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5 Minutes With Dan Sheppard

20th Jan 2016


Since humble beginnings placing trading professionals in London’s investment banking and proprietary trading arenas way back in the day, Dan has developed a deep fascination and, dare we say it, “love” for the digital agenda. The very same agenda applies to today’s Real Time Bidding (RTB) and Programmatic Trading niches, so this devotion has helped Dan forge a successful path to becoming one of the few “go-to” specialists in these fields across Australia. These days he’s very proud to be a nationally recognised RTB / Programmatic Trading technical expert, an honorary member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and one of the biggest billing, high-level recruitment consultants in this space.

As regional client services director within Xpand's Digital & AdTech division, Dan offers strategic advice to digital and media agencies, publishers, technology companies, data vendors and any other brands who are transitioning into automated media and audience buying processes – right across Asia Pacific (APAC) and South East Asia (SEA). 

What should be the digital / technology priorities for the year ahead in the NZ market?

If Australia and other markets is anything to go by, then education will still remain at the top of the list shortly followed by trying things. Many fear change, especially in an area that few too many understand in its entirety. In a evolution like the one we are in the middle of now, this should be a time for trial and error until processes are standardised. This is time for driving innovation and communicating it broadly in a way that everyone can relate to. Some of the technical priorities should be learning how to use self serve media buying platforms and DMPs, these are going to be the new standard in years to come.

Which Kiwi Brands or business are using Digital / Technology to its full potential and how?

Very few, but that’s the same across the world right now, it’s too embryonic to have anyone one in terms of leaders but; there  are some very exciting innovations and collaborations going on and I don’t see the Kiwi’s holding back in either of these departments. TradeMe is an interesting business, Kiwi-founded, I think in recent years they’ve realised just how much more they can do with the brand and the assets it has access to.

What Emerging technologies or trends should people be aware of?

Technologies are forever improving and evolving, the trends are set by the businesses that take the calculated risks to try something different. Look for the trend setters and you’ll have your answer. Anything data related which you can pull valuable insights from would be what I’d be looking out for. Data is the new currency of the world.

What’s the best piece of innovation you have seen in recent time and why?

There have been so many times in the past 5 years that I’ve stopped and gasped at something awesome. Things are getting so smart nowadays which is why I feel fortunate that I’m in the digital world right now to witness it all. Personally, I loved the innovation behind the Red Bull Stratos project which was really very smart. A very strong brand marketing campaign to put Red Bull’s extreme innovations to the next level on a global stage. Widely spoken about in across broadcast media, friends and family and all digital, social platforms and a successful outcome. Loved it.

How has employee engagement changed in recent years, and how would you advise that organisation to attract the best Kiwis?

Attraction is much harder in my opinion than retention. If you have a smart retention strategy, you will no doubt attract more interest to your business. It’s interesting times and I think that things will slow down soon enough as people get engrossed in long projects that people want to see through to the end. Ignore the naysayers and go with your own values to attract the right people.