Last month, Dianomi announced that Mike Kelly of Kelly Newman Ventures joined Dianomi’s Board of Directors.  Mike is a 30 year veteran of the media industry and is currently a non-executive director of QuantCast, Celtra and Americantowns. With considerable expertise in the digital marketing sector, Kelly has held executive roles at a number of major media companies including: former Chairman of Unruly and former CEO of The Weather Channel. New York based Kelly Newman Ventures also participated in the funding raise.  We recently sat town with Kelly to get his take on the future of native advertising and why he decided to join Dianomi.


Q. Tells us about yourself?

It has been my good fortune to have had several high profile jobs in the media and advertising business over more than 30 years. It is a career that provided a front-row seat for all of the disruption and transformation that has shaped the industry and allowed me to have a hand in some of the big leaps forward in technology driven advertising, streaming, data solutions and cross platform.  My Business partner and I invest and advise emerging companies, and I am constantly intrigued and optimistic about the industry’s future and feel lucky to be so involved.


On a personal note, my wife and I live in NY and raised 3 children in the “burbs” of nearby Connecticut. ALL three of my brood live in NYC, so going to kids sports events and dance recitals has morphed into meeting for burgers and drink.  My wife is an advertising copywriter turned best selling author and we have both spent our adult life in the advertising and communications world.


Q. What excites you about Dianomi? Why did you join the board?

In many ways, we are early days in native and data driven content and advertising.  Dianomi is lucky to have a smart, driven team that has persevered in bringing quality and innovation to marketers and publishers besieged by generic solutions that erode user confidence.  As they say, there are “riches in niches” and financial, business and tech marketers and publishers prefer partners who cater to their industry, not one size fits all. Having worked in the past at Fortune Magazine, I have seen firsthand the dynamics of the industry and Dianomi is among the few to recognize the power of a vertical and the power of native advertising and can create a flywheel effect of better content, better engagement, deeper data understanding and better results.  


Q. Where is the native industry going? How should publishers and advertisers be looking at the space for the long term?

Advertising as we know it is in a state of permanent change. Graphical display ads and commercials won’t go away, but we are seeing an acceleration of new ways to connect to customers and prospects.


It’s a simple proposition. As consumers reject the current formats, can that real estate be replaced by something just as valuable but certainly more brand reinforcing?  Native fills that void as do some other emerging formats like content driven commerce etc.


A lot of first generation native companies took a blunt instrument approach and so they are only replacing one ineffective format with another. Our approach is much smarter and therefore gets better results.


Q. You’ve worked in several marketing leadership role, including Time Warner Inc. From that point-of-view, what are some innovations on the horizon that marketers should take notice of?

Having seen how digital has evolved and affected media and advertising over a long arc, it goes something like this: things that seem fantastic, improbable, uneconomic and impractical, usually become a part of everyday life (ie the internet, smartphones, amazon, facebook, search etc etc etc) and then they are completely taken for granted as a part of the fabric of the industry.  That is Artificial Intelligence/machine learning right now. It is great we are in the position we are in to go deep into our industries and put the data to work solving problems for our customers.


Q. What’s next for your tenure at Dianomi?

My Job is to help the team and our investors (which includes me!) make our company famous! First board meeting in April 18th, and the sky’s the limit.