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Oct. 19, 2020

Episode 051 - Ian Dallimore, VP of Digital & GM of Programmatic at Lamar Advertising Company

Episode 051 - Ian Dallimore, VP of Digital & GM of Programmatic at Lamar Advertising Company

Ian Dallimore is the VP of Digital Out of Home (dooh) and General Manager of Programmatic for Lamar Advertising Company.

Starting out as a strategist for Lamar, Ian is an advertising enthusiast with an eye on the future and the influence to bring the future into the present in the billboard advertising world.

He's the Chairman of the Innovations Committee at the #oaaa and can be found speaking at #advertising industry conferences around the country.

You can connect with Ian at...

And feel free to email him at...

Special thanks to LED Truck Media for making this conversation possible!

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Alright, here we go. Welcome to out-of-home. Insider today's episode is brought to you. Led truck media led truck media specializes in hyper-local street-level campaigns to get your message in front of the right people, whether your campaign is one day or one month when nationwide coverage, your campaign can be live in any major market within 24 hours.

If you want to reach a perfect audience in a truly engaging way, visit led truck media.com led truck media out of home advertising 2.0, thanks again for making today's show past. All right. Without further ado, let's meet today's guests. Today's guest is Ian Dalmore. Ian is the vice president of digital growth in GM of programmatic at Lamar advertising, getting his start with Lamar and events and sports marketing.

Ian embraced digital out-of-home over a decade ago and has been at the tip of the spear for innovation and strategy. Ian is the chairman of the innovation committee at the AAA, and can be found frequently speaking at conferences on webinars and contributing to industry publications about what's new and what is coming in a recent press release for a creative media.

Ian is quoted saying that the industry is yearning for new impactful ways to amplify the success of their out of home investments. Something we're going to talk about here today, Ian. Thanks for being on. Yeah, pleasure. Thanks so much. And look, I've enjoyed the podcast myself. I think, uh, we've all kind of yearned for more data and information and look, I'm petrified of flying.

So this whole COVID thing and not having to be on an airplane once a week, like I used to be, this is great. No. Absolutely. And I was reflecting last night, I was going to the grocery store and I thought, how cool is out of home? Right? I've got my circle graphics mug, but yesterday was my water bottle. I've got the vote as if hoodie from our friend, Rick Robinson at Billups and, uh, rocket some, uh, some of my own swag, which is a pretty cool place to be.

And it's certainly an interesting. I'm going to send you some, uh, Lamar sweat. We've got some see folks. If you're thinking about reasons, why to start a podcast, getting swag is probably the number one reason. So definitely something to consider. But in you've you've been doing a little bit of the, uh, the Dalmore tour recently and talking about all things programmatic and what's coming down the pipe, what's new and exciting in your world.

Yeah. And you know, uh, very passionate about the company that I worked for, you know, Lamar advertising been around for over 117 years. And, uh, one of the things that I love about our company is, you know, we have a slogan it's, um, innovated and since 1902, and you know, the, the executives here in our board, they're constant.

You know, pushing us specifically myself and a handful of others to think what's new and what's happening. I think, uh, you know, one of the biggest things, obviously programmatic has become massive in our space. Um, you have some naysayers, which is fine. Uh, we'll have some people that'll have some catching up to do, but I think generally the biggest thing that's happening in our space right now.

And. You can thank COVID has accelerated a lot of businesses is the use of automation. So whether that's programmatic with our supply side partners, like this star place exchange BroadSign hive stack magnate, or. What I'm really excited about is our agency Autohome specialist partners. You know, they're really pushing towards, you know, Hey, we have a platform and, you know, we don't want to live in this spreadsheet world where we're having conversations back and forth, you know, can we just connect our inventory?

And, you know, that's a big focus for Lamar is how do we make API APIs available to everyone? And, you know, Yourself, you want to start an agency tomorrow or a platform then you'll have access to, you know, at the beginning, over 5,000 large format digital and in the very near future access to all, you know, 400,000 plus of our static inventory.

And I, I think that that's the most exciting thing that's happening in our space is there's this evolution of how we transact. And I think COVID has helped accelerate that. And a lot of companies like Lamar, you know, I know good friend of mine, Andy , um, that's their focus at out front as well is how do we expose inventory?

So. That's that's the exciting thing. One of the exciting things. No, it's certainly something that's exciting. Break it down for somebody that's maybe heard programmatic as a, as a buzzword that, that, you know, it's bounced around the office. You, especially for our, our local sellers, our local business development reps, write down what programmatic really.

