5 things to look for when selecting an outsourcing agency

Is your brand thinking about outsourcing your digital campaigns? Good plan. By selecting the right outsourcing partner you can get access to experts in every aspect of digital campaigns, and give your internal teams more time to focus on other work that is client or revenue focused.

Of course, this begs the question: how do you select the “right” partner? Here are five things to look for when selecting an outsourcing partner.

#1: Industry expertise

Launching, optimizing and reporting on campaigns successfully is no easy feat. There are a million details to take care of, all of which require considerable expertise to do properly. Perfection is required every step of the way, from ensuring that all creatives are formatted correctly to the channel in which they’ll be seen and assessing brand safety of ad placements, to execution across multiple direct and programmatic channels.

You need a partner with significant industry expertise, someone you can learn from, and who can step in to fill in unexpected gaps in your internal teams as they arise.

As a premier digital media services agency, Paragon Digital Services teams offer considerable end-to-end campaign expertise. Our teams are well trained and well versed in every aspect of digital campaigns, including media operations, data analytics, creative and campaign optimization, as well as ancillary business finance services to advertisers, publishers and platforms across the globe.

#2: Methodology for learning and documenting your internal processes

Every brand has a unique combination of internal processes, supported by internal infrastructure, that its employees follow in order to work towards common goals. Processes include campaign requirements, sign-off authority, escalation procedures and so on.

You need a partner that has a methodology for supporting your internal way of doing things, and not the other way around, otherwise, you will spend too much time managing your outsourcing partner, rather than reaping the benefits of time saved.

This is why Paragon Digital Services has designed an onboarding system that begins with the creation of a client-specific Standard Operating Procedures document. This document is a comprehensive roadmap of how our two companies will work together. It covers:

  • How, when and why we communicate
  • Which systems and tools you want us to use
  • Services we’ll provide
  • Your priorities
  • Escalation management plan

#3: Certifications

It’s one thing to be trained in a software or process, it’s a whole other matter to complete rigorous certification. Take ensuring quality management and data security. Your outsourcing partner will touch a lot of your sensitive customer data, don’t you think they should be certified to do so properly?

This is why Paragon is fully ISO 9001:2015 certified. Not only that, after four years of audits and certification, Paragon has built a robust infrastructure around the ISO 9001:2015 principles, and it has become a way of life for our organization. All of our workflows – from the simplest task for a client to fulfilling a role they’ve handed off to us – are executed with these quality principles in mind. If you’d like to learn more about our ISO certifications, and what they mean for you, we’d recommend you check out one of our previous blog posts – ‘What is ISO 90001:2015 / ISO 27001 and why should you care?’.

#4: 24/7 campaign support

Campaigns can’t wait for someone to return from vacation or a conference. You need a well-oiled machine that can design, execute and optimize campaigns based on your schedule.

A good outsourcing partner is one who can meet your campaign deadlines, and manage your ongoing ones 24/7 by seamlessly plugging resources when a team member calls in sick or attends a conference. This is why Paragon prioritizes our Standard Operating Procedures document.

There is always somebody looking after your campaigns.

#5: Full advertising support

If you only plan to do one form of advertising, let’s say paid search, outsourcing to an agency with limited skill sets may work for you. But consumers are multi-channel, and that means your advertising strategy will need to meet them wherever they are in the digital universe.

Paragon can support every component of your campaign, from paid search and paid social, to global display and video programmatic campaigns. The benefit of a one-stop shop is that we can analyze your campaign holistically, and inform you when you’ll get better results by concentrating on one channel over another. Plus, it means you have just one point of contact to work with.

Interested in discussing our offerings further? Get in touch.

Author:David Tyler

Date:5th October 2021


Get ready for Black Friday/Cyber Monday: 6 tips for success

2021 promises to be another “interesting” holiday season. Last year consumers stayed home, and many used the no-traveling policy to cross people off their shopping list they weren’t going to see in person. Are those permanent or temporary removals?  Will people abandon the idea of holiday gatherings in favor of a wonderful trip as a reward for sheltering in place?

One thing we know for certain is that competition for consumers will be fierce. On top of that, the economy is groaning under a global labor shortage which means you might not have the resources to provide the high-touch level of support you once did. So how do you ensure your all-important holiday season is a stellar success?

Here are six tips for you to consider.

