John Donovan, leader of the GumGum U.K. team, gives a peek into how our business is blooming abroad.
It’s incredible to know that across the sea, there is a team of five incredibly skilled people navigating GumGum’s expansion in the United Kingdom. A small team of passionate people who mirror our beginning in the U.S., actively pushing our product into a new market while overcoming the obstacles and successes together. We opened the doors to our U.K. office less than six months ago and the team has been killing it. U.K. Sales Director John Donovan leads the team from our office in London’s vibrant Soho district. He filled us in on business abroad, and what we can expect in 2016.
Why did you join GumGum?
In an over-complicated and often confusing ad tech market, GumGum’s products have a value proposition that is easy to understand, not to mention proven results in driving strong brand engagement. Our leadership team and investors have a strong vision for the U.K. market, and it’s exciting to be a part of that. In-image advertising had been on my radar for a few months before I came across GumGum’s in-image recognition technology (a patent technology!) and learnt of their recent investment and International growth. I am excited by our products and how we are overcoming continued industry issues such as banner blindness, ad blocking, and users’ short attention spans! Bringing a new form of advertising to the U.K. market is an exciting challenge and something I am looking forward to in the coming months. As a business, we are already seeing traction in the U.K. market, and are working hard to establish ourself as the number one provider of in-image for all the major brands and agencies.
What are the similarities and differences you are seeing in the U.K. market versus the U.S. market?
The U.K. advertising market is highly centralized in London. As a result, the market here has been able to shift more quickly to adopting new technologies than its stateside counterpart. Most of the major agencies are located within a 10-minute walk of our London office. This certainly makes it easier and faster to educate the market and get everyone aligned regarding a new offering. As in the U.S., U.K. brands and agencies are embracing native advertising and are looking to shift more budget into highly visible advertising executions that are integrated into content.
Are there specific needs or requests by your clients?
From a U.K. note, the market wants video, viewability, and premium sites. Brands and agencies are looking for innovative ways to distribute video that is less interruptive and more user initiated than much of what’s out there now. There is also strong demand for aligning contextually with relevant content around key sporting event images as these drive massive engagement in the U.K.
Biggest challenges and successes?
In image, although a saturated market in the U.S., is very new to the U.K. and European markets. This has meant the biggest challenge to date is not showing how the product (GumGum) works, but more the educational pitch/sell around In image and how it can benefit brands and campaign. Another challenge is simply time management, because with so many top agencies in London, we’re constantly in back-to-back meetings educating clients about GumGum’s capabilities! Our biggest wins so far have been building a fantastic team, in which all of the members are all aligned to drive success for GumGum in the U.K., as well as launching successful campaigns for top FMCG, automotive and entertainment clients.
What’s on the agenda for the next few months?
Meetings, growth, exposure and IO’s! More meetings, making key hires (sales, operations, design and marketing), industry conferences, thought leadership, and more successful campaigns!