Advertising is something that’s both familiar to us all and constantly evolving. Working in an industry undergoing massive change means I’m always kept on my toes.
As a sales exec for our adtech vertical, providing infrastructure advice is my primary objective but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To do my job well, I’ve got to know my world inside out and understand the trends, challenges, and changes impacting the industry at any given time. Right now, that means staying abreast of industry-wide M&A activity, ad fraud prevention techniques, a fast-changing data privacy landscape, and the accelerating adoption of AI and ML within the sector. Digitization happened practically overnight and now AI is the next big leap.
Adtech is an extremely diverse industry. There’s the demand-side, the sell-side, and a ton of niche players in-between. This lends itself to unpredictability. The way companies define themselves is constantly changing. For instance, right now we’re seeing more companies identify as full-stack marketing agencies, meaning they do both martech and adtech. Then there’s the growth of niche ad creative platforms using AI to generate ad creative from scratch. And, of course, there’s also a rapidly growing ad fraud prevention segment.
The long and short of it is that we touch nearly every aspect of an ecosystem that never sits still. No company’s infrastructure needs are the same which means my role is a highly consultative one.
I’m a parent so mornings often involve wrestling with children. I’ll usually wake up 10 minutes before my two girls to get some quiet time before the mayhem ensues. After that the challenge is to get them to school with breakfast in their bellies and the right clothes on.
Not that easy, let me tell you.
Then it’s time to jump into the car for my morning commute. Monday to Wednesday I use this time to focus on self-development. Recently I’ve been listening to ‘The Culture Map’, which is all about communication styles across cultures.
Come Thursday, I swap educational audiobooks for music. Drum and bass, Taylor Swift, whatever I’m feeling that day. There’s only one rule. It’s got to be loud.
I find routine really helpful. When I get to the office, I’ll start by reviewing the day’s projects and opportunities then catch up on industry news through my vast library of Google alerts and newsletter subscriptions. After that, I’ll check in with adtech SDR (and my work neighbor) Aaron. Carving out some time to discuss our respective customer updates, event preparations, as well as any concerns or challenges for that day means we’re always up to speed and able to support each other.
Throughout the day I make a lot of new business calls and check in with my accounts to see how they’re doing. It’s an opportunity for our accounts to voice any concerns, challenges, or updates and for me to offer support accordingly. The form of communication varies, from calls to video meetings to instant messaging – our goal is to make it as easy as possible for our customers to access support.
Lunch time is pool table time. We’re partial to a game of Killer in the Guildford office. I’m hardly cleaning the table but it’s a great way to take a short break from the stresses of the day.
When I’m not in the office I’m out at industry events getting face-to-face with the ad world, socializing with contacts, networking…and getting rejected from drinks parties (that’s a story for another day).
After working in IT security for almost a decade, I felt I’d run my course in that space. The securities sector is, by nature, pretty closed off and I wanted to work in a more collaborative environment. My goal was to stay in IT but to find a more open audience and company culture.
That’s what appealed to me about servers.com. The coaching-centric ethos was so refreshing. Instead of “tell us what you’re doing, and we’ll tell you if you’re wrong” it’s “tell us what you’re doing, and we’ll guide you in the right direction”.
The team here is united by similar values which makes it a very cohesive environment. We build each other up and I never have a work-related cloud hanging over my head.
The adtech industry is complex, vast, and fast. For instance, when I started out, AI was something just a few companies were using. Now it’s everywhere.
There’s so much change happening right now. Privacy regulations are shifting, industry consolidation is rising, we’ve experienced a landmark Google lawsuit, and cookie depreciation is imminent. We’re completely changing how we measure success.
But people are still set in their ways when it comes to infrastructure. The hyperscale cloud goes hand in hand with startup culture, so it can be challenging to cut through the noise.
Seasonality is another challenge. We’ve found that infrastructure decisions tend to be made in the month or two leading up to Q4. It can often feel like we’re having to fit a year’s worth of work into six months. Of course, the work doesn’t stop the other half of the year. It’s essential to continue nurturing relationships even when company decision-makers are more reluctant to act. The lack of tangible results during these times can be challenging but as a sales executive it’s important to stay mentally resilient and trust in your strategy.
Finding the right events to attend has been a struggle. We’ve spent a long time looking for an expo that’s the right fit for us. But last year we found it.
Walking into the hall at DMEXCO for the first time was a game changing moment. Seeing the right names plastered all over the conference center was incredibly validating and made all the work leading up to the event worth it. We’d found our European event. And now we’re on the hunt for a US equivalent.
In previous roles the computer screen was where everything started and ended. Events were a necessary evil not to be encouraged. But that couldn’t be further from the truth here. Face-to-face interactions are valued, and I’m trusted to travel out to events, get in front of people, and put my best self forward.
I haven’t always had an industry-focused role like this. In the past I’ve been required to work with a geographical focus. Now instead of being a jack of all trades I can be a master of one. That said, there’s no shortage of variety. Advertising permeates pretty much every industry, so I get exposure to a lot of other sectors which keeps things interesting.
It’s easy to keep your head down and power through but stopping to reflect is the best thing you’ll ever do. By putting time into learning about the intricacies of your industry you’ll find out where your focus should be and stay ahead of any surprises.
It means that when you’re having buzzwords and abbreviations thrown at you from all sides, you’ll be one step ahead and prepared for the conversation.
After work I spend time with my family. My two daughters love to play and are partial to a bit of gaming too. My eldest loves The Sims but my youngest (otherwise known as chaos incarnate) prefers to sit on my lap to watch me play God of War.
After that it’s time for homework, getting ready for bed, and a bedtime story. If it’s a busy period, I’ll try to beat the time zones and do some prospecting in California. Otherwise, I’ll play some Call of Duty or FIFA to unwind from the day.
And let’s not forget dinner. My confidence in the kitchen has grown recently (Lewis has been coaching me but let’s not give him too much credit). I really enjoy experimenting with new dishes and my chicken alfredo has had five-star reviews.
In an industry defined by constant innovation, Adtech specialist Bradley helps customers realise their strategies with reliable, scalable infrastructure.
He’s a Reading FC and F1 fan, and father of two.