The Great Time Suck

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Nearly 70% of the $9 billion display media market still occurs in the “transactional RFP” channel. Source: Arkose Consulting

This post originally appeared in AdExchanger 

Why Publishers Hate the Transactional RFP Business 

I have been thinking about, and trying to solve, agency digital workflow problems since 2008.

Given the complexity of digital media, the variety of creative sizes, millions of ad-supported sites, and dozens of ad servers, analytics platforms, order management and billing tools, it goes without saying that the digital marketing stack has been hard for any agency to put together.

Recent research has tracked the immense level of complexity involved in digital media planning (more than 40 steps) and the tremendous expense involved in creating the actual plan (up to 12% of the media spend). It all adds up to a lot of manual work for which agencies are not willing to pay top dollar, along with frustrated agency employees, overbilled clients and a sea of technology “solution providers” that only seem to add to the complexity.

Media planning on the agency side is a big time suck. Yet some agencies are still getting paid for it, so it’s a problem that is going to get solved when the pressure from agency clients increases to the point of action, which I think we’re just now hitting in 2013.

But who is thinking about the publishers? Despite dozens of amazing supply-side technologies for optimizing programmatic RTB yield, there are only a few providers focused on optimizing the 70% of media dollars that flow through publishers’ transactional RFP channels.

DigiDay and programmatic direct software provider AdSlot and recently studied the transactional costs of RFPs. The sheer numbers stunned me. Here’s what one person can spend on a single RFP:

  • 5.3 hours on pre-planning
  • 4.2 hours on campaign planning
  • 4.0 hours on flighting
  • 5.3 hours on maintenance
  • 3.3 hours post-campaign 

That’s more than 22 hours – half a business week – spent creating a single proposal and starting a campaign, which, according to the study, has a less than 35% chance of getting bought and a staggering 25% chance of getting canceled for performance reasons after the campaign begins. The result is a 25% net average win rate. That’s a lot of work, especially when you consider how easy it is for agencies to lob RFP requests over the transom at publishers. On average, publishers spend 18% of revenue just responding to RFPs, which translates to 1,600 man-hours per month, according to the study.

So, we have a situation in which agencies, which are firmly in control of the inventory procurement process, are not only wasting their own time planning media, they are also sustaining a system in which their vendors are wasting numerous hours comporting with it. In short, agencies spray RFPs everywhere, and hungry publishers respond to most. The same six publishers make the plan every year, and a lot of publishers’ emails go unanswered. What a nightmare.

A Less-Than-Perfect Solution

To combat this absurdity, many publishers have placed large swaths of their mid-premium inventory in exchanges where they realize 10% of their value but avoid paying for 1,600 hours of work. The math isn’t hard if you know how agencies value your inventory. Publishers aren’t stupid. Inventory is their business, and most work very hard creating content to create those impressions. These days, every eyeball has a value. Biddable media has made price discovery somewhat transparent for most inventories. Programmatic RTB is great, but not all publisher inventories are created equal. A small, but highly valuable percentage will never find its way into an SSP.

Publishers will always want to control their premium inventories as long as they receive a greater margin after transactional RFP labor costs. Publishers who actually have strong category positioning, contextual relevance, high-value audience segments and a brand strong enough to offer advertisers a “halo” have to manage their transactional business so they can maintain control over who advertises and what they pay. This looks the year that demand- and supply-side software solutions may finally come together to solve the problem of “transactional RFP” workflow.

A couple of new developments:

  • Demand-Side Procurement Systems Are Evolving: Facing significant pushback from clients and seeing new and accessible self-service media buying platforms gain share, agencies are looking hard at tools to gain efficiency. Incumbent software systems like Strata and MediaOcean are modernizing, while new, Web-based tools are gaining adoption among the middle market. Suddenly workflow efficiency is all the rage and agencies that spend 70% of their money in the transactional RFP space want a 100% solution.
  •  Supply-Side Direct Sales Systems Are Available: A few years ago, there were lots of networks and marketplaces for publishers to put inventory before going directly into exchanges. Many were more generous than today’s exchanges, but still offered low-digit CPMs and not much control over inventory. Now there are a variety of systems that plug directly into DFP and enable publisher sales teams to have real programmatic control over premium inventory. AdSlot, ShinyAds and iSocket are rapidly gaining adoption from publishers that want another premium channel to leverage, without giving up pricing control. To succeed, these publishers’ systems must be connected to the platforms that manage demand.
  •  Who Put Peanut Butter Into My Chocolate? What is slowly happening, and will continue in a huge way in 2014, is that demand- and supply-side workflow solutions will come together. What does that mean from a practical standpoint? Planning systems will be able to communicate with ad servers, eliminating double entry work; ad servers will be able to communicate with order management and billing systems, eliminating even more duplicative work; and the entire demand side system will be able to communicate orders directly into the publisher workflow systems and ad server.