Tip #1: Expand your store footprint with social selling

According to a DigitalCommerce360 survey of over 4,500 consumers, 82% of people say that social media is where they hear about brands and products most frequently. Almost a third (29%) say that most of their new purchases come from social media discoveries. Even before the pandemic forced people to stay at home, however, more than half (54%) of people said they purchase directly from social media. Social selling is hot!

Headless commerce lets you move your ecommerce frontend to your social media pages, and capture consumers where they’re increasingly apt to shop.

Tip #2: Expand your payment options

More than 150 million Americans have a digital wallet; worldwide the number will top 1.5 billion by the end of the year. And, people don’t have just one digital wallet; they have many. It’s not unusual for consumers to regularly use PayPal, Venmo, Android Pay/Apple Pay, Amazon Pay as they shop online and in real life.

Why the popularity? For 66% of consumers it all comes down to convenience. It’s just so easy to buy something with a digital wallet. In fact, finding a wallet, entering credit card and shipping information, especially from a mobile device, is an utter drag. It’s just easier to find a retailer who will let consumers purchase they way they want.

What’s more, let’s say that a consumer lent her friend $100, who later paid her back in Venmo. That money is more or less sitting in her Venmo account waiting to be spent. Let your ecommerce store be the place where she spends it. Including your list of payment options in your ad campaigns is a smart move to attract such people.

Tip #3: Offer live chat or personal assistants

A recent study by LivePerson found that, “75% of consumers will spend more money with retailers that support digital and in-store experiences with messaging experts. More than half of shoppers, 63%, will purchase more from a website that boasts a virtual assistant.”

It’s not difficult to understand why. Selecting gifts is stressful. Will the recipient like it? Will it arrive on time? How can I be sure that the Black Friday/Cyber Monday promo code will go through?

Live chat and personal assistants can deliver answers at the most critical time, resulting in better conversion rates.

Tip #4: Create answers to routine customer questions

It’s not likely that we’ll resolve the global labor shortage in time for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which means your customer care team will need to respond to a lot more questions with fewer people to help. You can ease their workload by creating answers to routine questions like, “when will my order arrive?” or “do these hoodies run large?”

There are many tools that can streamline your customer care operations, including responding to incoming questions at lightning speed. Quick response builds shopper confidence, and your sales.

Tip #5: Offer “shop online pickup in store”

In the unlikely event that you haven’t built this functionality into your site, give consumers the option to avoid crowds (and COVID variants) by shopping online and picking up their packages at one of your retail outlets.

Consumer behavior has changed quite a bit since the pandemic. Habits acquired out of necessity, like shopping online and picking up in stores, are here to stay. Why battle crowds if you don’t have to?

Tip #6: Offer gift guides

Some people love gift shopping, for many others it is a job full of terror. What do you get a 13-year-old kid who seems to spend all of his time looking at his mobile? Or the coworker whose name you drew in the office Secret Santa?

Offer a series of gift guides – Gifts for Him, Gifts for Her, Gifts for Teens, Gifts Under $25, Gifts Under $100, and so on for shoppers who have no idea what to get the people on their lists.

Gift Guides are also a great way to attract visitors to your site as people often search on terms like, “gifts for teens.”

Get in touch

Right now you probably have your hands full getting ready for the holiday season, but there’s one burden you can offload to us: your ad campaigns. We can run all of your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns, including Paid Search. We’ll execute them flawlessly, analyze results daily, and optimize every aspect of your campaign in order to drive performance – get in touch.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:29th September 2021


Best practices for onboarding outsourcing partners

Are you considering outsourcing ad ops to Paragon Digital Services? Smart move. Your teams can use their time to focus on more high value, strategic activities, such as finding new business and growing your revenue.

What’s more, you can rest assured that your ad ops are in good hands. Paragon’s teams are extremely detail oriented and process driven. We’ll focus on the technical nuts and bolts of your campaigns – tracking down creatives, site tagging and set-up, testing and optimization, real-time reporting and analytics – so you won’t need to.

When working with an outsourcing partner, it’s important to remember that you’re asking someone else to step into your shoes, and to succeed, Paragon needs to know every detail of that experience. When we onboard a client, we immerse ourselves in the minutiae of your business process, systems, and systems documentation.

