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An Interview with Ed Haslam

Former Senior Vice President of Marketing at YuMe

Ed Haslam oversees marketing at YuMe, a provider of digital video brand advertising solutions.

Prior to joining YuMe, Haslam was co-founder and vice president of marketing of Ludic Labs, which was acquired by Groupon. At Ludic, he developed the social media community Diddit.com and local commerce service OfferFoundry.com. Prior to that, Haslam served as the founding marketing executive for several venture-backed technology companies including Orbital Data (acquired by Citrix) and Inktomi (acquired by Yahoo!)

(Editor’s note: Ed Haslam was interviewed by eMarketer on October 11, 2013; he was named SVP of Marketing at PlaceIQ in July 2014.)

Can you describe your role?

Ed Haslam: I’m responsible for global marketing, which includes product marketing or essentially marketing strategy, corporate marketing and the field marketing organization. We have a small research and technical marketing organization that also reports to me, as well as people in Europe. We are operating right now in the US, the UK, France, Spain, Germany and the Nordic countries.

What are your three biggest business priorities?

Haslam: Our corporate vision is built around the idea of a shift from traditional linear and cable TV to what we call multiscreen video and the fragmentation of attention. We have two strategic initiatives.

One is to help advertisers understand how to reach the audiences they used to find on TV and are now having an increasingly harder time finding. We help educate them on how to find their audiences.

Then second, on the supply side, we help publishers make their inventory available across multiple screens so it’s easily reachable by brand advertisers as part of a large-scale campaign. So we complement TV by extending it to multiscreen digital video across a wide variety of publishers and websites.

We are positioned in the midtail of digital video. We’re representing a large variety of what we think of as the next generation of cable TV providers. We call it premium short-form video content, and there’s a huge supply of it. It’s growing very fast.

What are the biggest challenges in the video sector?

Haslam: If you’re looking at the multiscreen context, the biggest challenge our customers face—which then becomes an educational challenge for us—is that they want to measure activity across screens. There’s a cross-screen measurement issue that Nielsen and comScore are busily working on.

Our clients also want to better understand how consumers behave differently on different screens. They want to know whether they should have different types of advertising creative for each screen, different interactive elements in their ad units, depending on the screen type.

They know they need to reach the audience across screens, but they don’t know how to measure whether they’ve reached cross-screen in a deep sense to see real changes in brand lift, engagement and brand recall.

In addition, they want to know whether they should focus more on mobile for a particular campaign, or on connected TV and what is the right media mix by screen type. Those are two things we hear all the time from our customers.

What else are marketers concerned with as they plan video for next year?

Haslam: In general, they’re wondering, at the highest level, “What’s the right mix of TV and digital video? Am I overspending on TV?” Not because TV isn’t effective, but because it’s not as price-competitive. Or they’re asking, “Are certain demographics more reachable online than on TV, and should I split my plan up accordingly?”

At a macro-level, marketers are trying to think about how to split the budget. It’s top of mind because just like any other business, the agency model is constantly under margin pressure. Agencies are always looking for ways to improve their margins, and as marketing channels become more automated, their clients are asking them, “Do your margins make sense in this world where you no longer have to call individual magazine publishers and negotiate one-off deals with TV networks?” Agencies can just go to a marketplace or an exchange. There are a lot of different ways to think about advertising inventory.

Are your clients mostly agencies and publishers?

Haslam: Most of our revenues come from agencies, and that budget comes from their clients—brand marketers. In the end, brand advertisers are still buying media through their agencies. We do almost no direct-to-brand brokering of inventory.

On the publisher side, there is a large number of digital media publishers. There is also a huge number of mobile apps across smartphones and tablets—apps are growing faster than the web, and app developers are a very large customer base for us. The final category is the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the connected TV manufacturers—the Samsungs and LGs of the world that are actually selling their menu system inventory as media. They’re running ads on the interactive menu.

How do you and your team use eMarketer?

Haslam: We look at a lot of the reports that aggregate many sources of information and distill higher-level trends. We use eMarketer research to inform our market strategy in terms of what we build. Our product marketing team submits what we call market requirement documents, or MRDs, and it uses research to better understand market trends and predict where we want to go in the future and what we want to be building.

Secondly, we use eMarketer research when we’re selling, so we cite eMarketer research in our sales presentations to help educate customers on what’s happening in the marketplace. We’re using it to prepare presentations that are designed to try to get new business.

Do you have any examples of where you’ve used eMarketer to make client recommendations?

Haslam: Yes, certainly in a presale situation where we’re trying to educate potential customers, we use eMarketer data and research quite a bit. For example, let’s say it’s a new brand represented by one of the four big ad agency holding company’s agencies. Maybe that brand has primarily been a TV advertiser but is entering the world of online video for the first time. Or it has been doing online advertising for a while but wants to understand whether to add mobile, tablet or connected TV advertising. We use eMarketer research to help educate brands on how much time consumers spend on those screens, what types of consumers spend time on those screens and in what situations people use those screens. We certainly use eMarketer data and research reports to help educate brand marketers.

When we run actual campaigns, our own back-end system is managing all the media allocations to particular screens and helping optimize the right mix across screens.

The product marketing team uses eMarketer for diving into specific segments—so it looks at what’s going on, for example, with Hispanics, in the auto sector and other verticals. The team also looks a lot into specific regions. We want to know whether we should enter a new market, so eMarketer data and content is a helpful guide for that.

What do you like best about eMarketer?

Haslam: It’s pragmatic easy access to the data we need for doing our day-to-day job. eMarketer is the easiest, most comprehensive source to check first to see if you can get data on the question you have in your mind.

What is the value of multisource research? Do you find it compelling?

Haslam: Without a doubt it is. It’s valuable to me to spend time in the database pulling some interactive charts in which eMarketer provides multisource market sizing data, for example, video advertising. The comparative estimates help me triangulate and ask myself, “Is this an aggressive, best-case, worst-case or mid-case sort of view on market trends?” That’s really valuable to me.

From a business standpoint, what keeps you up at night, and what keeps you revved up?

Haslam: I’m a marketing guy, so I think in terms of markets. The global TV market is about a $190 billion market. The global digital advertising market is about $100 billion. In fact, digital, for the first time in the history of media, is only the second media type to cross that threshold. TV crossed it first a long time ago.

I use the metaphor, “TV is dead. Long live TV.” TV is being reinvented. It’s not just the programming that’s changing dramatically and driving new viewers and increased viewership, but it’s the accessibility and the fact that I can get access to video content anywhere, at any time, and on any screen. That gets me excited.

When I click play on a video player, I generally am leaning back. Depending on what video player I clicked in, I’m leaning back, and that’s the perfect branding opportunity. I bring that up because we believe that in the past five years, the internet has become a branding medium. And therefore, because people are changing the way they watch TV, and the internet is now an appropriate place to brand, there’s going to be a huge opportunity for brand dollars to move to digital. We want to be part of that shift, and that’s exciting.

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Ed Haslam

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