Programmatic marketing should be one of the most important tools in your company’s arsenal and yet it is one of the least understood marketing strategies.

Programmatic marketing is the term used to describe the practice of using automated bidding and placement platforms that buy and sell digital ad space in real time.

The decisions on the ad placements are made using hyper-specific data including the target consumers age, location, career, and specific consumer interests. This enables companies to launch hyper-targeted, extremely effective, ad campaigns that yield the highest ROI.

This allows businesses to target consumers across the full range of the internet. For example, if the algorithm determines that the most effective placement of the ad is on Facebook, then that is where it will be placed. If the algorithm determines that the most effective use of the campaign funds is to direct the ad to a more specialized website where there is a high concentration of targeted users, that is where it will be placed.

When creating a programmatic marketing campaign, the first step is to ask yourself, what does your brand stand for? Is an irreverent brand? Is it a serious brand? It is critical to first think about who you want to be at a higher level. It’s another form of customer-centricity. The best strategic approach is to begin with a broad target audience and then revise the campaign continuously as more data becomes available. Continuous iterative optimization is the best practice when deploying a programmatic marketing strategy and is the answer for how to continually compounding better economics in any marketing campaign. You can be outspent by your competitor, but you should never be “out-tested”.

A hugely differentiated factor of programmatic marketing is the sheer volume of tests you can actually run, meaningfully in any given time period.

An example of a highly effective programmatic marketing campaign was run by the digital and print publication The Economist. The Economist aimed to persuade readers to try the publication which covers topics from technology and finance to books and arts. A programmatic marketing approach allowed The Economist to customize its ads to its various target audiences and created several specialized audience cohorts which received hyper-personalized ads. In total more than 60 different ad versions, or unique personas, were created and resulted in 650,000 new prospects and a 10:1 ROI.

In traditional marketing efforts the analysis and optimization of campaigns are established after they have finished. Programmatic marketing ad campaigns are updated and optimized in real time.

Every business needs to think about implementing well executed programmatic marketing campaigns and look at what are the best practices, themes, processes and apply it to your business since it will be a uniquely powerful competitive differentiator.

The concept of branding and programmatic marketing is no longer only in the direct-to-consumer area.

Programmatic marketing can be especially valuable for B2B ad campaigns; in many B2C campaigns it is beneficial to target a mass audience, however, in the B2B sector the target audience of key decision makers is often much smaller / specialized and therefore is very well suited to a programmatic marketing approach. This kind of data-driven targeting is just not possible with conventional display advertising that is purchased upfront.

Other key benefits of programmatic marketing include:

Programmatic advertising continues to grow and is projected to account for 86.5% of all digital ad spend in the US in 2021.

This emerging trend is increasingly growing, and we can likely expect a programmatic approach to television and radio advertising in the near future.

There are also futurist implications for the natural next step in programmatic marketing which will potentially impact AR/VR environments where companies will be able to insert hyper specific targeted products or scenarios into a consumer’s virtual environment.

There is immense value to be gained from programmatic marketing practices for both B2B and B2B businesses. This is a business imperative to invest in best-in-class programmatic marketing, with the potential to impact every new technology medium and reach new target audiences.

Boards can ask management to share the approach to maximizing marketing investments and explore how they anticipate and mitigate risk, maximizing the effectiveness of every dollar spent on customer acquisition and retention. Contemporary, savvy boards can offer prudent business oversight on the everchanging AdTech space. We know as directors we need to ask management to show us the organizations future business plan, but we must also make sure our strategy and marketing is up to par with current digital marketing strategies.

Perhaps it would be useful for management to update the board at the next strategy session on the use of best-in-class programmatic marketing techniques!

As Americans, we’re used to thinking about brands in a consumer context—the power of a name to differentiate a product or company in its customer’s minds. We all know brands that excel at conjuring positive feelings that forge powerful connections with customers, building and reinforcing a strong reputation in the marketplace.

Each and every one of us has that same opportunity, to create a personal brand that defines who we are and what we are about to the world in which we work and live. Here’s how to get started.

1.     Know Yourself. Your background, expertise, values and life purpose form the foundation of your personal brand. Take the time to step back and reflect on your experiences and values and how they have shaped who you are today, both personally and professionally. Ask yourself, “What are the key things I stand for and key values I can offer?” The answer will help you identify the unique essence that will form the core of your brand.

