#AWEurope Q&A: Xaxis MD for EMEA Caspar Schlickum

In advance of our Advertising Week Europe panel this Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10am – Agency Trading Desks: Guaranteed Delivery? – The 1st Annual Real Time Trading Update from Europe’s Buy Side, I sat down for a Q&A with Caspar Schlickum, MD for EMEA, Xaxis.

Need a ticket to our panel discussion? Register for your place on the Advertising Week site.

SEARS: Tell us about Xaxis:

Xaxis is the audience buying business of GroupM. Our role is to use data and technology to help our agencies and clients better reach and understand audiences.

PLEASE TELL US:

Overall managed budget (media spend), expected 2013:

Our EMEA business represents around half of the global Xaxis business.

Percentage increase, managed budget (media spend) 2012 vs. expected 2013:

Our business grew by around 50% in 2012, and we anticipate this growth trend to at least continue.

What countries are you active in?

16 countries across EMEA including UK, DE, AU, NL, DK, NO, SW, PT, IT, SP, FR, BE, TK, PL, SU and CZ.

What countries are you entering this year?

RU and Middle East are priorities for us.

How many employees globally?

Worldwide 200; Europe 100

SEARS: What are Xaxis’ three biggest initiatives in Europe for 2013?

SCHLICKUM: 1. Continued focus on Video; 2. New product areas like Radio, TV, OOH; and 3. Analytics

SEARS: How are you working with the operating agencies in your holding company?

SCHLICKUM: Xaxis employees work together as a specialist team, so sit together but spend a large part of their time hot desking and working with agencies

SEARS: If part of the push is your involvement earlier in process, at the time of planning, how much of buying today is programmatic and how much of a plan could be programmatic?

SCHLICKUM: In a way, all our buying is programmatic today, but we will be migrating more to RTB enabled platforms in 2013.

If successful in the long term, do trading desks essential become a fully integrated, back office function?

SCHLICKUM: No. Our strategy is much larger than this. We do not see ourselves as a Trade Desk, we see ourselves as a specialist Audience Buying company that uses data and technology to help our agencies and clients better reach and understand their audiences.

SEARS: Let’s talk about direct deal automation and the path to programmatic guaranteed. From our global vantage point we see the European market leading the way in direct deal automation. Premium publishers such as The Guardian, the La Place consortium, the Telegraph, ebay, Hearst and News International etc have embraced direct deals and so have the trading desks. We believe 2013 is the Year of Programmatic Guarantee—where SSPs and DSPs will allow trading desks to deliver guaranteed budgets.

SEARS: Is your trading desk capturing guaranteed budgets today or do you plan to in 2013?

SCHLICKUM: Yes, we have always had a strategy of working closely with our publishers to ensure that our advertisers are able to execute audience buys in a premium environment.

SEARS: How are RFPs used between your operating agency clients, your desk and a DSP? What does a “programmatic IO” or a “Programmatic RFP” look like?

SCHLICKUM: Agencies work with their clients, and brief Xaxis to execute on an audience buy. We respond to requests for proposal and work with the agency to ensure what we are offering is relevant to their client and the brief.

SEARS: What assurance can you give publisher CROs that programmatic guarantee is in fact an enhancement to their direct selling effort and not an end run around their selling channel?

SCHLICKUM: The proof is in the pudding. We have scaled our business significantly using premium remnant inventory from publishers and we have rarely (in fact I think never) had a publisher pull out of working with us. The processes we put in place work, and our relationship with publishers is as important to us as our relationship with our agencies and clients. We need both to create compelling products and solutions.

SEARS: Does programmatic guaranteed have to be delivered via RTB?

SCHLICKUM: No. We use a variety of ways to work with our publishers, including bulk inventory. Inventory bought using RTB on the open market already plays a key role on performance oriented campaigns. However, our strategy is to buy premium inventory programmatically, 100% of the time. Our ambition is not only to buy exchange-traded media from an open exchange.

SEARS: What is the importance of 1st party publisher data in direct programmatic deals? Is this being utilized because of the strength of 1st party publisher data or the overall weakness / lack of availability of 3rd party data in European markets? Does 1st party data scale?

SCHLICKUM: It’s very important because it works and because of the lack of third party data.

SEARS: On average, is mobile and or video more than ten percent (each) of a typical budget allocation? More or less? And how will this change in 2013?

SCHLICKUM: Video more, mobile much less. No, I don’t think this will change.

Tell Us a bit more about you:

SEARS: What’s your favorite question when interviewing a prospective employee?

SCHLICKUM: “Tell me more about that”

SEARS: If your co-workers picked a single word to describe you, what would it be?

SCHLICKUM: Energetic

SEARS: What did you do last weekend?

SCHLICKUM: Spent one day on my home renovation and one day on wedding planning (yes I am doing both at the same time. No I don’t advise you do the same)

Your Favorite Football Team: QPR (don’t go there)

Thanks Caspar!

Caspar Schlickum is Managing Director of Xaxis EMEA, and in this role is responsible for managing the operations and leading the strategic development of the Xaxis business across the region.

Before taking his role at Xaxis, Caspar was EMEA Managing Director of the Media Innovation Group (MIG), one of the cornerstone companies that comprises Xaxis. Caspar has extensive experience in digital media and audience insight driven marketing, having spent four years at Mindshare as a global client lead, and one year within Kantar, the holding company for WPP’s research and insight businesses.

Prior to joining WPP, Caspar was Commercial Development Director at Fairfax Digital, one of Australia’s largest publishing houses. Before commencing his career in marketing, Caspar spent six years in investment banking advising on technology, communications and infrastructure projects in the Asia Pacific region.

Caspar holds an an Economics degree (with first class honours) from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a MBA from London Business School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.