Simply put: Agencies will be able to create a line item in a media plan, electronically transmit an order to a publisher, which the publisher will electronically accept, and the placement data will be transmitted into the publisher’s ad server. A line item will be planned, and it will begin running on the start date. Wow.

That’s what we are starting to call programmatic direct. It’s a world with a lot less Excel and email, with thousands of hours that won’t get wasted on transactional RFP workflow for agencies and publishers.

What kinds of amazing things can do with all that extra time?

The Unexploited Middle

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Programmatic Direct technology will make it easy for the demand side to exploit this rich pocket of quality inventory.

I recently sat through some great presentations on “programmatic direct” media buying at the recent Tech for Direct event in New York. With almost 70% of digital display dollars flowing through the negotiated (RFP) market, everyone wants to be in the game. One of the presenters, John Ramey of iSocket talked about what has happened to the advertising yield curve for digital display. This curve starts at the upper left corner with premium inventory capturing the highest CPMs, and is supposed to flow gently downward on the x-axis, towards the lowest value of inventory, ending on the lower right corner. A classic marketplace yield curve.  In this world, ESPN can charge $20 CPMs for their baseball section, sites like Deadspin in the mid-tail can charge $7, and the networks and exchanges aggregating hundreds of sports blogs in the long tail can charge $1. Nice and fair, and rational.

This is not what has happened, though.

As Ramey correctly points out, we have a yield cliff now. This is world in which there are two types of inventory: The super-premium, which is hand sold directly for double-digit CPMs; and the remnant, which is sold via RTB on exchanges or surviving ad networks, often for pennies. In this world of the Haves and Have-Nots, there is no middle class of inventory—even though one could argue that $7 inventory on Deadspin might actually outperform its upscale cousin, ESPN. This inventory disparity we have created in the digital advertising industry has nothing to do with supply and demand, but everything to do with the process by which we transact.

Premium mid-tail buying is a great idea. Back in 2009, marketplace platforms like TRAFFIQ were bringing this innovation to the space, and enabling marketers to cherry pick and aggregate premium quality sites that could offer friendly CPMs and URL-level transparency. It’s not a new concept. In fact, I think premium mid tail buying is the canary in the coalmine for programmatic direct; when today’s technology can make it easy to put together a large array of guaranteed buys, and enable fast and easy optimization, then we will have succeeded. Here what was missing in 2009, and what we need to succeed today:

