Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Johann Hermann: As the COO, I am responsible for everything to do with the delivery of campaigns, which means my day can vary immensely, but is usually always hectic!
Part of my role includes managing the various teams involved in campaign execution, and ensuring they have all the resources they need to get the job done. Specifically, I’m in charge of the Ad Operations, Data Analysis and Product Development teams, so I’m right in the middle of the technology.
I am also responsible for designing the strategic process around account management and publisher management. Although I am not the direct reporting line for these teams, I design processes that help the teams to develop a fully transparent and quality approach that makes the best use of their time.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
JH: I sit on the leadership team and report into our CEO, Christian Geyer.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
JH: I would say that good analytical skills are paramount because my role needs me to interpret and utilise varying types of challenges, which requires the ability to think critically.
Technical skills also go hand-in-hand with this. This is most prevalent when it comes to troubleshooting because it is essential that you know how a system works in detail. Otherwise you are searching for the needle in the haystack.
Additionally, having a visionary outlook is also really important – particularly when it comes to new products. Why? Because I need to be able to imagine whether the product will work and what its place will be in the market.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
JH: The first thing I’ll do is look at campaign numbers, to get a hold on how we’re progressing. And when it comes to campaign performance we mostly look at three metrics: goal achievement, delivery and margin.
Then I’ll go through my emails, answering various messages where necessary, before carrying out a bit of industry research, like reading relevant news and blogs from my peers and competitors.
Then I’ll move into product and process development. Obviously this can sometimes be a moving target – but we bring our current challenges and industry trends to the table and think about what we could develop next.
Ultimately, product development has two main goals: drive effectiveness or efficiency of a product or process. Simultaneously, there is pretty much a business value behind every development. We try to prioritize by business value.
Ah yes, and by the end of the day I am happy to get back to my family.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
JH: Love: Having been in the industry for quite a while I can tell that there is pretty much nothing that can’t be achieved. Also I ran across quite a hand full of people most of which are really helpful souls. The combination of the two makes this industry so much fun to be in.
Sucks: Sometimes I wish our regulators and politicians were a bit more switched on. Some of the most recent regulatory changes have played straight in to the hands of the big 4. This has meant that start-ups have an even bigger battle to grow their business.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
JH: First and foremost, increasing revenue.
But when it comes to metrics, I would say that re-bookings from clients is the best way to measure success.
In terms of my wider goals, I would love the agency to achieve creative fame for work that has had a positive impact on the way people live around the world. Ultimately, the only way to measure success is via the direct impact our work has upon our clients’ bottom-lines; I want stellar creative work that is effective.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
JH: My brain.
E: How did you land in this role, and where might you go from here?
JH: In the first company I founded I was the CFO. From that position I slowly developed into a more product and client focused role.
In an ideal world, my next job will be building boats by hand. Until then I will do everything it takes to make Nano Interactive a huge success.
E: Which campaigns have impressed you most recently?
JH: Deutsche Bank’s recent campaign where they used client stories to show its positive impact in action, including Laura Dekker, who was the youngest person (14) to single handedly sail around the globe. It really resonated with me on a personal level.
E: What’s the future for ad tech?
JH: In the future campaign set-up and optimisation will no longer be done by humans. Computers are more capable to learn from huge masses of data and optimize campaigns based on that data.
At the same time, consulting advertisers will get more and more important. You just need to take a look at the Luma Marketing Landscape from year to year to see how quickly new targeting opportunities arise, or how new creative forms are being developed.
Finally, regulation will play a huge role. We’ve already seen the implementation of the GDPR, but the ePrivacy Directive which is set to hit us within the next 18 months, could be a much bigger hurdle for the industry.
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Econsultancy also offers training courses in programmatic advertising.