Whether you’re a media agency, publisher, tech platform or brand that’s seeking to in-house media execution, we follow a three-phased approach to onboarding new clients in a highly process-driven way.

Phase 1: Understand your systems and business processes

The first phase focuses on understanding the systems and the business processes that are in place. We need to learn your ad-tech stack inside and out, so that we can expertly execute and troubleshoot your campaigns.

Phase 2: Understand business documentation and fill in gaps

Once we have a strong handle on your systems and processes, we work on achieving a comprehensive understanding of the business documentation that supports all the work done within those systems. To do that, we’ll review all of your system documentation so that we can create tools based on it. We’ll also identify and fill any gaps that pertain to business processes associated with your campaign KPIs.

Phase 3: Practice runs

Once we have our ducks in order, we’ll conduct multiple campaigns in your systems and against your business processes and campaign KPIs. We then ask you to evaluate our work with a highly critical eye. We won’t take over a client’s work until we’re 100% accurate.

(Don’t worry about this phase taking forever. We’re far from novices, and we typically get this accurate in short order.)

What we ask from our clients

What do we need from you to succeed? We ask that you provide us access to your business systems, and to train us on the processes you want us to follow once we assume responsibility for your ad ops. We also need to see all documentation, and to provide guidance on filling in any gaps we may identify.

Get in touch to learn how we can help you transform your ad ops.

Author:Sarah Chapman

Date:22nd September 2021


Why Information Security is a critical consideration when selecting your offshore ad operations provider

Media companies, agencies and platform providers need to know whether their ad operations providers have the systems, processes and controls in place to protect their first-party data, campaign results, conversions, strategy, and so much more. This data is strategically vital and can also be a huge liability if handled in a way that violates data protections laid out in GDPR, CCPA.

Outsourced ad operations firms have the ability to help clients avoid risk by hiring trusted third-parties to audit their own work specific to: quality, process and technical infrastructure security. Several years ago, Paragon Digital Services chose the International Organization of Standards (ISO) as its third-party agency to help achieve Quality and Security standards that exceeded all other providers.

Core features of the ISO 27001 Certification include:

  • Risk Assessment Framework
  • Physical & Network Security
  • Data Security & Data Privacy
  • Information Security Awareness
  • Information Security Audits
  • Incident Management & Breach Notification
  • Business Continuity Management
  • Statutory & Legal Requirements.

Minimum Controls

Below is a list of the “minimum security controls” your outsourced ad operations provider must have instituted to ensure your data and your clients data are fully protected. Companies that outsource and companies considering outsourcing should compare the list below with the controls their provider has in place to access internal risk.

  • Information Security Policies
  • Information Security Roles & Responsibilities
  • Mobile Computing Policy
  • Business Information System Policy
  • Human Resources Security Policy
  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • Data Classification and Protection Policy
  • Information Security Awareness
  • Incident Management & Breach Notification
  • Business Continuity Management
  • Risk Assessment Framework
  • IPR Compliance Policy

Data Protection Policy

Below is a snapshot of some of the security practices, measures and controls we follow to guarantee the collective security of our environments and systems.

  • Non-Disclosure Agreements. All services are fully protected by confidentiality agreements, which we take very seriously. NDA’s oblige us to safeguard sensitive information, so you can rest assured we will never use your data other than for intended purposes.
  • Personal Data Protection. Comprehensive data protection protocol ensures your client data are used in strict accordance with your specified instructions. You decide which services Paragon will provide, and which client data we will process on your behalf. Your data will never ever be shared with another Paragon client. In the event of a security incident, structured processes will be invoked to isolate, contain, and manage incidents to conclusion.
  • Human Resources Security. Maintaining adequate security is the responsibility of all Paragon staff. Employees are hired, trained, and disciplined per Paragon corporate policies, which include careful personnel screening, confidentiality agreements, security training, among other measures.
  • Assets. Assets used by our staff, when we work on your behalf are governed, by acceptable use policies and authorized and tracked by Paragon (for instance, employees are not able to access client data via their personal computer).