  • A Centralized Directory:  You can’t buy stuff without knowing what’s available and how much it costs. Other media channels like direct mail have published prices for mailing lists, right down to audience targeting. You want to reach people who have bought something from the Cabela’s catalog in the last six months, and restrict the mailing to men only? No problem. You can find out what it costs, and who sells it. The digital display market needs to be organized in a directory, down to the placement level. You shouldn’t have to wait for an e-mail back from an RFP to find out what known inventory costs. That work is being done now, but has a lot more work to go through before it is comprehensive.
  • An Extensible Platform: Today’s API-driven technology makes it easy to enable buying directly into publishers’ inventory. A link into DFP means buyers can discover availability and start serving ads with a few button clicks. The problem is that agencies want a Single System to Rule Them All. So far, agencies have been stuck with installed, legacy systems that have more to do with billing and reconciliation than media planning and buying. Agencies want new, web-based ways to discover and buy great inventory, but they also want a system that plugs into their existing tools. They are not going to log into another buying system if they don’t have to. A system that can enable premium mid-tail buying at scale either has to integrate directly into existing media management systems—or replace them. Right now, there are a lot of tech companies at work retrofitting old technology or creating new technology that promises to make this a 2014 reality. It’s a horse race, and agencies are starting to place their bets. The winners are the one with the most extensible platforms that are good at integration, and they will be richly rewarded. The rest will fail, or become a point solution in someone else’s platform.
  • The Right Model: This is may be the most important factor in determining programmatic direct success. If you are charging anywhere north of 10% (and some would argue a LOT less than that) to help media buyers aggregate inventory, then you are not a “programmatic direct” technology company. You are an ad network, or media rep firm. The reason for industry consolidation is because disintermediation through technology has its own yield curve: The disruption that occurs always benefits the middle layer first, but markets always rationalize later. Mike Leo, former Operative CEO, told me about how another industry solved a similar problem that was occurring in the media business, where ad agencies were starting to rebel against specialized media buyers who in the middle of the transaction, with opaque pricing methodologies. The year was 1968, and agencies teamed up and decided that a standard rate of 15% was all they were willing to pay for television buying services (and then they eventually bought all of the media buying companies, but that’s another story). Anyway, markets always rationalize themselves, and right now even 15% feels like a big vigorish for agencies with ever-shrinking margins on their media practice.
  • Standards: It’s 2013, and we are still faxing IOs. This is largely because there are no accepted standards—and no protocol—for electronic orders. This is actually not a hard problem to solve, but getting adoption from buyers and sellers is what’s needed. Right now, a few companies are working with groups like the IAB to get real traction with standards, and we need that to succeed to make programmatic direct buying a scalable reality. Electronic orders suck a lot of the viscosity out of the deal pipeline, and start to let the machines do the grunt work of order processing, rather than a $50,000 junior media planner.

The good news is that there has been a tremendous amount of progress in 2013 on all of these initiatives. The promise of true programmatic direct buying is closer than ever, and there is enough real development behind the hype to make these dreams of efficient media buying a reality in the near future. In that future, it just may be possible for a buyer to use demand-side technology to aggregate the “fat middle” of premium mid tail publishers, and start to reward the middle class of inventory owners who are currently getting paid beer prices for champagne content.

The Happiness Gap

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Today, I presented “The Happiness Gap” at Upstream Group’s Seller Forum. What a great way to spend the day! I highly recommend the Seller Forum for anyone in a senior position in digital ad sales. Doug Weaver is a fountain of knowledge. But this is no “sage on the stage” event. It’s a true forum where much of the value comes from talking with other attendees. Everyone there was top notch and willing to share both successes and failures.  During the day, I was able to validate ideas and came away with at least 5 new ideas. Best of all: I met a bunch of smart, new friends!

Here’s the quick summary of The Happiness Gap for digital publishers:

(1) More than half of your employees plan to leave in the next two years

(2) They are leaving because they are unhappy (no surprise, right?)

(3) The best way to retain them / make them happy is to provide training and a career path

For more, see the full presentation above. Let me know if you want to learn more.


Let’s End the Human Trafficking in Digital Media

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


This article originally appeared in The Makegood.

In the envisioned world of “programmatic direct,” computers buy all digital media automatically with astonishing efficiency and without human intervention. Contrast that with today’s reality: an army of DSOs – Digital Switchboard Operators – carrying out digital media plans using a manual 42-step process. On the buy side, this process typically requires 482 hours in media agency labor per campaign. On the sell side, anecdotal evidence indicates even more time is spent among the publishers.

One of the most time consuming, error prone, and soul crushing parts of the process is ad trafficking. Trafficking is the sub-process of setting up ad servers for a given campaign. Those not familiar with the digital media “sausage factory” might think this process is entirely automated and done with the click of a button. Nothing could be further from the truth. With directly sold ads, trafficking is done manually by humans employing a great deal of effort.

Here’s how it works today.

The trafficking process starts when media planning process ends. The advertising agency’s media planner hands the ad ops team the completed media plan, typically in an Excel spreadsheet format. This plan then gets handed to a typically junior-level ad trafficker. Assuming he has all the creative assets (humor me here, that’s a topic for another article!), the trafficker then logs into the agency ad server, creates a new campaign, and manually creates a placement for each line on the media plan. In Google’s popular DFA ad server, each placement requires filling out a complicated form with 33 fields. Now consider a 100 line media plan – that’s 33×100 = 3,300 fields to enter for a single campaign! He also has to upload and match all the creative assets. It’s virtually impossible to avoid making at least one mistake.

Once the agency’s trafficker completes his task, he generates a trafficking sheet from the ad server that contains all the ad serving tags for the campaign. Then he emails separate tag files to each publisher on the media plan.

