How to Get the Most out of Cannes 2018

June 14, 2018 — by Dan Rosenberg0


It’s almost time to head to Cannes Lions, the annual pilgrimage to the French Riviera for a week of deal-making, relationship-building, and (maybe) a little fun.

Although on paper it seems that an event like Cannes could take place anywhere and the lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous caliber of the scenery (and cost to be there!) might make it hard to explain the trip to your CFO (thank you Cannes committee), it is those very factors that actually make it so productive. The high costs ensure that the attendees skew to more senior executives, and the high fixed costs and multi-day minimums make it more likely that those senior execs will stay for a longer stretch. Meanwhile, the beautiful setting and late nights lead to a more relaxed atmosphere that is ideal for building relationships, sharing ideas and plans, and setting partnership agendas that you can check back in on during marketing’s next big European event, Dmexco, in September…and then again a year later back in Cannes!

So, as you make your final preparations, here’s some practical advice to help you make the most of your week—on the personal and business fronts. While I’m far from a Cannes expert (this will be just my fourth trip to Cannes and the eighth for MediaMath), I do have a few observations on how to make the most of your time.

Think Big 

On the business side, my top advice is: think big.  Like I said, this is an opportunity to step away from the day-to-day, engage with senior leaders, and set the course for the coming year. What are your top themes for the year? What’s the five-year plan? Now take it up a notch—and then write it down in simple form. And write down what you can offer to and ask from your top clients and partners, so you’ll be ready to go deep during those great rosé-inspired conversations.

Also think big on your schedule. Don’t make it too jam-packed, because it can take time to get around the Croisette for meetings, BUT do stretch it out. You won’t want to start too early, but don’t be shy about booking meetings right up until 8pm. You might even find yourself booking two dinners—a 9pm and an 11pm (the latter is the normal dinner time in this part of the world anyway).

Hydrate but don’t water down your day 

On the personal side, don’t forget the basics: drink plenty of water (no, rosé doesn’t count), wear comfortable shoes (the Croisette is best navigated on foot), bring a spare phone battery, and don’t forget the sunscreen. It can be tough to get around, so build in some travel time between meetings—and don’t count on getting back to your room/Airbnb during the day. Again, max it out.  Finally, take a few minutes now to actually RSVP to those party invites you’ve been receiving. You might be surprised, but security has gotten serious in the last few years, and if you’re not on the list, it’s tough to get in.

As Karen so aptly wrote in her post, events like Cannes are changing out of necessity given the climate of both advertising and the world. It is not all business and fun. It’s also about having a dialogue that moves the needle on how to get better as an industry, how to treat all populations that both deliver and engage in advertising in a respectful, inclusive way. It’s time to get serious—even in a place like Cannes—and do the good we know we can, as business people, as marketers, as humans. Are you game?


Attending Cannes for the First Time During a Season of Change

May 24, 2018 — by Karen Chan0


In just under a month, I’ll descend upon the French Riviera with tens of thousands of other digital marketing professionals, all hoping to be inspired, connect with clients and partners, and network in a gorgeous setting. As the Director of MediaMath’s Emerging Channels, I’m stoked to talk about the innovations unveiling in the industry from both a creative and technical perspective. But if I’m to be honest, I’m also excited to attend Cannes to participate in a dialogue about the challenges that have plagued us these last few years. From women in tech to consumer mistrust of advertising, there has never before been a time when there are huge, thorny issues that we can all come together to help solve, on the ground.

Making marketing people love

First, I’m looking forward to talking to my industry colleagues about how we can make consumers love marketing again, not just by better respecting their privacy and educating on data usage, but also by designing innovative use cases for current and emerging formats.

Formats such as audio and digital out of home (DOOH) can reach consumers in new ways that are more seamless and relevant to their experience. For instance, you can engage with audio when you’re at the gym, on your drive home, or cooking dinner; DOOH, while you’re at a bus shelter, touring Times Square, or the streets of cities like London. These media channels are weaving into the fabric of your life, not the other way around. And the data backs this up. People are 41 percent more receptive to advertising in public places than at home (Tume + IPG Media Lab, 2014). Plus, most DOOH placements have almost zero fraud and 100-percent viewable. I can’t wait to see the different DOOH activations advertisers will reveal at Cannes—everyone ups their game to put ads out in the area.

