What is Order Management?

by Doug Huntington


What is Order Management? The short answer is a lot more than order management.

Before an order becomes even a twinkle in a publisher’s eye, a sales person somewhere has to whisper a “good idea” into an advertiser’s ear about what to buy and what to pay. Unfortunately, most “good ideas” are not easy to come by without considerable forethought and enabling technology.  There are thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of placement options to choose from, and pricing is in most cases arbitrary, and not tied to actual supply and demand.

The journey of spawning an order actually begins with the drudgery of self-grooming including, but not limited to product classification, inventory allocation and pricing.  Though seemingly mundane, done right and with the right technology, these can become extraordinarily powerful levers, systematically pushed and pulled to maximize yield and enhance ad performance, something particularly useful against the backdrop of highly fluid market conditions.

With these and other foundational elements in place, sales people are empowered to do what it is they do best: cultivate relationships and produce orders. The good ones distinguish themselves from other suitors by using data to support their clients’ buying decisions. And to the extent this data can be accessed where they live, in their CRM, at the point of sale, so much the better. The really good ones arm themselves with system-induced placement recommendations designed to optimize campaign results. One would be hard pressed to find a single successful sales person who doesn’t value being well-prepared in making client advances, or a sales prospect who doesn’t appreciate being fawned over with timely, high quality proposals. For buyers so inclined, there is even the advertising equivalent to Tinder, aimed at helping them quickly discover inventory of interest and discard that which is not, all without actually having to talk to anyone.

Even after an advertiser becomes smitten with a particular sales person’s proposition, a whole lot of steps have to happen with just the right sequencing and timing to consummate the relationship.  This is sort of a ritualistic dance each publisher performs in its own unique way to ensure institutional controls are being followed to mitigate business risks, fulfill contractual commitments, and accurately report revenue.

Only after the last approval is made and customer signoff is received is a new order finally born into the world, to be pushed into the ad server and lovingly “managed” to maturity.

So maybe the better answer is Order Management is also revenue management, offer management and business process management.