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“Check Please”

The Holy Trinity

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Once A Week, But Never Weakly— Especially This Week

by Nick Coston, U.S. Sales Director, The Neuron; Industry Advisor & Columnist

“Oh Waiter, Check Please”

This evening I returned home from five days in New York City. Five rather exhilarating days. I saw some wonderful, longtime industry colleagues, a few exciting new clients, or as I like to now call them, fellow collaborators, ate some spectacular meals, walked enough to the point where I had to buy new shoes, Vans to be exact, had some wonderful chats with Uber drivers when we weren’t walking, and came to an important, final realization as to why I was there.

I realized, without any doubt, that I had made the right decision, pivoting my OOH career to where I am now, a full-time, no turning back, don’t understand the half of it yet, programmatic digital media promoter. It finally hit me this week that while eating my way through the big city, myself and my colleagues get to call on, present to, speak with and sometimes entertain, a combination of agencies, direct clients and of course traditional OOH and DOOH companies. It’s the Holy Trinity of everything I’ve been working for these last 23 years.

Most importantly, I get to do what I do best which is make money for everyone around me including the people I work for and the companies I collaborate with. There’s no ceiling right now as the playing field in pDOOH is wide open. It takes a lot to thrill me but I am absolutely thrilled that I got invited to play on their field.

You know what did it? What really convinced me that I made the right call changing up my OOH career? People.

message for Circle Graphics

We met with over 28 glorious industry peoples, each one of them welcomed us and were excited about what we were all working on. This journey, while only in its infancy, is the jolt this 100+ year old advertising industry needed. With unlimited potential of bringing in brand-new advertising dollars to all aspects of OOH and DOOH, it’s where our industry expansion is going to be coming from. Sure, the core revenue generating traditional OOH properties I hope will always be there and continue building back the business lost during the pandemic. We now see that we are getting back at or exceeding 2019 numbers, which was one of the best years ever.  I remember it well, it was by best year.

Sometime, somewhere, someone will figure out how many more displays, how many more impressions, how many brand new clients have come on board since 2019. I guarantee you those numbers will be staggering especially when we find out who are the top 10 DOOH advertisers are. I don’t know if there’s a way to figure out in the last few years in dollar amounts how the growth of pDOOH has progressed but I’m sure the trajectory on that graph is in constant growth.

But you know who I’m happiest for? Well, besides me and my sanity. That’s all the media buyers and all the media sales people who were told back beginning around 2016 that eventually their jobs would be eliminated because of the proficiency, easiness and money saving attributes that programmatic media buying and selling was going to do to the industry. It would just be a bunch of programmers managers and executives and a few customer service folks. Gone would be the big commissioned sales people, gone would be the big media mavens that we would entertain and try and impress, gone would be about 50% of our workforce. “you’re all screwed” is what one VP snapped. I remember who said that, there were a few guys who did, I remember where they said that as they aimed their doomsday media forecast right at yours truly.

I was even told point-blank that I would be out of a job within two years, that buying and selling would soon become automated.

That never happened. Buyers and sellers in our industry are thriving and are still the main thrust in driving our core business. What they didn’t predict and what is happening is that programmatic and automation platforms, using the ever growing  number of digital screens, is the mostly new business that is being added in the last few years, not taking away from other longtime clients not cannibalizing the traditional revenue streams but adding new ones.

Not every DOOH and OOH company is experiencing this new business growth yet, but have patience it’ll get there. My job is to make sure of that. And you all know how damn annoying I can be. Ok, persistent. Whatever. We will make it work.

This was the week I finally asked the waiter to bring the check. One big meal had ended and I was onto the next.

Maybe it will be sushi.

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