Andy Whatley is SVP of Business Development at Instreamatic, an interactive voice-enabled audio advertising platform.
A veteran of the radio marketing industry, Andy Whatley is now responsible for building out partnerships with brands and publishers for Instreamatic and helping to realise the next generation of audio advertising.
Econsultancy caught up with him to find out more about his role, the highs and the lows of working in an entirely new marketing space, and how the work compares to his previous experience with radio.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Andy Whatley: My role at Instreamatic is leading our global business development and partnership initiatives – working with companies like Pandora and DAX to expand the reach of our dialogue advertising platform. I also enjoy being heavily involved in many marketing initiatives.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
Andy Whatley: We enjoy a hands-on senior executive team with extensive experience and successful track records in technology start-ups. Our tech team has been together since the start of the company in 2014 and are driven by the same vision on the future of audio marketing technologies. I report directly to our co-founder and CEO, Stas Tushinskiy.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Andy Whatley: My strength and value to the company revolve around my deep experience in broadcast, advertising, technology and digital/streaming/mobile media – I feel I have a good grasp on where the industry has been and where it’s headed. I have worked in both corporate environments as well as on the entrepreneurial side.
Tell us about a typical working day…
Andy Whatley: I typically start my day at 5am due to the time difference across the globe. Many days I have my first online meeting by 5:30. I generally conduct three to five meetings each day with publishers, agencies and brands.
Generally speaking, most of my discussions are with tech-savvy individuals who still appreciate a better understanding of how Instreamatic solves the “click challenge” for audio marketing. In between meetings, I do client research and try to read as much as possible to keep up with what is happening in the world of voice AI and consumer media trends.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
Andy Whatley: I love working at the leading edge of where audio marketing is heading. I began my career in radio and have always loved audio as a highly personal and resonant platform for marketing purposes. I am a student of media consumption trends and enjoy growing my understanding of the connection between technology, audio delivery, data and analytics, and marketing initiatives.
What should suck is the challenge of launching a totally new approach to audio marketing and all of the challenges of pushing the proverbial “ball up the hill”. But I am obviously twisted. I actually enjoy how difficult and challenging gaining market traction client by client can be. “Wins” here feel so much more meaningful than my transactional media background.
Actually, nothing “sucks” about this role – honestly. Being part of a technology company that is making possible such a tectonic shift in audio marketing is exciting and rewarding.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Andy Whatley: My personal goals are aligned with our business goals. We really are changing the world of audio marketing at a super impactful level. Our success is dependent upon serving both the demand (advertiser) and supply side (audience traffic). As we add integrated publishers, we need to simultaneously ramp up demand so both sides remain somewhat balanced. KPIs include scale of publisher-available traffic on native mobile apps, fill rate of available traffic, audience engagement percentage, conversion lift, and revenue yield in either CPM or CPE growth.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Andy Whatley: I am database enthusiast. Data drives marketing and selling efforts. We use Copper as our CRM and other databases to identify contacts and prospects. We are also fortunate to have an amazing level of inbound enquiries due to the explosive nature and relevance of voice AI.
How did you end up at Instreamatic, and how does the work compare to your previous work in radio marketing?
Andy Whatley: I joined Instreamatic after first being contacted by our CEO through LinkedIn. I have worked in broadcast, advertising and technology for my entire career, and I believe we are at a significant tipping point in audio marketing. New technologies are changing the game for traditional media. We benefit both pure plays and traditional media entities.
The reality is, there are few traditional media plays left – and for good reason. Most historical and traditional media companies have long since embraced digital media technologies and advertising strategies that have become possible through these new tech opportunities.
I strongly feel we are still fundamentally in the same business as legacy broadcasting. We still serve audiences and advertisers. Whether content is delivered by IP or mobile versus broadcast transmission is mostly irrelevant. Content delivery has always advanced over time as new technologies are available.
What audio advertising campaigns have impressed you recently?
Andy Whatley: I like the direction in using sonic identity to drive campaign effectiveness. A brand’s proprietary sonic voice grows and enhances emotional connection. This is one of the reasons that voice dialogue advertising is so powerful. This new technology drives an ability to create an intelligent layer and emotional bond between a brand and a consumer.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for brands that set out to reach users through audio advertising?
Andy Whatley: I see the engagement and attribution challenge as a primary blocker to audio’s growth. Audio has not historically been measurable with empirical data. Brands need relevant data on audio campaign performance to more effectively use audio. In traditional radio, the challenge includes absurd levels of ad load. The practice of clustering many audio ad units back to back drives consumers and listeners away and irritates audience.
How can marketers who might be interested in audio get into the space? Is a background in radio necessary?
Andy Whatley: I think having a radio background is mostly irrelevant. Marketers need to work with representatives of media outlets that are also “marketers” and not just ad sellers. The world gets more sophisticated all the time and the need for “marketing and technology savvy” sales reps is critical. Radio is finally getting the idea that their basic business model is somewhat broken and there’s a deep need to adapt to a media consumer world that has been totally disrupted.
Econsultancy subscribers can read more from Instreamatic’s Andy Whatley and learn how the audio landscape is changing in our in-depth briefing on audio advertising.