Yeah. And look at, in my opinion, it's not there yet for the local advertiser. And we can talk about that a bit later, but basically it's, it's the ability to use systems and data to be deterministic on how to buy inventory. So quick example, you know, if I'm a, if I'm a brand and I buy inventory online and social and mobile.

I simply go onto a what's called a DSP or a demand side platform. I put my parameters, maybe its audience, maybe it's a specific, uh, overlay of, um, data that says, Hey, I want to target a consumer. That frequency is quick service restaurants. And here's the, here's my total impressions, or maybe my budget in the online space.

It's simple as that click a button and then it's real time bidding or RTB. And it's bidding on inventory on the online and mobile space. About seven years ago, Lamar jumped in that space and the industry has since followed and now. When a brand, uh, goes to their DSP and they simply put in those parameters.

Now they have the ability where they overlay that same data and it's broken out and they're bidding on real time, large format digital out of home, or maybe they're bidding on, um, you know, elevator network or a health club network, or, you know, other place-based screens. And now we've become a part of that media mix of real-time buying.

And it's really. It's imperative. If we talk about it at the local level, it's imperative that we understand that it's not just digital out of home, but it's the mobile device it's, you know, your desktop. So that omni-channel approach is, is key when you're buying that way. And that's kind of what I said.

We're not there yet at the local level, because we don't want just one media mix being purchased. Um, so that that's kind of, it hopefully. Yeah, no, I think that that's a great explanation. And I agree. I think that the timeline has been shifted completely and we're going to really see accelerated growth.

Where do you think the growth for programmatic is going to come? You know, the biggest thing that we always talk about when, when I first presented this to our board, um, was look, there's $138 billion industry that exists that serves up these in a respectfully shitty banner ads. How, like nobody gets excited about like, Yeah.

I've never seen like an award ceremony for like, Hey, greatest banner. Um, so I really, you know, when we first dove into this and really kind of 100% myself has focused on this is, you know, we're talking to. Amazing screens that can change based off of audience types, based off of weather conditions, based off of political clients, our comments by, you know, after that amazing debate, the other night, riveting clients have the ability now to incorporate that in.

That DSP and digital agencies are now excited that they can now transact and purchase. And that, that is what is the driving force behind. This is how do we capture net new dollars in the out-of-home space, introduce them to our medium and look, our medium as an industry is amazing. And you know, you've done.

You know, tons of podcasts about it with great people, you know, more and more everyday we're seeing digital buyers that are like, man, this, this medium is so great. Like I can target ski times so I can target specific where they're used to this. Just like, you know, billions of ads on the internet that they have no clue where they are.

So, so it's, it's exciting. That's awesome. It's easy effectiveness. Talk to me about measurement, right? Once the excitement wears off and sure. It's easy to do, but how do we prove out of home is working for brands and. And I, and I think that's a perfect question because I think before we could get to expose in our inventory programmatically, we had to figure out some way.

And when I say we, I mean, collectively the industry collected. The data partners that have now flooded our space. We had to be able to determine a few things like after you're exposed to an ad, where did you go? Or what was your thought about that brand and there's, and there's multiple different ways to think about this, right?

There's the simplest form, which is. Device IDs. So anonymous device IDs on your mobile device is driving past a billboard, whether it's static, whether it's a bus bench or a digital screen, you're able to say, okay, anonymous device 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or past this panel, where did that device go over the next 15 days?

And did it end up at my big box retailer? Right? My, you know, automotive dealership. And now we're able to do. With confidence and to be able to give those advertisers the ability to say, you know, verified walk-in or there's other ways to do it, where we can say exposed to the digital out of home or a static or whatever the case may be.

And now I can do a, uh, mobile retargeting where I can hit that person. If they're at a competitor store. Or they're at a soccer field because I'm targeting moms with two plus kids and I can retarget them. So there's, there's multiple different ways. And what we're talking about is attribution, right? And every programmatic campaign that runs today has measurement layered on otherwise.

Most of the time they're not running, but now we can now extend this over to just traditional direct buys as well. And I think that that's key to the success of our industry because every other media type that you buy in the online mobile and social. You get this cool little tracker on the side, you can see how it's performing.

We can now become apples to apples. And it's when we're talking about it. It's data that they're used to talking about in the online world is now in the out-of-home. Yeah, I like, I played with blip a little bit of a few months ago. And as a digital marketer, I loved the little dashboard and seeing what I was getting, I knew it was just vanity stuff, right.

