Trader Hall of Fame Interview: Zach Wierman (PHM)
In this monthly blog series from PulsePoint, we recognize people from our customer organizations who are actively using Life to either manage and execute their brand’s or customers’ programmatic campaigns. In this installment, we interviewed Zach Wierman, Programmatic Supervisor at PHM.
About Zach Wierman
Zach is a Programmatic Supervisor at PHM. He graduated from Lebanon Valley College in 2015 with a degree in business administration and started his career in finance with Wells Fargo. After a few years working in mortgages, he realized the finance industry wasn’t where he wanted to be long-term. After exploring fields where he could apply his skill set most effectively, he was referred by a friend to join Publicis Health Media in 2019; he is particularly interested in programmatic because of its growth as the future of media buying.
A Discussion With Zach About His Career, How He Uses Life for Programmatic Campaign Execution, and More
PulsePoint: What kind of tips and tricks would you recommend for someone who is starting out in the business?
Zach: For me, what really helped when I first came into the programmatic industry was my confidence in my ability to communicate and use business tools, like Outlook and Skype. I didn’t come into the role fresh out of school; I had been in the professional world for three or four years. When you are new to the workforce, you have to spend a lot of time figuring out all these tools, how to behave in a professional setting, and basically how to be more functional at your job. When I joined PHM, I felt I could just hit the ground running and really focus on what’s important: learning. That’s where I spent a lot of my early time, absorbing as much information and knowledge as possible. I would learn from my managers, from various partners we spoke with, and through development opportunities at the agency. The learning aspect is really what I focused on. I dove into learning the ins-and-outs of the DSP, and the verification partners, and the reporting. Although I started that programmatic and DSP journey with The Trade Desk, PulsePoint wasn’t that long after. I worked to immerse myself in the DSPs to learn all the targeting capabilities and the best way to navigate the platforms. In my opinion, educating yourself is definitely a key to success when starting out. People new to the industry just need to keep in mind that things are changing with the technology, so you have to continue your education in a way in order to be effective at the job.
PulsePoint: What would you say is your favorite part of the job outside of learning, developing, and growing in this journey?
Zach: This may seem like a strange answer, but I feel the industry as a whole. In my time in programmatic, I really like the people I’ve worked with. I haven’t had any negative experiences working with a client, or PulsePoint, or internally. People in this industry tend to share a similar growth mindset: that it’s important to try to grow their skill set in the field. That may be building a programmatic capability or building up a platform, like Life, but it’s all about continually learning and developing. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by great people. PHM really puts their employees first, which perhaps fosters that kind of educational and growth mindset. Of course, PulsePoint is included in that. The people I’ve worked with continue to make me feel valued at whatever I do.
PulsePoint: What do you like most about working with PulsePoint?
Zach: What I enjoy the most is that my career has grown alongside PulsePoint. I started using PulsePoint as a self-service activation user after I started at PHM. I got a login and started using the DSP in April 2019. Of course, a lot has changed with both the Life platform and in my career since that time. But, for Life, a lot of it looks the same with slight variations and expansion such as better targeting capabilities and acquisition. My career growth coincided with that expansion. It’s been enjoyable to see a DSP I've been using for such a long time be successful and continue to grow. But even through that change, I’ve worked with a consistent team since day one at PulsePoint. I’ve worked with them for three-plus years and a couple of my direct colleagues from PHM have even gone over to PulsePoint. It’s been fun to see PulsePoint grow as I continue to grow in my programmatic career. But maybe what’s even better is how PulsePoint exemplifies that growth mindset, continually working to make the DSP better. It’s been enjoyable to give recommendations and see them implemented in the platform relatively quickly. When I say that, I mean not a year and a half later. It’s been great to have that open feedback with the PulsePoint team and meet with various people throughout the business. I have appreciated being able to see a lot of different viewpoints, to see the tech stack under the hood. Every time something like that happens, I’m reminded of PulsePoint’s growth mindset and how it matches my own.
PulsePoint: What are some of your favorite features of the platform?
Zach: Some of my favorites are just the simple things. For example, being able to simplify complex targeting around the HCP. In Life, you can take a list of 10,000 NPI numbers and be able to quickly match, target, and see that match rate. Before other healthcare DSPs came into the picture, it was a very drawn-out process. That’s really such an important feature of Life: simplifying complicated processes. That feature, if you could call it that, maybe more of a capability, makes our jobs as traders more streamlined, which is important to call out because it’s simplified the targeting of HCPs. I can think about how Life enables us to build off the target list and pivot from there, expand outreach, but do it in a smart way instead of “we want to reach anyone in this specialty.” We want to reach the practice staff of our target list. This leads to another favorite of mine: the connection between audience selection and search. This allows you to really get the full picture. If a search team is using PulsePoint data to receive NPI reporting against site traffic, we can create a closed loop between a programmatic and search buy. So we can know when people have clicked on a search ad and then target them specifically once they are on the site. It’s great to be able to play around with site traffic to prioritize an HCP to target them.
PulsePoint: What would you like to see on the platform to make your job easier?
Zach: The feature or capability that I would like to see is predictive bidding. For example, if we set a base bid of $30 but PulsePoint recognizes, in real time, that we could win that bid with $20, then the platform should adjust our bid accordingly.
PulsePoint: What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Zach: My main hobby lately has been my dog. Having a puppy is definitely an adventure. Keeping him and training him has been a major job. I also try to stay active. When I was living in Philadelphia, I played a lot of rec league sports. Now, living in a small town of 350 people, it’s a slower pace. My life has definitely slowed down since I moved outside the city, but I still manage to play some pickup basketball with my friends.
PulsePoint: What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
Zach: There will always be something new to learn. No matter how long you have been in the industry, there is something new: a new data provider, a new trend, a new DSP feature. You will never know it all. This has led me to have a humble mindset when it comes to my industry or technical knowledge and really forced me to stay on my toes and evolve my skills. That’s what I like most about the industry. It’s not the same monotonous approach. I’m always applying my skills in different ways. There’s always going to be a different report to look at or a different optimization to make or a report that someone looks at differently.