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CIMB CMO Adam Wee: Despite concerns, can marketers afford to ignore programmatic?

One of Malaysia’s most influential CMOs said yesterday that despite the risks that automated ad buying might pose for brands, marketers probably cannot afford to ignore the opportunities that programmatic presents.

Adam Wee talking at the Malaysian Media Conference yesterday

Adam Wee talking at the Malaysian Media Conference yesterday

Talking at the Malaysian Media Conference yesterday, Adam Wee, who is two months into his role as group CMO of CIMB, said that the “many concerns” associated with programmatic trading, such as ads erroneously ending up on pornography sites, presented brands with a dilemma.

Though programmatic offered brands more accurate, efficient targeting, there was still a trust issue holding marketers back.

“The complexity [of programmatic] is with regards to the area of actual measurement and actual outcome,” he said. “You get views. But how real is that data?

“That’s the dilemma in programmatic buying. That goes in a marketers’ mind when they’re considering whether or not to try it.”

“Can you not do it [programmatic]? Probably not,” he said. “You still have to go with the flow, and over time discover the most effective ways to make it work.”

“Programmatic buying doesn’t have 100 per cent trust [among marketers]. That’s how I feel, but it doesn’t stop me from trying it,” said Wee, who is one of Malaysia’s most highly respected marketers, having turned around the brand of his previous employer Maybank.

Choosing the right demand-side platform, the tech provider that manages a brand’s programmatic trading, was key, Wee added.

“You need to go for credible DSPs. You don’t want an ad to be served on a porn site. Your ad may still reach your audience, but the brand association would not be ideal,” Wee said.

Another concern for marketers, he said, is that they “can’t see the algorithm” and don’t understand how it works. Wee asked for a show of hands for who understood programmatic. Though Malaysian conference audiences are typically fairly shy, no one in the audience raised their hand.

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