Upon receipt, each publisher hands their trafficking sheet to their ad ops department. After verifying it matches the insertion order, the trafficking sheet is handed to a typically junior-level trafficker (sometimes called a tech specialist). Now he logs into the publisher’s ad server, creates a campaign, and manually creates a placement for each line on the trafficking sheet. Assuming no problems (another bad assumption), he notifies the agency trafficker it’s been completed.

Whew… That is a lot of work! And it’s all grunt work.

Consider an alternative future reality. Upon completion of the media plan, the agency media planner presses the “go” button on their media plan (note: this is definitely not in Excel). The campaign is automatically set up on the advertiser ad server, tags are generated and electronically send to the publisher ad server, the publisher ad server verifies against the insertion order then automatically creates all the placements and sends acknowledgement back to the agency planning system. This all happens in a matter of seconds without human intervention. It’s basically the same process as with the DSOs, except that it happens automatically in real-time and eliminates hours of soul-crushing work, delays, and mistakes.

Digital advertising just celebrated its 18th birthday. Don’t you think it’s time we finally ended human trafficking in digital media? Automating this process is not only the humane thing to do, but is necessary if we ever want to realize the promise of programmatic direct.

Tech for Direct: The Renaissance of Premium – NYC June 5th

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Tech for Direct: The Renaissance of Premium

Real-time bidding changed everything about how remnant inventory is bought and sold, and was responsible for dramatic efficiency gains for both advertisers and publishers. But we haven’t had the same level of a technological shift for the biggest piece of the pie for premium publishers: direct sales. There’s nothing efficient or advanced about sending spreadsheets back and forth, but until recently there wasn’t another option. With the rise of programmatic direct there’s finally technology that’s making direct sales sexy again, but is the industry ready for it?

Find out next Wednesday, June 5th in New York City at an event NextMark is co-hosting with Maxifier and iSocket called “Tech for Direct: The Renaissance of Premium.”  For more information and to request you invitation, go to the event website:

One Obvious Way to Save Publishing

Thursday, May 30th, 2013


This article was originally published in The Makegood.

The publishing business is under siege by technology.

The New York Times is blaming exchange-traded media for its most recent declines in online display ad revenue. Federated Media just gave up on direct sales in favor of exchange-traded media. Meanwhile, CNET just reported that “Google generated $20.8 billion in ad revenue in the first six months of 2012, while the whole U.S. print media industry — newspapers and magazines — made only $19.2 billion.”

The trend is clear: publishers are losing and the advertising technology intermediaries are winning. Does this really have to be a win/lose situation? A key topic at publishers’ board meetings must be, “How do we wrestle back control and get the revenue and income we deserve?”

Here’s an obvious idea: make it easier for people to buy advertising from you.

Today’s process to buy a digital advertisement directly is a mess. It’s a manual 42-step process taking an average of 48 hours per insertion order and costing buyers more than $4k per IO (482 hours and $40k per campaign). The costs are even higher on the sell side. These high transaction costs are a main factor holding back digital advertising spending.

One of the big reasons that programmatic buying through exchanges is eroding your direct sales is because it’s so easy and efficient. The cost of an exchange transaction is effectively zero.

The reason that exchanges are so efficient is because of the adoption and implementation of electronic standards. Electronic standards are also the key to making direct sales more efficient.

Make it easy to learn about your advertising programs. Research tools like comScore and Nielsen do a great job of helping buyers find sites, but they don’t provide information about your advertising programs. Buyers spend way too much time just trying to figure out what you are selling. Everyone agrees the RFP process is obsolete. The IAB is helping to solve the information gathering problem with its free Digital Advertising Directory (disclosure: we built this for them), but the directory is still far from comprehensive or complete. Your active involvement is needed to improve your listings and to support this industry resource.

Make it easy to order from you. We’ve been talking about creating a standard electronic insertion order for years. There’s no good reason this has not been done. The IAB has been leading the effort creating an electronic insertion order as part of its eBusiness standards, but they need your support. Isn’t it about time we finished this work and implemented these standards?

Make it easy to implement ads. Copying and pasting ad server tags between Excel and the ad server is a slow and error prone process. This “human trafficking” needs to stop. This should happen automatically when the buyer presses the “buy now” button. Again, electronic standards are needed.

