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Nick Cavet to Lead OMMA Discussion Panel at Advertising Week New York


On September 27, VSA Associate Partner and Director of Strategy Nick Cavet will help lead an OMMA Programmatic panel at Advertising Week New York. Entitled Beyond Search: Can Programmatic Lead to Omnichannel Marketing Success?, the discussion will unpack the ups and downs of programmatic advertising over the past year, and address where the future of this field is headed as social media platforms continue to develop their video capabilities. We decided to sit down with Nick before the big conference to learn more.


Q: Tell us a bit about what your day-to-day is like. What types of problems are you helping clients solve?

As a Digital Strategist at VSA, no two days are alike. Client needs vary based on their industry and the consumer they are trying to reach. Ultimately, what we’re constantly working toward is uncovering human insights, whether through traditional research or emerging techniques driven by new technology. Then we activate those insights in a meaningful way, which may mean informing a creative team, informing digital ecosystem planning or uncovering new targeting opportunities.


Q: As a leading strategist, how have recent changes in programmatic advertising changed your approaches and practices?

The programmatic space has matured significantly over the past several years, as many companies now use extremely sophisticated algorithms to buy media more efficiently while constantly optimizing. The key differentiator has been our partners’ ability to leverage first party data and demonstrate measurable impact across media, channels and devices to both online and offline transactions. We’re now at a point where we can confidently evaluate the impact online advertising is having on offline transactions in several key verticals. This results in greater returns for our clients, harder working campaigns and an overall increase in the level of confidence and investment in programmatic opportunities.


Q: Data science is key to predicting the trends and avoiding the slumps of the marketing industry. What media and methods are businesses using to understand and leverage this information?

The most impactful use of data science I’ve seen is when marketers move from off-the-shelf solutions to a more bespoke approach—one that can fully account for the nuances in a client’s data, their internal lexicon, KPIs and internal dependencies. While programmatic has seen a good deal of standardization in which algorithms do most of the work, data science has proven to require both art and science insights. This demands human intelligence and deep analytical and industry expertise to achieve tangible and actionable outputs.

Collaboration and cross-functional capability is key to meeting these demands and leveraging data into actionable insight. However, strategists need to get more comfortable with complex data, and analysts need to get more familiar with marketing and digital strategy. It’s easy to misinterpret data from a research deck or get excited about a data point that won’t translate to the real world. Working together on projects from their start helps us keep these kinds of issues to a minimum—it really is a team effort to unlock fresh insight and collaborate on defining new strategies. I’m reminded of a great example of this for a multinational CPG client. We were able to leverage the media spend for an online campaign and connect it to an advanced predictive analytics engine that our data science team developed. Doing this drove coupon redemption north of 80% among the target audience. It was a great outcome.


Q: What are some changes we can expect to see in the programmatic buying space in the coming year or so?

Consolidation will continue across the industry. Some programmatic companies won’t make it without a value proposition beyond real-time bidding. It will be interesting to see if Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle and Adobe pull programmatic into their enterprise marketing cloud offerings. Tools like will make it easier for business users to free their customer data from a passive data warehouse without having to go deep with their Tech departments.


Q: What are you looking forward to the most at Advertising Week?

As a native East Coaster, I’m excited to reconnect with former colleagues and all of the smart marketing minds that assemble in and around NYC. That, and pizza by the slice.


Nick Cavet is an Associate Partner and leads Digital Strategy for VSA clients such as Beam Suntory, Nike and Marvin Windows and Doors. Learn more about the OMMA Programmatic panel at Advertising Week New York, or catch a glimpse of the panel discussion if you missed out.