This interview is brought to you by DPG Media, obviously.We thought it was about time to broadcast the importance of the work Application Specialist Ilse Filippo does. Thanks to Ilse and her team, companies reach millions of viewers and listeners with their ads. So read the full interview - no commercial breaks.
Let the ads flow
Ilse’s AdVenture squad is responsible for the sales flow of advertisements for all media channels: tv, radio, online, and newspapers. She and two colleagues make up the audiovisual team, so they support television and radio. They all work on the order management system. Simply put: companies place orders for advertisements on brands like Qmusic, Joe, or VTM, and the system facilitates the right placement, invoicing, and more.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t. The squad supports DPG Media’s brands and others, like MTV and Discovery, with their advertising flow. And, there are many integrations (with the broadcasting system, for example). So the three Application Specialists each have their specialism: external integrations, technical reporting, and analysis and testing. Ilse: “That’s what I do: analyze and test. What impact does a change have? How do applications talk to each other? Is a new feature safe to implement? So I analyze the impact and test bug fixes, requests, and new features from external parties.”
Projects with lots of complexity? Yes please!
New things on the block
A big recent project Ilse worked on was billboard ads - not to be mistaken with those big signs on freeways. No, these are the ‘sponsored by’ ads you see just before or after a tv show starts. Ilse and her team moved the planning of the billboards from an old to a new system. Ilse: “That was a pretty big project with lots of complexity. But that’s what I like. It’s fun to work on new things.”
Ilse always has a few side projects running. Like working on a planning optimization tool for tv ads or Addressable TV advertising. It basically means that you can show different ads to different households while they watch the same program. “We provide the data for the addressable spots so that the system knows what to show when and where. And we’re responsible for the integrations with the television service providers.”
Teaming up adds up
Application Specialists are true experts in a specific application, but as you can see, it’s crucial to understand the application landscape well. Ilse explains that people in her squad all have a different focus: different systems and different media channels. “Within our team, our priorities differ, but sooner or later, everything comes together. So we make sure we understand each other’s work and challenges.” They do that by, for example, demonstrating their systems so that everyone understands how data is received, processed, and send.
The team works at the Vilvoorde office on Wednesdays, and the rest is all remote - although they’re obviously welcome to come to the office more. So how do they keep the team spirit up if they only see each other weekly? Ilse: “Well, we have online calls and help each other whenever necessary. But we also make sure to take time for some jokes and personal chats in online meetings and we meet up outside work. We just had a team barbecue a few weeks ago.”
Never stop learning
Ilse started as an external consultant but was too happy with her role and team to move on to a new assignment. And she was tired of being ‘the new one’ all the time. So she decided to join the DPG Media crew. “I appreciate how the company treats me as a person. It’s a very open organization, and I can discuss everything.” When deciding whether to go for the job or not, Ilse’s biggest doubt was about growth opportunities. “Coming from a consultancy background, it was a must to keep learning. I thought that would stop once I’d get a permanent role somewhere.” Wrong.
Ilse: “My manager Maarten Witteman is very approachable and guides and coaches all of us. My Scrum Master, too, considers my personal and professional preferences and supports my growth. And I learn so much from my direct colleagues about other applications and collaborating with the business. That’s something I enjoy a lot: sure, I solve tickets too, but working together on a big project gives me a lot of energy and new insights.”
Before joining DPG Media, Ilse had zero media experience. “But with a fresh perspective, clear thinking, and patience, you get a long way,” Ilse smiles. “I had no idea there was so much technology behind showing an ad on television. It’s super interesting.” So Ilse would definitely recommend making the switch to a media company. “DPG Media is forward-thinking, shows continuous progress, and has cool content. Easy decision, if you ask me,” Ilse says.