Helping a legacy print organization transform into a digital-driven programmatic publisher collective

A traditional media audit firm with roots in print circulation and its publisher owners sought an opportunity to transform from a print-focused business to a digitally-empowered programmatic publisher collective. BPA had a strong relationship of trust in the advertising and publisher community, and needed to update its services to encompass programmatic buying and selling while leveraging the trust BPA has developed in the industry.

Challenge

The CEO and senior management had a vision to execute and deliver this opportunity of transforming a legacy print business into a digitally-driven private marketplace that would position them for future growth: the BPA Media Exchange. In order to execute their plan, they needed the support of a digitally-native team of experts who could validate and articulate the steps, challenges and benefits of the effort. This included making the case for how this investment would generate returns, and who would do the work of executing this vision.

Opportunity

When building an advertising exchange, you must think about the supply and the demand side of the equation. The demand side wanted to reach these audiences and inventory, but did not have the internal support to contact all numerous publishers directly. The publishers had limited sales resources and it was difficult for them to maintain relationships with large advertising holding companies. Most importantly, publishers were experiencing an increase in requests for programmatic options and needed to respond with a trusted partner and a practical solution.

“The top reasons publishers don’t currently use programmatic selling is scale, lack of familiarity with the process, and the challenge of establishing independent third-party quality differentiators,” explained BPA President and CEO Glenn Hansen. “The BPA PMP addresses those challenges. Already an established and trusted audit partner, the BPA PMP offers B2B buyers quality audited audiences and an automated way to reach them.”

The BPA Private Marketplace (PMP) is a prime opportunity for smaller, niche B2B member sites to expand their monetization capabilities beyond direct deals. Private marketplaces allow interested buyers to purchase on a guaranteed basis or bid on highly qualified publisher inventory, which commands premium rates. The process is managed in real time, allowing the highest bidder to win the inventory.

BPA Media Exchange

Approach

01: Secure Board Buy-In

Our first priority was to educate the Board of Directors on the importance of building a PMP. This phase of our engagement required us to shape the management’s vision into a story that clearly made the case for why this investment made sense, and how we planned to execute it.

02: Develop a Programmatic Strategy

A series of steps were taken to coalesce BPA and its publishers around a programmatic strategy including:

  • Educating B2B publishers on the value and opportunity in programmatic
  • Identify an SSP partner who could provide the necessary technology and service
  • Create workflow and sales plans to leverage sales efforts by the publisher, SSP and a 614 Group-driven sales channel
  • Negotiate a tri-party deal between BPA, the publishers and the SSP
  • Assist in operational aspects of getting publishers live and into a serviceable taxonomy

Revenue generation was at the core of our thought process when developing a strategy around selecting and deploying an sell-side platform. We determined the opportunity for revenue generation for publishers in an SSP revolved around the following customer use cases:

  • First and foremost, The SSP  had to service the publisher direct advertisers as they adopted programmatic
  • The SSP had to support targeted 3rd party sales to take advantage of the scale an SSP can deliver to brands
  • The SSP had to support backfill revenue for publishers to take advantage of all revenues
03: Create a Baseline Revenue Operations Function

We sought out to help the BPA create a baseline revenue operations function to take advantage of an industry-leading sales channel. This approach included:

  • Supply Operations/TAM
  • BI to Manage Inventory and Audiences
  • Create Audience Segments
  • Channel and Distribution Plan Creation
  • Negotiate and Launch Attendant Contracts

B2B publishers have to face the fact that programmatic advertising is here, and marketers and agencies are asking for it. If you’re not onboard, you’re going to miss the train.

Scott Roulet, VP, B2B Media Exchange

Results

By December 2018, over 100 participating B2B media brands, including BNP, Hart Energy, Stamats, and Foodservice Equipment Reports had adopted the BPA Media Exchange solution.

“Our advertisers value our audience; however, the inventory on many of our websites is limited”, said Tagg Henderson, Co-CEO with BNP Media. “We have a long-standing, trusted relationship with BPA and the Media Exchange gives us a favorable business model for today’s ad technology to target our audience across the web.”

Scott Roulet, Vice President of the B2B Media Exchange expects that the number of websites participating exchange could double by the end of June 2019.

“B2B publishers have to face the fact that programmatic advertising is here, and marketers and agencies are asking for it,” he explained. “If you’re not onboard, you’re going to miss the train.”


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