MediaLink, the well-connected media consultancy, is expanding to offer consulting in programmatic ad technology, a fast-growing area that offers marketers new powers but new questions as well.
The company has hired Matt Spiegel, an industry veteran who most recently served as senior VP at MediaMath, for the newly created role of senior VP-general manager of the marketing and technology solutions group. He'll be responsible for growing the practice as well as a nascent Chicago office.
"As we get more into ad tech and marketing solutions, Matt is a great person to come in particularly with a focus on programmatic," said Michael Kassan, chairman-CEO at MediaLink, which employs about 70 people. "The world of programmatic is changing relationships in a lot of ways."
Programmatic consulting is a space with few players and an abundance of opportunity as technology, data and automated systems mature.
"We started using term programmatic in 2009," Mr. Spiegel said. "Eyes glazed over. Many still don't know what it means. It has a definition that's unclear. But say the word and everyone wants to listen and talk about it."
Many large marketers have begun using ad tech to buy digital media themselves to save on fees and keep control over their consumer data. Among the marketers that have brought their digital media trading desks in-house or arranged private trading desks with agencies are Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Kellogg. New options present strategic questions, however, about licensing the technology or contracting an agency services team to support the in-house function.
Mr. Kassan said more MediaLink is advising more than 10 clients in the programmatic space, including both marketers and publishers, but declined to identify them.
The consultancy will typically go up against players like Deloitte, according to Mr. Kassan. Unbound, a consultancy consisting of a small group of former IPG Mediabrands execs, also hit the ground running when it opened last year.
The programmatic division adds to a wide spectrum of practice groups at MediaLink, including event management, executive search, due diligence in private equity deals and regulatory outreach.