It was impressions and you know, a little chart, but it, it, it satisfied me that I was getting the thing I was paying for. And I'm sure that that's gotta go a long way. You used a perfect, a perfect phrase that the out of home is becoming flooded with different data. Measurement companies and people vying to be the standard, et cetera.

How do you see this all shaken out? Right? It's kind of a fragmented space already. What needs to happen? Do we just adopt a certain unit of measure? Is geo path that like, what do you, how do you see this all shakes? Yeah. And you know, I sit on the innovations committee for the AAA and we have a few subcommittees and we talk about this, right.

You know, you, as an industry, you can't pick one specific company, but we can have some kind of guidelines and parameters around like, you know, how to vet companies, um, what, what, what is the methodology? So that is something that the AAA does provide is kind of like, here are the players in this space. And these are the questions you should be asking.

And this is the methodology behind that. I think that that's imperative. The beauty of what's happening is kind of the free market. And I love that we now have, and myself, I talk to brands direct and digital agencies. And for example, we had a, we have a campaign that's running right now that is overlaid with a voter.

L two is the company and the data. And when we were having the conversation, we were able to say, Hey, we're able to overlay L two, which, you know, you want to target independence and immediately 10 minutes, like, oh, L two. Yeah. We use them for our online. So there's that level of, yeah. So there's that level of like comfort and.

More importantly, as measurement is across all media and the data itself. So they feel confident about it. So I think that that's a big key to it is introduce the players that are in this space in the online world. And, you know, you hear the guys live around. They own that universe, you know, they have hundreds of different data segmentations.

Um, but again, we can't forget about our friends at geo path. That act is the base layer of what an impression is. Um, so you, it, it's a long-winded way of saying what the industry should do is continue to kind of set parameters and guidelines to help make sure, you know, Intersections not measuring different than the way, you know, Outfront measuring or as an independent is, is measuring completely different.

We need the consistency. Um, and we ran into this with, um, mobile and out-of-home years ago when we first introduced that to the space, it was more guidelines and let the free market run and see who's interested in the space. And more importantly, when that happens is as we get to evolve as an industry, In that space and we all kind of learn together.

What do you think is the likelihood, if any, that somebody moves laterally into the space. Uh, someone Roku moves into the out-of-home space. Do you think that there's a possibility of some crazy shakeup like that? Yeah, I look, I think it's cool. I working with Craig, who I know has been on your podcast, that.

You know him and I had the conversation. Almost a year ago now we were like, dude, how great would it be if we can connect CTV and OTT to an out-of-home campaign, the way we did 11 years ago with mobile and out of home. So I think, you know, again, just simply putting that thought in people's minds and people being tech companies like, Hey, did you ever know the out-of-home space could do this?

And you know, your media is different, right? And how do you, how do, how would you think that we could play in this space and that's, but that's why Google is intrigued about our space. That's why Facebook's intrigued about our space. You know, Roku, um, Hulu, there's a ton of companies that are not only intrigued in our space from a, an advertiser standpoint.

You know, some of these tech companies are the largest spenders in our space. But more importantly, the backend of their companies, the data side, the measurement, the transacting side, they're becoming very interested in the out-of-home space because you know, again, my smart ass comment about, you know, a tiny banner ad.

Um, it look, it's, we've been around forever and we've. Unlike a lot of other media is we've evolved with the times. And I think that that's key for, for us to continue for another 117 years at Lamar. Absolutely. No that that's, uh, it, it would be, it was certainly moved the ball forward at a, uh, at a faster rate.

So what do you think needs to happen? For that to take place or is it just a matter of, of time? And we're just, we're just kinda waiting. No, I think you obviously time plays into it, but I think that they're the biggest thing that we have to do as an industry, you know, and I sit on way too many committees, but we talk about this all the time and, and I always bring up I'm like, but the most important thing is education.

Yeah. Have to continue to educate people on the why and why this is important. Like, I always use the phrase, like don't use technology for technology's sake. Um, you know, years ago people would be like, oh yeah, QR codes is, they're so amazing RFID tags, and you'd be driving down the interstate and you would see a QR code on like a billboard.

What Corona virus saved the QR code they did. Yeah, but I look to answer your question. I think we have to do a great job of educating the people that come from outside of our space, regardless who they are. If they're data companies, tech platforms, or, you know, future things like wearables and driverless cars, we have to educate them enough about our medium so that they become enticed enough to think that.

