I remember when Programmatic Media was born. I remember I came to work that morning, still donning my "traditional not-yet-integrated-or-digitized" Associate Director hat, sat down at my desk like any other day, and all of a sudden "programmatic" was every other word out of the mouths of the media babes surrounding my big girl glass office. "Programmatic this" and "DSP that", "auction it" "white list it"... what in God's name were they all taking about? Where and when did this all that new digital-ish jargon-y gobbledy gook come from and so quickly? TV today, DSP tomorrow... not my catchiest original phrase but what can you do, it's Friday.
But I digress. As a thirty-something working at an agency in a then-still-traditional role in the early 2010 days. my insecurity at aging myself out of the industry had already commenced. But the mere thought of learning a whole new-ish realm of media planning at that particular moment seemed daunting to say the least. Not insurmountable, but steep. I was already established in my career, thought I knew my strengths and the incessant digital chatter that surrounded me at the time, instead of fueling me, scared the living shit out of me. Why the idea of a few new acronyms, optimizations and new ad formats would intimate me, the self-proclaimed tech lover (I would call myself iRachel or iBunny or something equally as cute but I would never dare to encroach on the fabulous iJustine's turf, love that chick), I could not tell you. Nope, I could not. But for some odd reason, it did. It just freaked me out. Digital ad planning and buying... maybe I will dress up as a CPM next Tuesday, after all, it is Halloween season. Alas I digress again. Back then, in the 2010s, print circs, GRPs, and OOH showings hugged my irrationally intimidated media soul, and CPEs, CPCs, and open exchanges were enough to drive me right off a cliff.
As I sit here now, my overworked laptop over-running itself with digital wrap up reports, programmatic spend reports and optimization recommendations beckoning my review, I can only chuckle at the narrower (ahem) media version of me of those days past. I cannot place my still-manicured finger on the moment in time when I morphed right into the very digitized version of Media Director that had intimidated me previously. I really cannot. Was it in those freelance-laden months of Women's Healthing for that moment there? Was it that first Twitter POV that appeared on my to do list that just had to get done? Perhaps the Instagram SWOT? I believe it was all of these, plus countless more of course... working in tandem with the personal growth I concurrently experienced during that time. Strip away the fear and replace it with action. The endeavor to cut down on the overthinking and replace it with action-oriented thinking. What we do in our personal selves ineveitably carries over to our work selves, and as I tend to write frequently, back and forth and around again.
Digital media planning is not scary, it does not have big black fangs, a black cloak or prickly spikes that bite you when you click your overworked keyboard. It isn't simple, but it isn't impossible. Yes, it necessitates trail sneakers to get up the learning curve instead of flat crosstrainers but, hey, I prefer a trail run to a walk any day. The endeavor to embrace and learn that which has the ability to intimidate us, is, for me at least, the most challenging aspect of the whole. Instead of allowing the unknown to knock us down in fear, I have found the key is to alternately, let it drive us up. At the risk of being much too cliche and cheesy in a media-based blog post, Michelle Obama certainly is a smart one. "When they go low, we go high." Sure, maybe the former first lady didn't say that with digital media buys in mind but hey, I'm all for universality and I'm sure she is too.
I say all this to say, as the essentially Digital Media Director I've evolved to be, and as per some wise folks along the way, the fear is ultimately what pushes us the farthest. In media, in motivation, and all around.
With digitized and optimized fondness,