Programmatic Summit
Q&A with Ben Shepherd

All things programmatic, ad tech & digital with Ben Shepherd, CHE Proximity

Back in 2007 when Programmatic ad exchanges and real time bidding were just getting their legs, Ben Shepherd was well ensconced in the digital landscape working as an Associate Business Manager at Mindshare across key accounts like Ford, Disney and Motorola . Over a decade later, Ben is Chief Media Officer at CHE Proximity and loving every minute of it.

His passion is steeped in his fascination with the past, present and future of digital advertising and its evolution from inception to the exciting advancements in targeting and contextual placements. With an indefatigable curiosity, Ben is continually analysing creative, data, technology and CX to ascertain what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved upon in the ad tech space. His impending presence at the 2020 Programmatic Summit prompted us to have a chat about programmatic, data and new privacy legislation.

Privacy regulations and the reasonable use of data

With the expansion of privacy rights and the reasonable use of data under the international microscope, the GDPR will demand compliance from businesses who will need to ensure all data is gathered legally and in the best interest of data owners.

“This will impact every marketer and how they interact with customers and potential customers,” says Ben, “including their partners, both in an agency sense and technology wise.”

While some view this legislation as overregulation—sending customers through hoops with opt-in and consent forms, Ben disagrees. “I’m not a policy expert, but it is interesting to see the regulator taking a more active role in this space. The greater issue is what that constitutes, who it affects, and how you manage and monitor this”

In a world where every movement, utterance and keystroke we make is measured and stored in a business’s database, Ben agrees that the standardisation of data protection is a marginal price to pay for improved cyber-security and brand safety.

When asked about how brands that aren’t focussed on consumer-first privacy policies will have to adapt in order to win in the digital domain, Shepherd argues that
most privacy policies and user agreements aren’t consumer-first.

“They’re corporation-first by design,” he says. “Plenty of companies are winning in the digital domain with what I’d say isn’t a consumer-first approach to this area.”

However, with promised audits and non-compliance penalties, brands and businesses will be deeply encouraged, if not forced, to protect their customer data if they want to continue trading. On that point, Shepherd remains positive about the use of programmatic and its ability to merge data-led thinking with intricate creative executions to build rewarding work for its clients.

Programmatic – the missing chink in a creative agency’s armour

Given Ben Shepherd’s extensive work over the years and the industry knowledge he brings to the table, he will be presenting at Melbourne’s first Programmatic Summit this year.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to both present and attend past summits in Sydney, so it’s fantastic to see the event in Melbourne,” says Shepherd. “My session is around how CHE Proximity has evolved its addressable media offering within a wider agency construct and the lessons both the business and our people have learnt along the way.

CHE Proximity has always been about doing it differently, ramping up their programmatic team over the past three years in order to create material value for marketers across data, design and CX.

“We have a model that is unlike any other in market and one that will deliver strategic rigour and consultancy capabilities, as well as operational and delivery excellence.”

As part of a stellar lineup of key players and influencers in the programmatic sphere, Ben is excited about the event.

“It’s a chance to share our successes and challenges and also immerse our teams in what our peers are doing too. It will be a great day.”

More hot topics in programmatic will be discussed at the Programmatic Summit on Tuesday March 3rd in Melbourne and Thursday March 5th in Sydney.

Check out the agenda here and buy your tickets here.

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