The Future of Tech is People Powered: How to Grow with the Revolution

Meredith Hall, GM, Learning & Development at The Trade Desk
Meredith Hall, GM, Learning & Development at The Trade Desk

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For over a century, advertising has notoriously deployed an array of unique tactics to captivate, engage and sway consumers toward their products. In the last eight years, however digital technology has completely changed the game. Making headlines with perhaps the most attention grabbing advancements in advertising’s history, tech has transformed the way media is bought and sold today.

With automation comes new capabilities and tools to reach marketers on a one-to-one level at a scale that far exceeds what’s possible in pitching door to door. As the tools evolve to support the possibilities of this brave new world of advertising, so do the roles and career paths within the industry. While technology has advanced our industry, there’s no substitution for human judgment, creativity and emotion. With people powering the tech frontier, fundamental knowledge, nimbleness and education are the way to invest in the future of your team.

Here are three crucial components to building a talented team who will grow with your company into the future:

1 – Change your hiring focus

Jay Stocki, VP of digital services at Experian, makes a strong case for changing your approach to hiring. “I had to laugh recently when I saw a job posting where one of the requirements was seven years or more of programmatic experience. Is that even possible?”

True, experience is core to building an excellent programmatic team, but in such a young field, pure programmatic experience at that high of a level is downright unrealistic.

Instead, look for individuals with the right foundational skills that will help them excel as they get training and hands-on programmatic experience. A strong balance of understanding both the data and creative sides of the equation makes a good foundation for a future programmatic expert. Many agencies have looked to their Paid Search teams for this type of experience.

2 – Find budget and time for education

It’s not enough to hire strong candidates. Investing in your employees helps with retention, grooms them for promotion, and leads to higher engagement. When The Trade Desk launched our proprietary Trading Academy in 2013, we knew it had to be scalable and had to speak the language of the buyer. With a goal to empower buyers to become experts in their own right, The Trading Academy provides video tutorials and quizzes in its Programmatic Certification course.

Of course, a comprehensive programmatic training program doesn’t just appear from out of nowhere. Building education into your internal training requires planning, and a big part of that is dedicating enough budget towards it to ensure it has a real impact.

The same goes for budgeting time towards initial and continued training. Understand and prepare for the need to increase non-billable hours in order to make sure that you give your staff dedicated time to stay on track.

3 – Define and structure a curriculum

Adults and children learn in radically different ways. For example, adults need to know why it’s important to know something before they learn. Therefore, setting context for learning is a critical part of a successful internal training curriculum.

If you’re building your own training, use the principles of adult learning theory (andragogy) to inform your program. You may even want to bring in an instructional designer to help.

Other important considerations for programmatic curriculum include:

  • A training platform and resource repository (such as Cornerstone OnDemand)
  • Comprehensive orientation on where the industry’s been and where it’s going
  • Strategic chunking of content into modules to make it digestible
  • Immersive and engaging material (e.g. video that incorporates a teacher, visuals, and discussion)
  • Testing to ensure the training is retained.

Investing in an educated talent base will help you open your hiring pool and train the next generation of programmatic experts. As the industry evolves, building an internal team of experts will be key to continued success.

Learn more about talent and the future of tech at [email protected], taking place in NYC on September 27-28