And I look, I, one of my favorite people is Elon Musk and he had no business nor he cared about a driverless car, but he threw the idea out there. And all of a sudden these tech companies came about automotive companies started thinking different, and I think we need to do more of that. Uh, I say that all the time, like throw out crazy.

Like the CTV thing, that may be the craziest idea, but there may be someone at a CTV or maybe a DSP that transacts that buys a OTT and CTV and they may say, yeah, that's actually brilliant. Let's run with it. Or they may say that's the stupidest idea ever. And we try the next thing. And I think that that's key in this space, like continue to evolve.

Um, and you know, I w I was given the nickname when I was a kid by my mom, the future, when I was super young, cause I'd always like throw out these bizarre ideas. So I continued to throw out the idea that out of home can be a pivotal part of the advancements of wearables and driverless car. I made bank my career on that.

Hey, well, listen, it's, it's here. It's on the record. We'll make sure to check back on it every so often and see, see how you're making out against it. Talk to me about that. Then you started out at Lamar as a, as a, as a young man and, uh, and you've grown into this role. How did that all come to be? And what pointers could you give somebody who's maybe just getting into, out of home or is looking to grow within an organism?

Yeah, and look, I love, uh, I have a few mentors, uh, throughout my career. I started before I came to Lamar, I, I worked in minor league baseball. I was way too young as the director of marketing of a AAA baseball team. Um, followed a girl and ended up here as an intern. And one of the biggest things that I'll say.

Is, you know, I always had this mentality, like if I have an open door policy, um, I've been at Lamar for 15 years and ever since I started my career prior to Lamar, I would always just, you know, I found the GM and the owner of the baseball team and I would say, Hey, can I just schedule 10 minutes with you a week?

And I'm just going to ask you a few questions and again, no agenda just purely. For me to learn. Um, so that, that would be my first thing. And I encourage a lot of people that I interact with. Um, I speak at a lot of universities or did travel to a lot of universities and talk about that. Like, people get excited about talking about the things that they do.

Um, And so that would be the first thing I'd recommend find a few mentors, you know, mine here at Lamar, Tommy , who's our COO the guy's a God in our space. Uh, John Miller, who's our SVP of sales. He was my boss for quite some time and they both believed in me a lot enough to let me kind of run. And then our CEO, Sean Riley, you know, has all.

Help foster creative growth. And he does that for a lot of his employees here. Like yeah, go run that way and figure it out. So that would be my second thing. Like never think an idea's crazy. Um, you know, the, the amount of knowledge that exists in our space, the amount of people that exist in this space that want to share.

And, and quite frankly, you know, I'm 41 years old. And 15 years, I would love to see a ton of people that sit on our innovations committee. That are much younger than me take over and maybe they run in a completely different direction. Um, and the last thing that I would say is expand your mind. Um, you know, I start every day by listening to some podcasts that has nothing to do with the at-home space.

Um, and then I also, um, master classes. Another thing that I schedule, I wake up at four 30 every morning, go to the gym and have about 45 minutes of just like random. Time, whether it's read scriptures and, or watch like masterclass, Gordon Ramsay, um, picked up skateboarding by Tony Hawk at the age of 41.

Like expand your mind to where you're not just thinking about. Out of home all day and the future of, out of home, you're starting to think about things like, oh wow. Obsession with Elon Musk. He did this. Let me take that and put it into this. Um, so that would be the last thing that I recommend. Um, it, and just don't be bashful.

Like this is such a cool space. That's so old yet. So young in our new phase, um, as an intern, Yeah, no, that's like, it's all awesome. And I totally agree. Like, so I stole this from Gino Sisto at, uh, at dash too. He said that he listens to podcasts when he sleeps and then he gets great ideas. And I was thinking about brainwaves and I'm in, into all that sort of stuff.

I was like, you know what, I'm going to try to do that. So I started to listening, listening to, uh, Lex Freedman's podcast about AI. And like, that's not a thing that I know about. Um, so every day it's like, Great little programming mechanism and it's triggering new ideas and different things. And, and, uh, yeah, I strongly encourage that as well.

Do you have a, I left off the most important one. Um, I have, I have eight year old triplets and then a little six year old do listen to your kids. Heck yeah. I'm telling you, I know you have kids. Dude. I started skateboarding because I was jealous that my son, Jake was such a bad-ass skateboarder. And now we like skateboard.

