We caught up with Ashley Sargent, Senior Media Buyer at Liberty Mutual on her team’s programmatic supply strategy and the challenges they face.

Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your role at Liberty Mutual?

I have 8 years of programmatic experience and have worked at a SSP, DSP, and a digital publisher. With a range of industry experience, I was excited to start at Liberty Mutual and take on a more marketing insights driven programmatic role as Senior Media Buyer.

Liberty Mutual has an in-house programmatic team, and my focus is on supply strategy. I work directly with SSPs as well as publishers.

What’s it like to work on the Liberty programmatic team?

We focus on being strategically nimble and executing quickly to get learnings and adjust. We build strong connections to the business operations so we are always in-line with priorities and the full customer experience. We also emphasize understanding the full media supply chain, so we know exactly where our media dollars are going across the entire programmatic transaction. Same with data.

How important is it for the buy/sell side to work together?

It is crucial to understand the entire programmatic landscape and how our marketing dollars are being allocated. We only work with a handful of exchanges/SSPs that were individually vetted for quality assurance. By working directly with the sell side, I am able to understand various auction dynamics, fees, fraud protection, and inventory priority. All of these factors are considered when budgeting spend and analyzing performance.

Transparency, technology and support are the 3 pillars to evaluating partners. With so many companies in the LUMAscape, it is invaluable to have a trustworthy partner.

Ashley SargentSenior Media Buyer at Liberty Mutual

What is most important in your relationships with your partners?

Transparency, technology and support are the 3 pillars to evaluating partners. With so many companies in the LUMAscape, it is invaluable to have a trustworthy partner. We are consistently evaluating vendors and ensuring we are working with not only the best technology, but the best in-class support teams as well.

How do you work with your exchange/SSP partners on building a programmatic approach together?

I work with each exchange/SSP individually to tailor a strategy. Each exchange/SSP has different auction dynamics and inventory access per publisher. For example, OpenX came into the office and presented an auction dynamic deep dive. From the meeting, I was able to understand OpenX’s inventory and publisher relationships. We executed a header bidding whitelist PMP on OpenX, knowing we are accessing top of the waterfall publisher inventory.

What challenges still remain in the programmatic space?

I think truly understanding your audience demographics is an area of opportunity. Having a people based strategy is so important, but getting a holistic picture of your audience is still a work in progress. Also, personalization is a challenge. As marketers we are still aren’t doing one-to-one personalization, it is still one-to-many, with many being a cohort of similar people.

On a fun note, if you could travel anywhere (and neither money, nor time was an issue), where would you go, and why?

I have always wanted to go to Africa. I grew up watching nature shows with my dad, and it has always been a dream to go together and see the wild life. It would be so special to be able to see endangered species in their natural habitat and all the beauty that Africa offers. If we have time, I would also love to go to Cape Town’s seal island and see the great whites!