Q&A with David Raleigh, Account Executive at FreeWheel, On The Importance of Industry Knowledge

David Raleigh

David Raleigh / Account Executive at FreeWheel, On The Importance of Industry Knowledge

Hey, Salespeople! Helping your customers navigate and prepare for a successful data-compliant future is not just your job, it’s your duty.

U of Digital recently ran a training on ‘Identity’ for the FreeWheel team, in which the learning outcomes were:

  • Know the use cases for identity graphs and how they are being solved for today
  • Understand the various cookieless solutions and their positioning
  • Develop talking points specific to your products and services

We spoke with David Raleigh, Account Executive of Advanced TV at FreeWheel, and one of our top learners, afterwards.

As a salesperson in today’s ad tech environment, what are some of the biggest challenges you face?

One of the biggest challenges I face today is staying up to date as the industry continues to evolve and seemingly grows more complex by the day. It goes without saying that every salesperson should be deeply familiar with their own product offerings and platform capabilities, but to effectively advise customers who are looking to intelligently invest their marketing budgets, it’s essential that I also understand the various aspects, elements, and nuances of the greater ad tech marketplace and how those elements connect. One of the many reasons I value the U of Digital’s regular workshops is because they are a terrific way to stay up to date with the evolving industry.

How does the issue of consumer identity add to your challenges in terms of working with marketers?

Consumer identity is an additional challenge at times because it can be a very technical, complex topic and every individual’s depth of knowledge on the subject varies. This requires me, as a salesperson, to be capable of describing the concepts on multiple levels – from the very basics of how data is collected, to the idiosyncrasies of various cookieless solutions new to the market.

As many of us are aware, the tactics widely adopted by the media industry in the digital age have been disrupted by factors like current data privacy regulations, such as CCPA, the deprecation of 3rd party cookies, and that devices now require users to opt-in to data collection.  Naturally, I have customers seeking additional support and insight that can help them navigate and prepare their marketing engines for a successful data privacy compliant future.

Looking to the future, there are a handful of industry players working to create the industry’s next iteration of cookieless identity resolution. Examples include Google’s Privacy Sandbox and The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 – both of which are positioned as the future of cookieless advertising while taking very different approaches. Separately, groups like the IAB are developing industry standards through their recently announced Project Rearc. These players and many more have similar, yet largely unique solutions. The majority are competing to become the keys to unlocking consumer identity in the future.

Without clarity that suggests one player’s identity solution will be adopted by the industry at large or knowing how data collection will be impacted by future government regulation, predicting exactly what the next iterations of identity resolution will look like today is certainly a challenge.

You recently attended a U of Digital workshop for Freewheel on the topic of consumer identity. Can you tell us some of your favorite highlights from it?

For starters, I always find a ton of value in the U of Digital’s workshops. I very much appreciated kicking off our latest workshop with a simple, straight forward overview of consumer identity beginning with its advent leading up through today. That provided me with a solid knowledge base which was built upon as we moved to more complex topics throughout the session.

I also found a natural appreciation for U of Digital’s ability to clearly highlight not just what is changing with regard to consumer privacy and identity, but more so, what are the real world consequences those changes will have on different marketplace participants. U of Digital does a great job tieing events to impacts which helps me conceptualize a broader industry concept in a very clear way.

As a salesperson, it’s important to stay current on how different industry players are approaching the next phase of consumer identity so I can effectively consult for my customers. I certainly found our discussion about Google’s Privacy Sandbox and The Trade Desk’s Universal IDs 2.0 beneficial. On one hand Google claims replacing cookies with another PII-based identifier does not meet ideal privacy standards, while The Trade Desk appears intent on replacing cookies with an alternative ID. As I contemplate the future of consumer identity resolution, these are some important considerations. It appears likely the next rendition of consumer identity solutions will encompass multiple approaches, parties, and methodologies which makes it incredibly useful to be familiar with the idiosyncrasies and differences of each.

Lastly, I’d be totally remiss if I did not highlight the fact that Shiv and the entire U of Digital team are wonderfully engaging and make participating in each workshop and absorbing new content a blast.

How has the workshop impacted the conversations you have with customers about consumer identity?

My conversations with customers about consumer identity have certainly benefited from participating in the U of Digital’s workshop. As a salesperson, I have a duty and commitment to be a responsible and informed resource for my customers who, like many, are traversing an ever-complex media ecosystem. Being able to simplify a complex issue, like consumer identity, has been incredibly useful. Having participated in the U of Digital’s Consumer Identity workshop has given me the tools to take a more consultative approach, guide and ultimately deliver greater value to my customers in need.

David Raleigh

David Raleigh / Account Executive at FreeWheel, On The Importance of Industry Knowledge

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