And we talk about things that I think is the coolest thing. Like now we, before they go to bed, uh, once a week, we'll look up into the stars and use this star gazing app. And they're like telling me about things. I had no idea about it. So listen to your kids that's and if you don't have kids. Find a kid in the neighborhood, make sure their parents around wrap with them, ask them some things they full of knowledge, way smarter than we'll ever get so true.

It was funny when, when this was all going on. So I used the garage. There's kind of like a, a mini batting cage. We have many with many wiffle balls and he'll just get reps, just wraps of swings and. Right. He knew that I'd been furloughed and he's like, daddy, you could start a business. I was like, oh yeah, what's that he's like, parents could drop their kids off at the garage and then they can wait in their car and you could do baseball lessons with them in the garage.

And he was he's seven. I'm like the fact that you're even considering like how do we solve problems and do it in a way that could potentially generate money is very cool. Um, so the other day told me that I. You eat with their tentacles. So I'm like, I didn't, I didn't know that. I didn't know that my kids teach me stuff every single day.

I strongly encouraged that. So other than listening to the kids, is there a specific podcast that, uh, that, that you personally love it? Yeah. Um, so I subscribed to the masterclass. Okay. What's that about? James Salar was talking about that the other day. So masterclass it's a conglomerate of like all these different people, different industries.

Like I learned, uh, about Bob Iger and about his, his career, how he started from the bottom. And then he created the obviously Disney empire. Um, it's a paid subscription. It's, it's about 180 bucks, but it's just random people and you take these like 15 minute video segmentations, and then at the end of it, they kind of give you like a PDF that you can read through and kind of reference often.

Um, Listen to like an FBI hostage negotiator. I mentioned learning how to skateboard with Tony Hawk. Um, so, uh, again, that's a big one for me, masterclass. Um, I just started listening to the Joe Rogan podcast. Cheeses. You bought the heck of it. On the record. I've never done smoked a cigarette, done drugs in my entire life, but listening to him, talking to Mike, I said, I had to take a few showers, but that was great.

Um, and then, you know, I'm a, I'm a Catholic. Um, so there's some, some scripture podcasts. We have a preached. The priest here in Baton Rouge, he's pretty young and he's called the rapping priests. And this dude is just so cool. He's like 31 years old. And he talks about his perspective in life and how he's, you know, went through Catholicism.

But, you know, I'll listen to that to get some wisdom in scripture. Um, and then, you know, really just kind of random, like I love going on and listening to leadership and, um, learned about Mozart the other day. And kinda like started winning down this weird path, but yet it's look, I think I want to start a podcast, so I'm going to hit you up and totally.

Yeah, because everyone tells me like, Ian, you have the most interesting friends, but it's just because we work in a really cool industry. So I think I'm gonna start a podcast and it's going to be called like my interesting friends. You heard it here first. Make sure to subscribe to it as soon as the drops.

Well, yeah, listen, that's been the coolest experience for me. And you were talking about earlier with, with mentors. I started the podcast, not thinking that anyone would ever listen, but I figured if I could talk to really smart people, it would help accelerate my learning curve. Uh, it has certainly done that and, and the fact that it can add some value to some other folks lives.

That's pretty cool too. So I fully support you and encourage you doing that. Well, looking forward to it. Ian, where can folks find you? Where are you most active? Which people check you out? Yeah. I'm professionally active on LinkedIn. I'm active on Twitter. Love to share the campaigns that we're doing, what the industry is doing.

Great. Um, and then if you're, I'm a bit of a sneaker. Um, have over 110 pairs told me, uh, so if you want to follow me on Instagram, you could see all my, uh, shoe collection, my crazy life with the hashtag Dalla more for, and kind of the adventures that we have. So I look, and any of your listeners can email me directly love to love, to share knowledge.

I think that's the only way we grow in this. Excellent. Absolutely agree. We'll make sure to link out to all that in the description show notes. So you can connect with in, in any parting thoughts for the, uh, for the audience. Yeah. And maybe it's cause I have four kids or that have been to Disneyworld 17 plus times, but one of my favorite movies is Alice in Wonderland, the most updated one.

And I love sharing this quote because it kind of thinks about innovation thinks about the future. Uh, but it goes the only way to achieve the impossible is to believe that it's possible. So that's kind of my parting words for everybody. Like never think something is and should stay the way that.