Information Management

Paragon’s Information Security Policy focuses on protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information, while ensuring data privacy. Components of this policy include:

  • Information Handling. All information, whether in electronic or physical format, is handled according to designated sensitivity and risk classification.
  • Access Control Policy. Several rules, procedures and safeguards are implemented to ensure the complete protection, security, and proper handling of information assets. These rules cover rigorous identification, authorization, authentication, and password policies.
  • Acceptable Use Policy. All employees are required to further protect assets and the information stored on, and accessible from, all devices and communications services under Paragon’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).
  • Remote Access Policy. Remote access to internal Paragon systems and information is protected by a layered security model, including the use of firewalls, VPN clients, Paragon managed certificates, and two factor authentication (2FA).
  • Communications Security. Established procedures that cover the operation and management of all IT assets and networks to ensure the correct and secure operation of data processing facilities. These policies cover network security, network design, wireless access, and secure communications channels.

Operations Security

Your ad operations provider must monitor all aspects of operations on a 24/7 basis. Measures include appropriate levels of audit logging and event monitoring to mitigate any security related events.  For instance, our Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution to assess significant system events is tuned to provide event correlation across multiple system layers and to proactively alert Paragon IT staff in the event that an unexpected activity is detected.

Additionally, your ad operations provider needs to engage a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to monitor events and correlate them with industry intelligence. At Paragon this capability works in conjunction with our internal Cyber Security services to enable 24/7 coverage.  Our Cyber Security Team reviews the threat landscape and manages security tools that protect our infrastructure. Patching procedures are in place to identify, assess, and deploy vendor supported software fixes and across all applicable Paragon technology and platforms.

Finally, your ad operations provider must employs a standard backup policy for all company systems and data, and includes procedures for regularly testing backups for data availability and integrity.

These are just a few of the topics under an Operations Security umbrella. Others include physical security, compliance, business continuity, data encryption, incident reporting and response.

Risk Assessment

Paragon Digital built an inhouse “Risk Assessment Framework” that is in line with ISO 31000 Standards, for each of our clients, based on the following parameters: Network Security, Virtual Private Networks, User Access Restrictions, Multifactor Authentication, Data Classification & Handling of PII Data, Third party Application and Mobile Computing Policy.

If your firm’s decision process would be enhanced with a data driven measurement of risks associated with the change to outsourcing, Paragon Digital would be happy to provide access to our internal Assessment Framework (at no costs) that you can use to forecast and mitigate Risk.

Need more information?

This post touches on some aspects of Paragon’s robust information security framework, policies and procedures. We are happy to provide you with detailed information upon request.

Contact us here if you would like information on how best to forecast and mitigate risk using Paragon’s internal Risk Assessment Framework.

Author:David Tyler

Date:23rd August 2021


The benefits of outsourcing for brands looking to insource their campaigns

While it may seem like a contradiction of terms, brands that are keen to insource their campaigns might want to consider outsourcing as well. Huh, you wonder?

Large brands have been evolving their commercial relationships with the big media holding companies for quite some time. As far back as 2018, the IAB reported that 45% of brands were actively looking to in-house programmatic buying.

More recently, a survey by the World Federation of Advertisers found that 57% of brands have established an in-house agency of some shape or form, and that most of those internal agencies include in-house creative services. Fifty percent have a centralized creative services studio for the corporation.

To be sure, there’s a lot to be gained by in-housing this critical strategic work. Overall costs are lower when you don’t need to pay an agency for every single creative or message you need. More strategically, experimenting with new models, owning the strategy and media buying will make your brand stronger. All of that insight and knowledge is kept within your walls, informing every aspect of your company, from better campaigns and marketing, to product development and customer care initiatives.

And, it’s worth pointing out, your employees who studied communications in school and earned MBAs in marketing are motivated by this type of work, and that means that you, as a brand, benefit from the continuity of a stable team and a deeper level of institutional knowledge.

But what about the ad operations (ad ops) portion of the business? Who among your staff are you going to assign to setting up campaigns, chasing down creatives, managing tags, troubleshooting pixels, creating reports and optimizing performance? It’s not likely the type of work the people you recruited and trained had in mind when they joined your company. You can assign and train your team to do these tasks, but you may find that your recruitment and training costs go up (and campaigns slow down as you try to replace adops personnel who got bored with the position).

Then there is the added challenge of finding people with these skill sets in your area. If you’re a DTC brand in Cincinnati or an established brand in Pittsburgh, you can benefit from a pool of employees who cut their teeth working with or leading the marketing teams of other brands. But finding candidates with tactical adops skills are likely to be few and far between.