2.     Play to Your Strengths. Your personal brand should reflect the qualitative and quantitative attributes that distinguish you professionally. For example, are you a visionary? Adept at navigating global culture issues? Experienced in a certain business sector? Defining your areas of expertise will enable you distill your attributes into one or two short sound-bite sentences that are easily communicated and remembered.

3.     Develop Your Brand Presence. Examine and adapt your LinkedIn profile, personal web site, company bio—everywhere that your name appears—so that the content consistently reflects the image and values that you want to continuously reinforce and emphasize. Seek out opportunities to further develop and refine your brand messaging through social media, blogging, writing articles and creating video content. Consider reaching out to journalists who cover your business sector and offering to serve as an expert source or offering to serve on a panel at industry events. These are all great ways to build your reputation and strengthen your personal brand by delivering insights that will resonate with people.

Remember: authenticity and consistency are paramount. As you look for ways to build your brand, be sure to define your swim lane and be disciplined about focusing your messaging on specific areas where you can add value or offer a unique viewpoint.

Today more than ever, boards are opening the aperture of who they think is “board ready” to add thought diversity, gender diversity, global diversity, functional diversity, and generational diversity. Getting a board seat is a project. Think of it as business development, and you are the business.

Your Brand

Developing your own brand, your personal positioning, is a very important practice and the first step in landing a board seat. You will want to be crisp in distilling your career into three major digestible, thoughtful points. They should include industry background, your functional expertise, and what stage of company you are a best fit for. You want to be able to sloganize your personal brand, who you are, what you stand for, and the value you bring. Brand building can be done before you even have an opportunity, as can a general bio that outlines your background. Preparing for board roles while you are still in an operating role is important as it gives you current credibility.

Online Presence

Create your online profile with a view to a board seat, consider that a potential recruiter or company CEO will view your profile and ensure it reflects your best qualities as a potential board member. Your online presence should include more than just LinkedIn. You will want to consider if you have some original content that you could share that would be meaningful in your field or functional area, or experiences that you could either write about, or tweet about, or create and capture video content that would be relevant. Consider creating your own website and YouTube channel if that would be appropriate for your background. As you think about creating your media presence, it should be on a cohesive strategy that includes social media, blogs, and video content related to your operating role, and speaking opportunities. Creating a cadence of media content is important as you build your brand. Be mindful not to disclose anything that might be considered confidential or proprietary.


You build a network like you would a long term campaign. The network closest to you, with the people above you, who believe in you, will be the one that is most effective. It’s important to get the word out that you are looking for a board seat. This would include your personal networks, those you meet through business as appropriate and through friendships. People want to be on boards with other people they genuinely like and admire. Each person you meet is eventually a potential board seat connection. You want to go into any one on one meeting with some pre-thought out questions so that you come looking to listen and looking to learn from their experience. People will enjoy meeting with you when they see that you are seeking their wisdom and their experience and that you are taking notes, paying attention and that you follow up with an acknowledgement and a feedback loop to them. Always be sure to forward invest. If you have contributed to the professional relationship in advance of asking for an introduction or connection, you will have paid in first, so they feel proud to introduce you.  Anytime you ask for an introduction, offer to ghost write the note for the introducer so they can personalize and send.


As each opportunity develops, you will want to customize your short-form bio, and tailor it to a specific audience along with separate bulleted talking points. You’ll want to be able to talk about your experiences that would be relevant to a company’s industry and a company’s stage. Remember, the reason they are thinking of you as a director, is they expect you to provide oversight, but in an unconscious, often unarticulated way, they want you to add value and help make the company more successful for the shareholders. As you create your bio and talking points, keep this value add in mind.


Do your homework on the person you’re going to meet. Understand who they are, their background, their values, and what would interest them. Read interviews they have given, watch videos, listen for their company jargon.

Match up what you would hope to contribute and where you would add value to their personal and professional journey and their areas of interest.

Do not come with a canned sales pitch on why you’re great. It needs to be tailored and it needs to resonate with the individual that you would be meeting with, so that you are able to demonstrate that you listen well, and you see how you can be helpful to them in their journey, and the company.

Landing your first board seat will be a longer term venture that will require constant attention and effort.

Key Takeaways:

Developing your own personal brand and personal positioning is a very important first step in the process of finding the right board for you.

Fine-tune your expertise and your differentiation. In order to get on the radar of a potential board, you need to be disciplined. Your personal network will get you your next board interview so you need to care for and grow your relationships.

I hope that these takeaways, learnings, and insights will be applicable to you as you go forward in your career

Excerpted from “Be Board Ready: The Secrets to Landing a Board and Being a Great Director” by Betsy Atkins