Make it easy to get reports. You guessed it. Electronic standards are needed for reporting, too.

Make it easy to pay you. There’s a significant amount of time wasted invoicing and resolving discrepancies. A standard electronic invoice has also been in the works for quite a while. Let’s finish this.

Make it all work together. Buyers and sellers each need to buy or build systems that implement these electronic standards.  Nobody has yet built the ultimate system, but vendors are working towards automating of the direct buy. On the buy side, you’ve got MediaOcean, Facilitate, Centro, and NextMark (my company). On the sell side, you’ve got Operative,  iSocket, AdSlot, FatTail, and ShinyAds. These vendors share a common vision and are working together and with the IAB to implement interoperability standards that will streamline the workflow.

Given the age and size of digital advertising, it’s hard to understand why these basic building blocks aren’t already in place. There’s no real innovation needed. Electronic workflow has been done in many other industries. It’s basic blocking and tackling from an engineering standpoint. With an industry as innovative and digital as ours, we owe it to ourselves to get this done.

Implementing these electronic standards is not a silver bullet that will alone save publishing in the digital age. However, it’s one obvious way to unlock revenue and profits from direct sales. That’s not only good for advertisers, agencies, and publishers; a healthy Fourth Estate is good for society as a whole.

RFP Template for Digital Advertising

Friday, April 5th, 2013


After speaking with dozens of digital media publishers and planners, I’ve come realize that two things need to happen in order for more digital media proposals to be accepted:

1) The digital media planner (buyer) must communicate the campaign objectives, acceptance criteria, and detailed requirements in a manner that leaves no room for error or misunderstanding.

2) The digital media publisher (seller) must respond with a relevant proposal that includes all of the requested information. Take a look at the top 5 things you’ll find in digital media proposals that win.

The good news is that digital media spending continues to increase, and you can expect to see an even greater lift in demand for premium guaranteed inventory when interactive media buyers and sellers are effectively matched, consistently concise, and clearly understood.

Based on input from digital media buyers who have expressed their needs, I developed an EASY-RFP template using the desktop application most frequently used in 2012 by digital media planners; that’s right — Microsoft Excel!

I would like to thank Ali Hockenberry (IMM), Ed Frack (Klunk & Millan Advertising), Joel Nierman (Critical Mass), and Michelle Burnham (Burnham Marketing) for their insights and RFP template suggestions.

Click here to download your free RFP template for digital advertising. Feel free to use, modify, or incorporate this for your own RFP template. Your feedback is welcome!

You can use the Easy RFP template in conjunction with NextMark’s Digital Media Planner application. Planner eliminates the hassles associated with sending RFPs, managing proposals, and accepting proposals into your media plan.  Best part? It’s free. Request your access to NextMark Planner here.

What We Love, Hate and Desire in Our Digital Media Jobs

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

This presentation was given by Joe Pych at Digiday Agency Summit March 20, 2013 in Scottsdale, AZ. Two thirds of people in digital media plan to change jobs in the next two years because they are unhappy. This survey reveals the source of unhappiness and makes recommendations to increase job satisfaction.

To get a more detailed look at the findings, download the DAS SOTI March 2013 Happiness White Paper.

Shameless self-promotion: Among many other things, this survey revealed that 76.1% of agencies use Microsoft Excel to create their media plans.  It also revealed that 59.4% are not happy with their tools.  Are you unhappy with wasting your life away in Excel? You should try NextMark’s Digital Media Planner tool. It’s free and better than Excel in at least 31 ways.

3 Reasons Why “Programmatic Premium” Doesn’t Work Today

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This article was originally published in The Makegood.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about “programmatic premium” – using machines to fully automate the purchase of premium advertising inventory. It seems like every conference lately has someone from Kellogg’s on a panel saying programmatic premium is GR-R-REAT with very impressive statistics to support their claims.

The Ad Exchanges, DSPs, DMPs, SSPs, and various other TLAs (three letter acronyms) you see on Terry Kawaja’s Display Lumascape have certainly been successful at automating the buying and selling of remnant inventory. But remnant inventory represents only a small slice of advertising spending. According to Mike Leo, CEO of Operative, only 18% of digital media advertising budget is spent through exchanges.