Outsourcing ad ops to Paragon Digital Services

For many, the key to in-housing marketing and advertising is finding a reliable company, like Paragon Digital Services, to whom you can outsource the detailed-oriented but critical, business of ad ops.

We all know that for a campaign to truly succeed, ad ops needs to get a thousand different details perfect: site tagging and set-up, testing and optimization, real-time reporting and analytics.

Our teams are detailed oriented, and our internal processes are designed to monitor campaigns 24/7. It’s what we do, day in and day out, and we’re set up to ensure continuity in your technical operations, even in the event that we experience staff turnover. We take on the responsibility of managing your campaign details, ensuring that every team member is up-to-speed on your campaign goals, and managing it to your KPI’s – so your team won’t need to.

By freeing your team from the burden of trafficking and reporting on campaigns, you’ll have a lot more staff to do the work that directly affects your bottom line: interacting with customers, finding ways to grow the business, and thinking about the next big opportunity for your company.

And that’s why I say that the best way to succeed with in-housing is to make outsourcing part of the solution.

Get in touch to discuss how this may work for you.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:17th August 2021


101: Segmenting your audience

Lots of different consumers may purchase the same product, or favor the same brand, but for vastly different reasons. Knowing those reasons – what motivates shoppers to buy from you (or your competitors) is key to growing both your customer base and revenue.

Segmenting your customers into distinct cohorts – moms who buy organic, budget-conscious consumers, golf enthusiasts, repeat customers, customers of competitor X – is a useful exercise that will deliver many dividends for years to come.

First and foremost, audience segmentation will allow you to craft messages that will resonate with each consumer. For instance, let’s say you’re a coffee brand and you learn that a sizable number of consumers who favor your brand are avid runners. You can use this insight to advertise on runners’ sites and channels, with a message that invites them to enjoy a well-deserved post-workout cup of Joe.

Or, let’s say you’re a mortgage company and you want to attract new customers to apply for refinancing. Your first message may emphasize your low rates, fast answers and streamlined applications. This is the first message in the customer journey, so you don’t want to spend your media budget targeting people with that ad who’ve already visited your site and engaged with your mortgage calculator. Rather, you can create additional segments – consumers who visited our site and used the calculator – to target with the next message in the sequence.

How to segment customers into distinct audiences

Segmenting customers is an art, and is very brand specific. That said, there are some widely used approaches that may be helpful to you. If you use a marketing automation system, it probably offers step-by-step workflows to help you build audience segments that are relevant to your brand. Or, you can ask an agency like Paragon Digital Services to help you do that work.

Here are some common tactics:

  • Enter & exit sites. Look at the sites your visitors come from when they arrive on your site, and where they go once they leave. These enter and exit points can provide valuable insights into their interests outside of your brand, and can help you hone your messaging and decide which channels to advertise in (e.g. runners sites for a coffee brand).
  • Customer surveys. Customers are remarkably open to sharing their interests and motivations with brands they trust. You can ask your customers about their preferences, outside interests, top priorities, and future plans. You can create audience segments based on survey responses, whether that’s age, gender, geolocation, income level, preferred product, values (e.g. sustainability, safety) or interest. What you learn may surprise you. Perhaps you have a cohort loyal to your brand that you didn’t realize before.
  • Analyze buying habits. Your CRM or point-of-sales platform contains rich insights into buying habits, which you can then use to create personas and audience segments for targeting. Let’s say you’re a grocery store chain, you can create audience segments based on what people buy. In other words, what additional products are in the basket of people who always buy seltzer or hand lotion when they come into your store?
  • “We miss you”. Everyone knows that it’s cheaper and easier to reactivate a dormant customer than to earn a new one. Create audience segments of your dormant customers by product, and target them with reminders of how much they love your brand.
  • Spending tier. Create segments based on the lifetime value of your customers. Frugal customers will probably respond to ads that offer cost-effective products, while high-end customers care more about the experience and convenience. You don’t want to send them the same message! With audience segments, you can customize the right message for the right type of customer.
  • Stage in the buying journey. As the mortgage example above illustrates, it’s a wise idea to create segments based on the buying journey. This will allow you to tell a store through a sequence of messages. The key to success with this type of segmenting is the frequency at which you refresh your segments.

Get in touch

Need help creating your audience segments for your campaigns? We’re here to help, get in touch today.

