Tell us about the journey that led you to start Redmill Solutions.
I started my journey as a software engineer working at an advertising agency in London. As their first developer — indeed, the first developer for any London ad agency — I was in a unique position because we were all learning by doing. This meant I worked with planners, buyers, researchers, and financial teams: basically, all the key stakeholders in the media ecosystem.
I then took this knowledge and expanded it over 19 years, working for large global media agencies such as MediaCom and GroupM, steadily moving into more senior roles such as IT Director, Global Head of Technology, and Chief Information Officer.
My path gave me a holistic view of the media environment and a detailed understanding of the whole planning and buying process. It’s thanks to all of these different roles from bottom to top that equipped me with the insight to truly understand what advertisers need, which is a global intelligence platform that provides better visibility over their media and advertising investment data.
For almost two decades, during my tenure in agencyland, we worked tirelessly to try to solve this problem. Like most engineers, what gets me motivated each day is working to solve complex problems like this. Ultimately, the idea for the solution became the genesis of Redmill.
How does Redmill Solutions differ from other companies?
First off, we are an entirely independent software provider. We aren’t affiliated with any agency or media owner, so our interests are 100% aligned with our clients, the advertisers. Additionally, Redmill uniquely understands that the media trading behaviours, traditions, and workflows vary widely by market, and that all media planning is local. These local processes are both valuable and deeply ingrained. A key to our success is not requiring any process or workflow changes for our clients or their agency. Our priority is to serve advertisers, and our progress — from its beginning as just me, my dog, and my computer, to managing billions of dollars of media investment annually 11 years later — proves that we are succeeding in this.
My background as a software engineer and my experience within the sector means I understand the technology and the tools as much as the media ecosystem itself. Efficient data management is vital for brands, which is why our aim is to relay all the information and insights back to the businesses in a way that is comprehensive, usable, and portable.
What are the main challenges that brands face today?
With myriad data sets flying in from across the globe, achieving a single source of data truth is not easy. Brands now have access to so much data information that it’s incredibly challenging to manually distill into actionable intelligence — in some cases we are ingesting from more than 3,000 sources across 120+ countries. Collecting, organising, structuring, and surfacing that information is a monumental task.
This is why we developed Tuk-Tuk, a platform with a highly customisable interface and intuitive UI for even the most tech-shy users that does all the ‘heavy lifting’ of data collection, cleaning and harmonisation. This leaves our clients’ teams with the time, transparency, and clarity to analyse the data and translate it into meaningful actions and strategies.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to marketers today?
In these days of increasing availability of data to help with insights, don’t forget the humans. Hire people and agencies that you like, that you trust, and that are smart, and treat them as partners. By having the right partners and the right insights you can achieve anything. Agency strength’s vary by market, so picking the best partner by market is very important.