Finding the right talent and keeping a strong ad-tech team amidst crisis. What is it like?

From Anastasia-Nikita Bansal, Director of Enterprise Solutions at SmartyAds


After the lockdown, the world realized that the best time to start digital transformation is now. Many important things are currently happening, so it is crucial not to the moment, especially if you are in the advertising industry. What are those things and how they impact the ad tech business - find out in our interview with the director of enterprise solutions at SmartyAds A.N Bansal.


What are some ways your agency/organization is keeping agency culture alive in the midst of the ever-changing industry landscape? (i.e. internal initiatives, incentives, etc.)

Let’s be honest, when the pandemic began, we had no idea how long the lockdown would last and how it would impact our company in the long run. Perhaps to our surprise, we ended up with the ad tech market that is much more flexible. Entrepreneurs are looking for the best ways to optimize their workflow without tremendous investments. Businesses that don’t have sufficient resources for building their own ad tech platforms now use white label technology since with pre-built tech core deployment becomes easy and affordable. Those who are new to programmatic also need to build servicing team asap to maintain those platforms. We provide both companies technologies and people and that’s why our company seized the moment.

Because the situation worked in our favor, we could afford to expand our team of professionals. We’ve doubled our team which is undoubtedly strong despite mostly working remotely. We practice regular calls to stay connected, we share ideas with each other, and decide which initiatives to prioritize and act upon. We plan team-building activities and are slowly starting to meet in person when the lockdown measures ease up.


As the challenge increases for business leaders to find the right talent, and with WFH impacting those decisions, what strategies are you using to help find candidates?

Yes, the candidates are much more selective when it comes to employment compared to just a few years ago. Still, companies have more opportunities to access high-quality talent via outsourcing and outstaffing. If you have at least minimal competencies in ad tech, and a professional project manager, you can successfully build the work of your team and grow expertise with an outstaffing model. This model is the most suitable for SMBs and companies that continuously scale their businesses because they often experience an acute shortage of employees. These companies typically have their own established management model and workflow processes. For this reason, outstaffing currently appears to be the most popular hiring model for the ad tech businesses that strive to nourish their own talent in-house but without meddling with labor-related issues.


With demand for new talent high, and the competition strong, standing out among the crowd is never easy. What would be your advice to young talent looking to enter the industry?

We are entering the new era when companies seek out rare advertising professionals - those who understand the technology and deal with customers equally. Traditional media became obsolete and the new digital landscape dictates the new rules and poses new challenges. If you know how to use technologies to achieve best advertising outcomes for clients and know how to work with people it means you are a new-generation professional who will always be head-hunted by companies.


As the pandemic has shifted the expectation and relationship that individuals have with employers, how are you promoting a healthy work/life balance?

Digitalization, remote work, and new flexible client servicing and business concepts are the things that give birth to absolutely new approaches when it comes to the standard definition of a job. Flexibility and remote work are no longer privileges but the standards. In our company, we stick to these standards and listen to our employees when they want to make a shift in their normal workflow, alter it, or make some improvements. After all, people are the main asset of every business, and work/life balance is essential to keeping the team happy, strong, and productive.


What does the new ‘normal’ agency culture look like?

Remote collaboration, workflow process optimization, and automation will become the “new normal” even for non-digital industries. In addition, companies will take advantage of the opportunities to innovate. They will create their own tech solutions that will satisfy new

market requests for simplicity and affordability. It will be encoded into every agency’s culture that change is a thing that every company should be prepared for in the future.