Author:Rekha Patil



How outsourcing delivers significant efficiency gains

Driving efficiency is seen as a major business imperative in every sector of the economy, media and advertising included. As business leaders focus on efficiency, the business process outsourcing (BPO) market has exploded. According to a report by Technavio, outsourcing is expected to grow by USD 76.90 billion, in the next four years. That’s a CAGR growth rate of over 7%. Is there a connection? Absolutely!

Outsourcing drives productivity, both directly and indirectly, by enabling employees to focus on strategic, high-value work, while leaving technical, manual and process-driven work to a team of experts.

At Paragon, we’ve seen this phenomenon playout time and time again. When we partner with a media agency or a brand that has in-housed its media buying, they always remark that Paragon’s ad operations teams are able to deliver more campaigns than their teams were able to achieve. And in general, and we shave 60% off of their ad operations costs.

This is no criticism of their Account Managers, mind you. Unlike them, our teams focus 100% of their time on the minutiae of campaign delivery. That’s our job, it’s all we do. And if you do the same thing all day every day, you’re bound to be at the top of the game.

But that tells only part of the reason. The efficiency gains we deliver stem from our commitment to standardization, and the detailed processes we follow, which are laid out ahead of time in the detailed onboarding process documents we create for customers, as well as our effective error prevention process.

On top of our process-driven approach, we only hire highly experienced people who are certified in the systems used to deliver services. All new hires go through our digital training academy. And we have one of the most effective performance management operations in the industry.

The rigor we apply to our processes are pretty unique in the industry. We recently acquired a client that once used Infosys, a very reputable BPO company located in India. Actually, it’s one of the biggest BPOs in the world. We were able to deliver the same services to the client with 52 people, whereas Infosys required 64. That’s a 20% efficiency gain over somebody doing the same work as us.

The gains we achieve when taking over the ad operations of an agency are even higher.

The other side of efficiency

But the efficiencies we deliver tell just half of the story. A significant portion of the gains you’ll reap as an agency lie with your Account Management and Sales teams. They’ll spend less time chasing down creatives, generating reports, and doing billing reconciliation.

By removing the tasks of trafficking, your team can focus on forward-looking work: finding new business, growing existing accounts, focusing more on creative strategies and discovering new audiences for your clients’ products and services.

Additionally, efficiency gains come from the institutional knowledge your company will keep within its walls. Account Managers are often frustrated with the task of campaign trafficking. It’s stressful, and can be complex, highly manual work, and not what they had in mind when they majored in communications at college. Attrition and recruitment are tough challenges for media agencies.

Here’s where Paragon outsourcing can help. One of our outsourcing clients told me that recruiting has become a lot easier now that she can tell candidates that they won’t be responsible for trafficking campaigns! There are a lot of efficiencies to be gained when an agency can spend less time recruiting and training new employees, and more resources on delivering outstanding services to clients.

Want to discuss how Paragon Digital Services can drive efficiencies in your ad operations? Get in touch.




Author:David Tyler

Date:15th August 2021


Female empowerment at Paragon Digital

Paragon Digital Services is deeply committed to closing the gender gap in employment the best way we know how: training women, and those identifying as women, in a growing field, and giving them the skills they need to build careers that are remunerative, personally rewarding and contribute to their local communities.

A stubborn challenge

According to the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2021, the employment gap between men and women remains stubbornly wide. Unless we take active steps to provide women employment opportunities, it will be another 267.6 years before we achieve global parity.

Like you, we find that unacceptable.

Eliminating the gender gap doesn’t just benefit women, it’s good for everybody. Take India, for example, a country where many of Paragon’s technical teams reside. Increasing women’s participation in the workforce by just 10% could add $770 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.

Prior to lockdown in March 2020, India’s overall unemployment rate was 7%, but for women it topped 18%, per a 2019 a Google and Bain & Company report on women entrepreneurship in India. But once the pandemic hit, women in India, like women everywhere, bore the brunt of the unemployment crisis.

Closing the skills gap with the Paragon Digital Academy

The WEF Gender Gap Report states that gender gaps are more likely in sectors that require disruptive technical skills, such as cloud computing, data, AI, and engineering. At Paragon, we also know that it exists in the digital ad tech and mar-tech fields, and we aim to change that.

