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IAB Rising Stars: iProspect's Benjamin Tan wants programmatic to be the only way

By Laura Greally | Regional vice president of education and industry Initiatives

March 27, 2019 | 6 min read

The IAB SEA+India Programmatic Committee returns in 2019 with its search for the industry’s brightest talents behind the technology. Find out how these passionate practitioners got started, the secrets behind their success and what they are doing to drive the industry forward.


One of Tan’s most notable works was his contribution to the 2018 Adidas World Cup campaign.

A firm believer of “if there is a will, there is a way”, the let-others-say-no mentality served Benjamin Tan well as programmatic lead at iProspect APAC. Captivated by the ever-changing and shifting nature of the programmatic industry driven by technology, Tan sees challenges as opportunities to put his ideas and thoughts to the test.

One of Tan’s most notable works was his contribution to the 2018 Adidas World Cup campaign, an award-winning campaign for which he developed a very comprehensive plan using real-time triggers, data and dynamic creatives to serve the right person with the right message at the right time.

“This execution definitely enhanced our display execution, showcased innovation at its best and created hyper-relevance with our target audience,” shared Cora Sauer, the senior marketing manager at Adidas.

“All digital mediums are dependent on each other and therefore Ben has always thought more omnichannel rather than just thinking about programmatic which gives the client a more holistic view of their investments,” added Sanket Sasane, the programmatic director at iProspect.

Quoting Sasane, “that day is not far when he will be leading his programmatic team.”

We look forward to seeing more of what this programmatic rising star has to offer.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I had always wanted to be a pilot.

What is one thing you wished you had known before starting your programmatic career?

A deeper understanding of the stakeholders in the industry such as knowing the key objective each stakeholder is after.

In no more than five sentences, describe what a typical work day would look like for you.

First order of the day would always be to read up on what’s the latest news. Following which is to identify the key tasks to be prioritized for the day. Business as usual, like client management, optimisation, execution and reporting will always take up the bulk of the day. But I’d still take time to think about ways we can improve the way we work or innovative ideas.

A phrase or word you never want to hear again.

“I thought…”. When people draw conclusions based on their own assumption. There never is any harm in asking and clarifying.

If there was one key ingredient for any successful campaign, what would it be?

Follow through. Anyone can think of a great, award-winning idea but the one who succeeds is the one who has followed through on the idea and delivered amid challenges.

What is one thing you look forward to changing in the industry?

Programmatic as the way for all biddable media. The accelerated growth of programmatic was largely attributed to its promise of data-driven, real-time media buying that could help advance and evolve the way digital media was being transacted.

But the immense speed of growth also gave rise to a myriad of problems such as ad fraud, brand safety and viewability; the latter two are not unique only to programmatic but are issues nonetheless.

One of the up and coming trends in programmatic is unavoidably smart contracts which essentially would help eradicate the three main issues of the industry. Apart from automation, this will be the next frontier of programmatic and I would very much like to be part of this.

How do you predict programmatic will change the future/evolve?

Programmatic has always provided the promise of a truly data-driven approach to advertising. While privacy has become a hot topic for debate of late, I still believe that programmatic will change the future of advertising and even our way of living.

With developments in AI and machine learning, these will power programmatic to truly speak to the individual and with the wealth of data that will become available, our purchasing behaviour will evolve into a future where whatever we purchase will be the perfect fit to our needs and wants.

How do you keep learning in a fast-changing environment like programmatic?

Programmatic publications are a great way to pick up developments in your free time but I think the best way still is discussions with industry people. We all have great ideas for programmatic which everyone can only benefit and learn from in discussions.

Also, while it is inevitable that we will move far from execution as we progress in our career, we should not be detached from at least knowing the execution nuances and technological capabilities of the environment in which we operate.

Laura Greally is the regional vice president of education and industry initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau Southeast Asia and India.

Technology IAB Rising Stars Digital Advertising

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