Tom Bowman has worked at media owners, agency side, and in ad tech; having held a number of global roles at organisations such as Microsoft and BBC Worldwide. Bowman has over a decade of experience advising UK start-ups and scale-ups and boasts a strong track record of building international sales networks.
For me, it’s always about the people. Having worked in this industry for many years and experienced organisations with effective leadership teams you can learn from and respect, I know what a strong team looks like. The multilocal team is very talented, with a high level of integrity, humility and transparency and an attitude to provide excellent service. These are all qualities that appeal to me.
Naturally, the business idea must also be sound. When the service offering was explained to me around helping advertisers unlock their audiences, get their campaign spend away and deliver results, it immediately made sense. Having worked in operations and strategy for many companies, including the BBC, I’ve seen how fractured and fragmented digital is, and many marketers are crying out for support here.
In what way is digital fragmented?
Well, the perception of programmatic is of a highly automated approach, delivering efficiencies and speeding up processes. This is inaccurate. While some aspects are automated, such as bidding, other areas still rely on manual intervention, which can make it incredibly complex.
At the BBC, where we sold TV and digital together, I found digital was where the complications and delays occurred when we were trying to deliver integrated multichannel campaigns for brands. And it’s still true today.
One example is video. Senior advertising executives have confided that commitments to clients for digital video turnaround times significantly lag behind TV. We’re talking weeks rather than days in some cases! There is a significant opportunity for professional campaign management, and that’s why new solutions are needed.
So what’s the solution to this?
It’s about focusing on what’s important to advertisers. When you talk to marketers, they want to find the right audience, optimise their messaging and hit their campaign objectives. That’s it. They don’t obsess over technologies, supply chains or the myriad other issues that an inward-looking ad tech industry concerns itself with. To them, it’s just background noise.
Ultimately it comes down to simplifying things and making it easy for brands and agencies to unlock campaign success.
multilocal is about helping buyers curate audiences. What does this mean?
It’s about finding, organising and supplying the right audience to an advertiser and then optimising it to achieve their campaign goals. We’re reducing the friction for brands in getting their advertising in front of relevant audiences in the right environments.
But we’ve got the flexibility to work with businesses across the supply chain. This can be enabling publishers to use their inventory more efficiently, helping traders get their campaigns away or ensuring advertisers find the right audiences and optimise them. We’re unlocking the potential of digital campaigns so they hit each advertiser’s unique objectives.
Why is there a need for such a service today?
As I’ve said, programmatic has introduced complexity and friction into the buying and selling process, and as new technologies are constantly emerging, things get further complicated. For many businesses, gaining the skills or retaining the expertise needed to keep up to date with this fluid environment is impossible. While some are set up for it, many struggle and need support.
The past two-and-a-half years have seen online become even more central to people’s lives, and digital advertising has never been more important. Getting the fundamentals right is becoming a critical success factor in ensuring it’s efficient and effective. This makes it essential for companies to work with people who understand the industry and technology and can get their campaigns away.
How are you supporting the development of multilocal?
As a non-exec director, I’m here to advise and guide the board, so the business has the capabilities and resources to grow successfully.
I don’t have a magic wand. But what I do have is my experiences of being around successful and unsuccessful businesses, both large and small, and being part of the advertising and digital industry for so long. I can offer up guidance based on what I’ve seen work and not work and provide opinions on approaches to take.
And as it’s easy for fast-growing companies to be distracted, I’m also helping keep the business focused on the right things, while ensuring opportunities with potential are properly assessed so they can be taken advantage of if they can benefit the business.