Paragon’s Digital Academy focuses on the personal and professional growth of our employees, and in turn, our organization, as well as the communities in which our employees live and work.

The Digital Academy provides learning and development opportunities to inspire and upskill our teams in areas that will help them succeed over the course of their lives. For instance, we offer training in technical skills, such as digital campaign management, programmatic advertising and other technical skills.

We also help employees obtain the critical “soft” skills including language, email and telephone etiquette, client communication, US culture sensitivity.

To ensure enough work -life balance, we conduct out our training programs during the office hours.

We educate our staff [men and women] on how important it is to treat our colleagues, and create a safe place to work for everyone.

Certifications to build lifelong careers

We provide women the opportunity to earn numerous certifications, including Google Ad Fundamentals, Google Ads Display and Campaign Manager Basics. We also train women in the full breadth of MS Office and Google Analytics. We also invest time for their individual Development Growth . We are also working on making a “All women team” within Paragon as a special initiative.

These skills are highly transferable to a wide array of occupations. Graduates can go on to hold a wide variety of positions in digital advertising, digital marketing, public relations, and more. And our training is recognized in other businesses. We are proud to help all of our students, women and men alike, build lifelong careers.

The gender gap in employment may be a difficult challenge to overcome, but with a commitment to empowering women, we can make the world a better place for all.

To find out more about the Paragon Digital Academy, or how we can drive efficiencies for your business, get in touch.

Author:Savitha Nair

Date:29th July 2021


Identifying the best roles and tasks to outsource (and why)

Which tasks should you outsource?

A lot of brands, platforms and agencies are wondering how they can drive efficiencies in their operations. The digital landscape is changing as new opportunities (CTV) and challenges (privacy, the death of the cookie) emerge. You need your Account Managers to be on the forefront of these developments, guiding your clients, growing the business, and demonstrating your agency’s leadership.

So what can you take off their plates in order to free up their time? Generally speaking, any work that’s mission critical – and therefore must be done with the utmost attention to detail and accuracy – is better served by a dedicated team that is 100% focused on the task. If you don’t have a dedicated team for that mission critical task, you may want to consider an outsourcing partner that can provide the expertise needed.

Ad ops is the perfect example. As a brand, platform or media agency, campaign setup, execution, ongoing optimization and reporting are certainly mission critical to your business. Too often, the ad ops tasks are assigned to the Account Manager who sold the campaign to the client. But here’s the challenge: ad ops is a function that falters when the trafficker must deal with too many distractions, like preparing for a new client presentation or responding to an RFP.

A dedicated ad ops team is a smart move for your organization, but if building and maintaining one is too costly or time consuming, outsourcing is a terrific option for your Account Managers, agency, and most importantly, your clients.

Account Managers want to focus on high-value work

It’s truly less than ideal to assign ad ops responsibilities to Account Managers. Setting up and managing a campaign is a time-consuming business. There are countless details to manage, and every single one of those details matter a great deal.

A campaign may come in missing a specific creative, say one that caters to a specific geography. Your Account Manager will need to track down that creative, do a pixel test to ensure it will display correctly on every single device on which it will be seen, and then load it into your ad server system.

This is tedious, high pressure work that they might not like doing. And let’s be clear: this work is indeed high pressure because the consequence of a missed detail is a campaign that misses its KPIs. Account Managers would rather do more strategic work, and if they’re not getting a sense of fulfillment, they may look for greener pastures.

Perfect campaign execution demands a process driven approach

You need to assure your clients that their campaigns are delivered as accurately as humanly possible. If not, you risk missing your KPIs, and if you are a media agency, you risk losing business.

Paragon Digital Services has designed a thoroughly processed-driven approach to ad ops, and it’s what we do all day. Our teams are staffed with people who like following processes, all of which are documented in our robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) roadmap that we develop for each client as part of our onboarding process.

All details are checked at the start of a campaign, enabling us to identify and resolve gaps or issues upfront. And, even in the event of staff turnover on our side, the machine continues running smoothly as our fully documented processes guide our daily activities.

Why partner with Paragon:

  • We have an unwavering commitment to standardization
  • We have a highly detailed onboarding process
  • Our proprietary error prevention processes guarantee a high degree of accuracy
  • We hire very experienced people who are certified in the systems used to deliver services
  • Our Paragon Digital Academy ensures success, so you can confidently tell your clients their campaigns will be well managed
  • Our performance management infuses every one of our processes.

