Sunday, May 26, 2024

Inside The Mind Of . . . Philip Smolin

A digital marketing innovator for a quarter century, Philip Smolin is an industry expert on data and analytics, programmatic media buying, audience targeting, and the emerging business models redefining marketing.

As Chief Strategy Officer of Amobee, Smolin is responsible for driving their global strategy and key growth initiatives that integrate data, analytics and programmatic activation, to deliver industry leading solutions for global marketers operating on the Amobee platform.

Amobee touts itself as one of the largest global digital advertising technology companies, providing brands and agencies worldwide with tools to unify advertising across TV, digital and social, across all devices.

What’s unique about Amobee?

With our acquisition of Videology assets last year, we’re now leading the convergence of TV with all things digital. This is a big deal. It’s the next generation of advertising solutions, enabling marketers to see across the media walled gardens, to better understand and orchestrate the consumer journey, and understand how each channel is performing.

With our platform, all planning becomes data-enabled, where the same strategic target audience can be used across linear TV and digital. This solves a huge problem for both buyers and sellers.

Advertisers need good data to understand the what, and the why, about consumers.

What do companies in the B2B sphere need to know about Amobee, to grow their company?

Philip Smolin: Consumers are living increasingly fluid, improvised lives, deftly moving from one device to the next, with little predictability. Each of us does it on a daily basis. Marketers have to decipher these habits and deploy smart, cross-device solutions that reach consumers on the right screen at the right time.

Bringing channels—TV, digital and social—together enables us to help marketers activate elevated, omnichannel strategies. Your advertising can and should be driven by deep, data-driven analytical insights to reach consumers, effectively and respectfully, to achieve your business goals. I like to frame it as ‘we provide the science which powers the art of marketing.’

How is this impacting broadcasters?

Philip Smolin: Fun fact: while digital video is growing, TV consumption remains largely unchanged. By 2022 linear TV will still be 50 percent of all video spend. Most people don’t realize that.

And the growth in digital video is in professionally produced long-form and streaming content, not user-generated. So the opportunity is not to make TV work more like programmatic advertising, it’s to make programmatic work more like TV.

Rather than tearing down TV, broadcasters are looking to enhance linear and the upfronts with the best aspects of programmatic. This means using a brand’s first-party data, understanding their strategic targets, and being able to package both linear and digital media targeted in the same way.

The whole industry—not just consumer devices—is converging and broadcasters have to change to stay competitive.

What are the biggest challenges advertisers are facing now?

Philip Smolin: If you’re a marketer in this environment, you go through the upfronts, and you also know which digital and social sites are considered must-buy. But we’re seeing demand spike from marketers who want an alternative, and the ability to better understand consumers across the walled gardens.

Ultimately it’s about how to ensure you’re allocating and optimizing media budget to the right places. But this isn’t just a technology and data challenge. For many marketers, it’s also an organizational challenge, as they may also have to break down walls which separate their TV, social and digital/programmatic teams. That’s a non-trivial process. It’s organizational transformation.

What are advertisers not aware of, that they should be?

Philip Smolin: Trust. Transparency… As a vendor, it’s our job to make it easy for marketers to test a platform, and see firsthand the analytics and performance they’ll be utilizing.

We’ve also seen a shift from technology-based selling, to solution-based selling; not every marketer needs every capability that a vendor provides. But they need a technology partner who is ready to help them scale, and lead them in a forward-moving, phased approach, adding new solutions to the mix as their needs change.

Any technology partner should stand ready to work together with a brand or agency, to accelerate their digital transformation, when the time is right.

What do you love most about adtech?

Philip Smolin: Given the type of work we do, there’s an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit where we encourage people to take risks, fail fast, see where you made mistakes, and correct them. It’s really important that we can experiment with different solutions, and get a chance to correct course if needed, so it’s a great environment to exercise your brain. You might not guess it, but our biggest clients actively encourage and participate in the process, too.   


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Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at