CANNES — The gleaming, shimmering advertising future is one in which brands and buyers know which devices their target consumers are using and can plan to buy just the right amount of inventory across each to make a campaign tick.

But, despite years of talk about “omni-channel” marketing, the truth is – for many – that future is still some way off.

That is according to one agency exec turned tech sales honcho.

“I think in their hearts, advertisers are omni-channel,” says Jordan Bitterman, the former chief strategy officer of Mindshare in North America, who is now VP of IBM’s digital strategy and sales. “I think in the way they’re spending and how they’re operating, probably less so.

Omni-channel and the talk about breaking down silos has been in the industry for what seems like years now.

But talk only gets you so far. Why is real evidence of omni-channel practice still thin on the ground?

“The tools have to be in place for us to be able to really do that at scale in the industry, and we’re not there yet,” Bitterman adds.

“The breakage point starts with an understanding. We’re still in a point right now where we’re looking for results on a very quick, short term basis. It’s really a shame.”

He says that leaves advertisers exposed to accidentally showing too many ads to users who have already seen them on one screen or another.

“We’re doing a ton of damage,” he says.