advertiser is completely disconnected from the process I just described. At the digital agency they have sent possibly 60 emails back and forth with about five entities over three weeks to get a creative asset transcoded to work on every screen, which is like hundreds and hundreds of versions. It’s the same exact ad they ran on TV—it just went through a completely disconnected process.
So we have connected those teams, and we have saved a digital ad-ops person weeks of manual work. Our clients expect us to find the friction in the operation and suggest ways to remove that friction.
eMarketer: In terms of measuring the success of these operations, what are you able to give clients?
McLaughlin: For our digital clients, we can in one platform tell them where their video ads are running and give them deep video analytics. We show clients if there are viewability issues or bot issues. They are able to see it across all their buys.
We’ll continue to push the envelope in terms of innovative ways to converge television and video measurement. But before we even get there, there is work to be done on converging the creative process and workflow so that we are leveraging the efficiency that technology can bring.
eMarketer: As TV and video converge, do you think one will dominate?
McLaughlin: Even how we define TV and video—what is it anymore? The form and the function are decoupled from the device that delivers it. I don’t think one wins over the other. I think that winning marketing strategies will use the power of sight, sound and motion in all these new ways and [acknowledge] that they are, in a sense, co-dependent.
You will see a continued recalibration of the way dollars are spent buying linear television as it exists today vs. buying over-the-top [OTT], connected television, video—all the things that probably get rolled up into digital video spend projections. I think you’re absolutely going to see previously spent TV dollars move into digital video. But I don’t think it’s a good world ahead if one wins over another.
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