Want to discuss how Paragon Digital Services can drive efficiencies in your ad operations? Get in touch.

Author:David Tyler

Date:19th July 2021


Ad operations lessons driven by the pandemic

Historically, digital-media platforms and content providers assumed that ad operations resources worked most smoothly when under a single roof, sitting within easy reach of their fellow traffickers and campaign managers. But a novel coronavirus upended that notion, and it’s worth exploring some of the lessons learned from it.

Lockdown orders meant all non-essential employees must work from home. The “non-essential” designation covered all information workers. If you could do your job using a computer, then there was no need to risk a commute and interacting with people outside of your pod.

Suddenly, ad ops teams were dispersed in homes across wide swaths of land. Complicating matters further, this fragmentation of the office coincided with a sustained spike in media traffic, as citizens all over the world checked news sources, blogs and social media continuously for updates on the pandemic. Some teams performed very well, while others faltered. Why? And what did we learn from the experience?

Lesson #1: With the right policies in place, distributed ad ops teams can excel

The pandemic taught the business community that proximity to co-workers isn’t as critical as we once assumed, as long as clear policies for engagement and processes to follow are put in place up. As a global outsourcing partner serving media teams all over the world, distributed Ad Ops is just par for the course.

To make it work, we created a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedures document for each client, which serves as the oil to keep all the cogs rolling in perfect order. Here are the key components that make it successful:

  • How, when and why we communicate with each other and our clients throughout the campaign cycle. When the pandemic hit, we simply updated the “how” to accommodate new contact methods for clients as necessary. Other than that, it was business as usual.
  • Which systems and tools to use. These procedures didn’t change much during the pandemic, so to a large degree, it wasn’t as if the pandemic even mattered (from a campaign lifecycle that is).
  • Services we provide. This part of our document is highly customized to each client, and in some cases we needed to update it to accommodate clients who, suddenly working remotely, needed extra help from our teams. This wasn’t a problem for Paragon for a simple reason: Our teams look to the Standard Operating Procedures as a roadmap to follow 100% of the time. If you instill a habit of “working from the same page”, adapting to change isn’t really a challenge.
  • Establish account priorities. Every client has priority accounts, and every account, regardless of size, has small, medium, large and extra large campaigns for them. We create a priority matrix so every Paragon team member knows our clients’ priorities. Of course, priorities can change during times of crisis – and 2020 was pretty much a sustained crisis! But if you create a system where everyone knows where to look for the most up-to-date list of priorities, it’s not that difficult for everyone to focus on the right campaigns.
  • Detail escalation procedures. Some clients want to know about every nit that arises, while others just want to know about the big stuff. We layout all the escalation procedures ahead of time, so that no team member is left wondering: should we tell someone, and if so, who?

In normal times, our teams work together under one roof. When the pandemic hit, we also had work from home. We are able to deliver a seamless experience for our clients because we create a client-roadmap upfront, which means we really don’t need to sit side-by-side.

Lesson #2: Outsourcing streamlines ad ops

When the pandemic hit and schools closed down, millions of people, mostly women, left the workforce in order to manage their children’s education. Paragon’s campaign teams stepped in as required to help fill in the gaps for clients who suddenly found they had a reduced workforce.

It quickly became apparent to the media teams with whom we work that by leaving the detailed campaign tasks to us, they had the time to focus on the bigger issues facing them (and obviously there were quite a few).

This is one of the most important lessons the industry has learned: Know what you need to focus on, and hand the rest off to a qualified team.

Lesson #3: Accept that what’s normal is ever-changing

Yes, the pandemic forced us to adapt to a new work environment, but that’s not the biggest change on the horizon in our industry. Over the past year digital advertising has faced multiple disruptions, the emergence of digital TV as a major advertising channel, privacy regulations that require us to rethink the customer journey and advertising strategy, to name a few.

Adapting to change isn’t difficult if that behavior is part of your team’s muscle memory. Change is inevitable, and can sometimes feel rather random. Knowing how to adapt – which steps to follow, how to communicate it and where to look for that guidance – is a vital skill in an industry like ours.

Want to learn more about how we can transform your business? Get in Touch.

Author:Rekha Patil

Date:7th July 2021