SUCCEEDING IN A RAPIDLY EVOLVING MARKET. CONSOLIDATION, ADAPTION AND MORE : ANNUAL INTERVIEW WITH OUR GROUP CEO
It was an eventful year for Advidi. Group CEO Mark van den Elzen sat down once again for his annual interview to talk about the industry challenges, the importance of taking risks and being able to support our clients anywhere, any time.
It has been 4 years since you first sat down with us for the annual interview, how is Advidi doing?
We’re doing very well. We saw challenges in 2019 but took them as the opportunity to expand into new ventures and lines of business. With pride, I can announce that we have built our group into a well balanced and diversified portfolio of companies operating under the umbrella of Enora Media Holding.
Can you expand on Enora Media Holding for us?
We really focused on fresh strategies and a new purpose when looking to the future of the group. Enora Media Holding comprises several subsidiaries, amongst which:
Advidi, our Performance Marketing Network, which continues to thrive year after year, had an annual growth of more than 40% in results last year. I can only credit our team and clients to this success.
There is also BidMath, our Programmatic Solutions Consultancy, that launched in February 2019 and has been a great success with the opening of 4 offices in Asia including Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo & Bengaluru where our client base continues to flourish with top brands like Dominos Pizza, Uber, Dyson, American Express and Cathay Pacific to name a few.
Our latest edition is Nova Network, a brainchild of Advidi. Nova is a fresh perspective to the performance marketing “giant” that is Advidi, bringing new and alternative opportunities for you and your business. Our team is compact and skilled, ensuring fast communication and even faster response.
Narrowing down to Advidi, you’ve been the CEO for 4 years now, how do you feel the industry has changed/progressed over the years?
There has been a clear and steady transition from a relationship oriented market to a value proposition oriented one.
Not so long ago our industry was very much about who you know. Now it is focused on what you know. That’s why our team always puts their knowledge to work for the benefit of our clients.
This change finds its origin in four simultaneous trends that we are witnessing; increasing transparency, professionalisation, regulation, and consolidation.
- Transparency is increasing as a result of the large numbers of parties that have jumped into performance marketing, including affiliates, networks and even (traditional) media agencies. Moreover, numerous high-end analytic and reporting tools have come available and are now mainstream in the form of SaaS, providing insight into the margins within the entire value chain.
- Professionalisation has led to scalable (high volumes) and precise determination of the nature, quality and performance of traffic. We have benefited greatly from this capability through our Business Intelligence department, creating the highest possible value for our customers by deliberate and customized campaigning
- Regulation has its effect on several verticals. For example, the change in regulations on Mobile Content in the UK, changing Facebook policy, Mastercard/Visa policy, etc. New regulations in the form of age verification could impact conversion ratios but at the same time increase the user value. Just saying, most regulations are for the better, like the opening of the iGaming market in several countries, but they do need to be accounted for in our line of business.
- Consolidation we see in the form of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships that shorten the value chain. This could be a direct consequence of the trends mentioned above. In practice we see advertisers buying or starting networks, networks that started in-house media buying and in some verticals we see affiliates working directly with advertisers (e.g. in iGaming).
All in all there has been quite a shift within just a few years, but they are all positive trends. We operate in an increasingly well-organised environment in which we’re able to deliver more value to customers, brands and consumers.
Iwert Dijkema, Founder and Mark van den Elzen, Group CEO
There has been talk of the industry seeing some hardship, and how that has affected a number of companies, is Advidi feeling these effects?
Advidi is here to stay! In the last 2 years there have been more than five significant players in our industry that have gone out of business, and there is a reason for that.
This is the internet revolution. Some may have the feeling that the hardest part of it is actually behind us but that is untrue. We’re at the very beginning and we can only imagine what the next ten years have in store for us. Choosing not to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions in our online market can be fatal to a company within a year or two.
On the flip side, there is a wealth of opportunity for immense growth and new ventures.
What it takes to fully embrace this unique fragment in industrial history is a highly developed sensitivity and awareness of changing market conditions combined with the analytical capabilities to convert those to profitable business models.
Sometimes it can be merely tweaking existing operations and other times it requires a paradigm shift.
Over the past four years we’ve invested significantly in our Business Intelligence team and IT infrastructure. We can now fully benefit from the insights they provide on opportunities, segments in decline and the optimal yield management of our assets.
Sales is no longer just about hanging out at conferences and seminars. It is about explaining the value we create for our partners. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still the ‘real people company’, but our people are there to make an effort in explaining what products and services we have to offer to make you and your business successful.
Advidi is known for its “real people”, does the culture tie into the business success?
I truly believe culture is not built by a set of rules, it is built on behavior. Culture is defined by what you do, what you don’t do, what you celebrate, what you don’t tolerate, from a CEO, Founder or employee point of view – all of these decide how business gets done.
"I have worked for small and large companies in Australia and Europe, and since joining Advidi in September 2019 I've felt more included and valued than ever before. We truly are a family, and that energetic and supportive vibe makes coming into work each day exciting and not a chore" - Jessica Bartlett, Advidi"
Each year I talk about Advidi’s culture and the environment. This year I asked for a fresh perspective from a new employee and it really cemented in my mind that offering an environment that motivates, encourages and brings joy to employees only benefits a company and its path to success.
Team Advidi at the 2019 Christmas Party
What are 3 lessons you learned from last year 2019 and how can you and Advidi grow from this?
Three things we learned are focus, focus and focus. It really doesn’t matter which vertical you’re in, they all provide their specific challenges and opportunities. There is no such thing as a ‘dead vertical’ which is sometimes claimed. There is only the vertical focus, thoroughly understanding its dynamics, knowing the pitfalls and risks. Outsmarting your competition by being at the top of your game.
Our focus remains on the verticals we’re already in. That is where we see growth opportunities in the market and chances for ourselves to leverage our assets and expertise. Our growth will come from geographical expansion, initiatives focussed on creating online communities (i.e. traffic) and multiple new strategic partnerships on the product side.
What strategic strengths will Advidi offer to its clients in 2020?
Advidi has the most organized internal structure and it’s the most professional network in the industry. In addition to that, it’s capable of adjusting its services in a very proactive manner that either follows the market trends or creates new trends in the market itself. This enables us to guide our clients to be the best version of themselves.