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Will business development managers soon need journey strategists to help drive online advertising sales?

Most peo­ple hold­ing media jobs in inter­net adver­tis­ing will be aware that the core roles for dri­ving online adver­tis­ing sales include busi­ness devel­op­ment man­agers, adver­tis­ing sales man­agers and search engine mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ists. But as the indus­try faces dis­rup­tion through the uptake of ad block­ing tech­nolo­gies, could agen­cies now require a new type of pro­fes­sion­al: the jour­ney strategist?

Adblock­ing + track­ing = disruption

That’s the view of one lead­ing adver­tis­ing exec­u­tive. In an inter­view with the New York Times, the CEO of mar­ket­ing agency Mar­ke­to Phil Fer­nan­dez respond­ed to changes in the adver­tis­ing land­scape. It’s not just the spread of ad block­ing soft­ware – it’s the wide­spread deploy­ment of on and offline track­ing to dis­cern user tastes and even friend­ships, so that the ads they receive are the ones that algo­rithms sug­gest they’ll be most like­ly to act upon.

If the track­ing data sug­gests a poten­tial con­sumer is inter­est­ed in some­thing expen­sive — like, say, an RV or a lux­u­ry fridge – he or she will be fed ads over the com­ing days or even months reflect­ing that inter­est. A sin­gle ad inevitably los­es much of its impor­tance and impact as a result and may start to play a less promi­nent role in broad­er marketing.

Fer­nan­dez has a solution:

“Agen­cies have to think about hav­ing a ‘jour­ney strate­gist,’ nei­ther a data head or a pure cre­ative, who maps where you’re going with a prod­uct, and fig­ures out the best pos­si­ble way that jour­ney goes.”

Sus­tain­ing durable relationships

The art of study­ing and under­stand­ing con­sumers and client needs will, he says, become “greater than just a pitch.” Adver­tis­ing, mar­ket­ing and sales, he argues “are all going to be much more continuous.”

Com­pa­nies can now put out more ads than ever, he explained, large­ly because it’s become cheap­er to do so than it was even a cou­ple of years ago. But track­ing and data manip­u­la­tion could be a threat to tra­di­tion­al agen­cies because their cus­tomers may well start doing it for them­selves, he says. Increas­ing­ly, cor­po­ra­tions are employ­ing infra­struc­ture peo­ple and cam­paign peo­ple and are busi­ly build­ing data­bas­es of advo­cates for them­selves. They want last­ing rela­tion­ships with their cus­tomers, Fer­nan­dez argues.

Busi­ness devel­op­ment man­agers will con­tin­ue to play a key role in inter­net adver­tis­ing agen­cies; but maybe they’ll be joined by jour­ney strate­gists some time soon.

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