604 Now had the pleasure to sit down with Raymond Reid, the Founder and CEO of Digital AdLab, during his brief visit to Vancouver to speak at Google’s Programmatic West Coast Conference.
Ray is a 20 year advertising and media pro who grew up in Vancouver and moved at the age of 15. Now, he resides in Toronto (which he loves in the summer), and has started his own company in 2015.
So what brought you to the digital advertising industry?
It was accidental. In 2005, I took on the role as an Advertising Operations Associate. I started from there and grew to love it.
Is there a high demand for digital media workers right now? And how will that change in the future?
Yes, there is a high demand for digital advertising marketers and practitioners in the media, marketing, consumer services, and e-commerce fields. In the future, there will be an increasing demand for people who understand it and that will only accelerate as time goes on.
Are there any trends in the industry that you’ve noticed or expect to see?
The biggest trend right now is the growth of advertisers taking certain functions of digital in house. Primarily because of the need for greater transparency and cost efficiency, such as how much they’re spending and where the money is going. 40% of media spending goes to their reach, while 60% is eaten up by intermediaries and companies delivering services.
What inspired you to create your new company Digital AdLab?
It came from realization that every company was struggling to find skilled resources to meet the demand and growth of digital media. There’s a challenge around hiring junior resources with no skill. It takes a year or two for them to meet the required skill set, so it’s not that affordable. And there was no training available either, so this became a clear business opportunity for me. A lot of companies hire theoretical digital marketers but they don’t have access to the practical on the job education before the job.
Could you tell us more about your goal to expand into the Vancouver market?
We heard that there’s great demand for training in Vancouver. There have been numerous requests from companies, agencies, and educational institutions for training but most of the attention was focused on Toronto. Vancouver had to defend itself. We plan to offer weekend bootcamps, and customized programs for companies, agencies, and educational institutions like BCIT to facilitate curriculum into their programs.
What can people expect from the Student Digital Accelerator Program?
They can expect an intensive hands-on training experience. Students are provided with fundamental elements and then will have access with application experience to do what’s required on the job in the program. DAL Placement Services helps facilitate the process of grads gaining employment within industry by providing them with connections. We’re hoping the success rate for grads to be very high since there are lots of companies seeking resources but have yet to find strongly trained candidates. Our aim is 100%.
What is one digital advertising tip or strategy that you’d like to share?
Hmm one that I would like to share that’s not a secret? Hahaha, that’s a great question. I don’t think there’s enough awareness or understanding of how important the ad server is in digital advertising. Ad server is where attribution is determined. It seems to be glossed over due to the lack of education and training. There needs to be education where ad servers, like DoubleClick Manager, can aid in the process.
Do you have any advice for those who are interested in starting a business?
The key to successfully starting a business is there have a clear identification of a problem that needs to be solved. Lots of people are passionate about a topic but unless it solves a problem, it’s very hard to grow a business. The number one thing is to find the painpoint of a problem and then determine who it’s going to solve it for.
Is there anything else that you’d like to mention?
We’re very excited to come to Vancouver. We look forward to not only doing bootcamps but also to establish a long term presence with educational institutions, companies, and markets. We will expand to launch social (AdParlour), mobile, search, and analytics training programs over next 6-8 months. Programs for educational institutions cost roughly $399 per students. The business and professional (agencies/media) program is about $799, and we do provide discounts in various scenarios. It’s very comparable and better than other training programs considering that we provide actual application training.
Is that all?
I love this city.
Interview by Sabrina Chiu.