Advertising technology stack vendors are now hungrily eyeing the other 82% of the pie that is currently being spent on premium advertising inventory through guaranteed contracts. Their story is their technology will work just as well for premium inventory as it has proven to be for remnant inventory. However, in practice, they face three very significant challenges.

First and foremost, today’s exchange-based technologies are not well-suited for buying guaranteed inventory. Exchange-based technology was built to optimize bids on an impression by impression basis in real-time. The lifecycle of the process is literally 30 milliseconds and does not involve humans. It’s just a simple transaction between two computers based on pre-programmed bidding algorithms.

In contrast, buying guaranteed inventory today is a messy 42-step process spanning weeks involving humans from multiple organizations, RFPs, dinners, ballgames, proposals, contracts, negotiations, reviews, signatures, and such. The big problem/opportunity with buying guaranteed inventory is not in optimizing bids, but rather in optimizing the workflow. Optimizing workflow within the agency and among trading partners requires a very different set of technologies than an algorithm for optimizing bid prices on a transaction.

To avoid all this messy workflow, some ad tech vendors ignore it and try to force-fit premium inventory into exchanges. They want to move the inventory into the game they are already good at playing.

That leads to the second problem: premium publishers don’t want to put their inventory in exchanges because it drives down the value of their inventory. Publishers joke that RTB really stands for “race to the bottom.” According to Walter Jacobs, EVP of Sales at Turner Digital “We don’t participate in any real time bidding or private exchanges at this point. It’s a very funny thing, because to the untrained eye, we might seem like an unsophisticated old media company that is scared to embrace technology. The opposite couldn’t be much closer to the truth. […] We believe the downside of RTB and private exchanges is that it fragments audiences.”

Ad tech vendors need to respect the needs of the premium publisher. Publishers are certainly keen to streamline their workflow, lower their transaction costs, and to make it easier to buy from them. However, they will never do that in an environment that commoditizes their inventory and creates channel conflict with their ad sales teams.

A third problem that is rarely mentioned, but perhaps trumps them all is the dirty secret that advertising agencies are making a ton of money on the old way of buying guaranteed inventory. Starting around 1990, agencies have moved from media commission models to hourly (or “cost plus”) pricing models. According to the 4A’s Labor Billing Survey Report, 91% of proposals today are priced based on hourly rates (despite scoring lowest among alternatives on the Grossman Grid). In other words, the more time they spend on a job the more they get paid for the job.

A typical digital media plan costs an agency $40,000+ in labor to create and execute. These costs plus a profit margin are the revenue for the agency. As such, agencies are reluctant to adopt technologies solely on the basis of efficiency because it will cut their revenue. As an engineer, it kills me there’s a disincentive to be more efficient. But that’s the cruel reality of the situation. Any new technology has to have value beyond just efficiency to give the agency a really good reason to break rank and to go through the painful process of establishing a new compensation model that preserves their revenue.

There’s a billion dollar opportunity for automation in premium inventory. Ad tech stack vendors have proven that automation works in remnant inventory. Now it’s time to raise the bar and evolve the automation to support the more sophisticated needs of the buyers and sellers in premium advertising inventory.

The 10 Biggest Problems with RFPs

Friday, October 26th, 2012

This article was originally published in The Makegood.

It’s the fall media planning season. It’s the time of the year when leaves fall and make a mess of all the yards in the neighborhood. It’s also the time of the year when RFPs fall and make a mess of all the desks and inboxes in the media world.

In The Fiesta Nobody Loves, Doug Weaver writes:

“As we enter the fall season and another online advertising year begins to ebb, the human-powered agency RFP process continues — against all odds — to cling to life. For those looking in from the outside, the RFP (request for proposal) is a weekly ritual in which an agency sends out digital planning requirements to five times as many sites and networks as they’ll be able to buy from. The sales reps get all lathered up, put their entire organization into Def-Con 4 status, and turn a detailed proposal around in 36 or 48 hours with relatively little quality information and — unbeknownst to them — very low odds of really being considered.

“Just about everyone you talk to wants this thing to go away. Clients see it as a waste of their billable hours; planning teams feel that it burns out their people; publishers see it as a massive resource drain; and holding companies are desperate to automate it out of existence. It’s the Rod Blagojevich of business practices.”

It’s no secret to anyone in the business that the digital RFP is a frustrating mess. But why is the RFP universally disliked? Here’s a list of its top 10 problems: (more…)