Trustpower’s digital channel manager Wayne Ramshaw describes himself as a “digital traditionalist”—a descriptor, he says, that comes from having spent his entire career working in the digital space.
Wayne Ramshaw (second from left)
Contrary to the idea that the introduction of technology makes things simpler, Ramshaw’s job has in fact become much more difficult over the last four years.
The explosion of ad tech providers on the market every year has incrementally made it more challenging for Ramshaw (and his counterparts at other companies) to choose a provider capable of delivering the objectives he’s looking to achieve.
Ramshaw says that in his experience digital channel managers rarely settle on the first provider they encounter.
“I think you’ve got to try a few different partners, and that’s certainly what we did,” he says. “They all work, but it’s just that some work better than others and those are the ones you want to put your money into.”
It’s not difficult to see why Ramshaw recommends trying a few services before settling on one. Pitches from ad tech companies generally take the same route, with the sales team promising efficiency, scale and measurement that can’t be achieved in traditional channels.
To the unannointed in ad tech, there’s a clear risk for smoke and mirrors and lofty promises that never measure up to how good everything originally sounded.
“There’s definitely the opportunity for this,” Ramshaw says. “But we haven’t found that to be the case, mostly because we’ve been pretty robust in the questions we ask and the trials we put our partners through.”
He says that when he approached AdRoll (at a trade event), he asked a range of questions of re-targeting, which the event attendees answered without a problem.
“I realised that they were pretty aligned with what we were thinking, so we started working together.”
Ramshaw says that another major advantage of AdRoll was that the company’s product comes packaged with a strong support structure that’s surprisingly difficult to find in the space.
“There are some mass market tools out there that are based on ‘set and forget’, and I think a lot of organisations fall into the trap of using them, thinking that this is marketing automation,” he says.
“You don’t really get any help with them. They’re just bought off the shelf. There’s no one you can contact. You just use them yourself. The difference with AdRoll is that you get the tools, but you get their brains as well.”
Ramshaw says the added value hook of a support structure has made a major difference in ensuring that he gets the most out of the tech at his disposal.
“What we’ve seen with the level of sophistication that we’ve put in with AdRoll is that we’re nurturing people through the journey a lot more efficiently. And a lot more of our net new customers are coming back. And the more they come back, the more we see an uplift in sales as well.”
Having customers return is particularly important to Trustpower because most of the company’s customers don’t finalise a purchase on their first visit.
“Our purchase funnel isn’t really a first-time view and purchase. We put it down to a three-week cycle with our product set, from first touch to last. And AdRoll makes it easy to manage that.”
Because the system has registered such positive results for Trustpower, Ramshaw says that the marketing team collaborating more closely with the digital team—and this is something he’s noticed across the industry.
“In the past you’d have the head of online or the head of digital and they were just fighting for budgets, but they’re now making it a more seamless experience.”
No discussion on ad tech would be complete without at least some mention of ad fraud, ad blocking and viewability.
Ramshaw admits that these issues are certainly are a concern to anyone investing in digital advertising.
“You hear some horror stories,” he says.
“I’ve just recently read an article that said that 60 percent of impressions were bots. And that was only revealed by a company with massive budgets and the tools to work that out.”
Fortunately, Ramshaw sees a few solutions emerging.
“There are some tools coming out now, like Moat, that does a lot of this for you. Through your partner, you can see how much of inventory is below the fold or bots. I suspect that tools like these will become more popular.”
If there’s one thing the digital space has shown us time and time again, it’s the emergence of innovative solutions to tricky problems. And there’s no doubt that a few tech geniuses are sitting somewhere right now, working towards a new way to overcome the issues of viewability, ad fraud and ad blocking.
You can rest assured that both Ramshaw and AdRoll will be paying very careful attention to what happens in this space.