It’s time to talk

As a woman in tech, I have navigated my fair share of hurdles to get to where I am. I’m encouraged that more women (and men!) are coming together to evolve the dialogue on what it takes to make sure we are represented, promoted and treated fairly in the industry. From MediaMath’s own Women in Tech group to the Time’s Up/Advertising initiative being led by high-level industry executives, we’re starting to tackle these issues. Half of the MediaMathers attending Cannes from our Product team are women—it’s fantastic to have such strong representation to show our efforts to be inclusive and buoy females within our own business.

It’s a sound time, in 2018, to explore how events like Cannes influence the conversations around not just women in the industry, but also issues around transparency, better consumer experiences, and marketing as a force for good. Cannes and other high-visibility, well-attended industry events can be a catalyst for these discussions, and for change. Cannes has lived by a “work hard, play hard” mantra, but this year, the organizers have changed things, from shortening the event to consolidating the award categories, to encourage attendees to take advantage of the actual content in addition to the cocktails and parties.

Our CEO Joe Zawadzki has said in the past that programmatic is in its “gangly adolescent” phase, and it’s clear that events like Cannes are trying to mature along with the industry at large. Now people want to go for meetings and networking, and you must show up with a value-add—whether it’s a brilliant idea, a cutting-edge product, or a strategic partnership proposal. The conversations will evolve, this year and every year after. I’m happy to be a marketer in this season of change to witness the transformation in person.


Your DSP Won’t Talk Back to You, but We Will

May 3, 2018 — by Anna Grodecka-Grad0


Tech doesn’t talk. Ours doesn’t, nor does our competition’s. Yes, tech has certainly come a long way since programmatic began 10 years ago, and digital a decade before it. It helps you make sense of a volume of data no human ever could, connects the dots, assesses billions of impressions, can even train itself to behave like a human—but a human, it is not. It can’t tell you which technology to test next, the next big emerging channel, teach you the most basic to the most sophisticated of programmatic concepts or design a custom solution for you.

We know that even with all this fancy machinery, you still need human expertise to maximize your marketing investments and prove ROI to your business. And we don’t just mean handing you an account lead and calling it a day. The space is constantly changing and so, too, must your knowledge and capabilities. That can only happen with a strategic partner who is in it for the long-haul with you, who can invest the human capital to make your business a success.

That’s why MediaMath has restructured its professional services (also known as ProServe) arm to better serve our clients with the best resources who can give them consultative support, customized offerings and ongoing education. After all, we’re not just a tech business. We’re are indeed a talent company with over 100 professional experts who can walk you through every stage of your programmatic journey.

Take this example case study from our campaign management offering, conducted by our Programmatic Strategy and Optimization team and our Analytics team. Increasing KPIs under the same budget is easy. To do it while increasing scale is not. ProServe showed the client how.

But let’s address the elephant in the room. What does our tech company’s investment in a consultative arm that depends on human expertise mean in the man vs machine discussion? Well, we think machines should take over a lot of the tasks we are currently performing here at MediaMath, and in ProServe in particular. If our goal is to be more efficient, outcomes-oriented and the catalyst for customer delight, we need machines that crunch the data, that power the algorithms, that tell us exactly how to orchestrate a personalized add to the same user across devices.

Technology will continually infringe on what is currently considered “human” work in adtech, just like it did to auto manufacturing in the 70s, and we welcome that. That said, there will always be a need for creative thought and strategy, the need to read the feelings and faces of clients when pitching a new idea or giving a QBR. Those things require a human.

As the technology in our space rapidly improves, the talent will follow suit, shifting to compete more on quant, on outcomes, on higher-order thinking. We look forward to being a part of this shift with you.


IAB Singapore Rising Stars: Mediamath’s Marrah Africa on Dedicating a Career to Programmatic Education

April 24, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0


We are proud of Marrah Africa, Global Expansion Manager at MediaMath, for being recognized as one of the IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee’s Rising Stars. Read a bit about the honor below and the rest of the interview here.

Following the first rising star feature, the IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee continues its hunt for the industry’s brightest talents behind the technology. This series aims to find out how these passionate practitioners got started, the secrets behind their success and what they are doing to drive the industry forward.

Describing herself as an ad tech evangelist, Marrah Africa, NMI senior manager, training and certification APAC at Mediamath, developed a personal commitment to further programmatic education in the region.

Starting her programmatic career in Mediacom, Africa developed planning and operational process for programmatic adoption for P&G ASEAN, educating internal and client teams across six markets.

Africa believes that a successful marketer today must be both a scientist and an artist. At the heart of successful programmatic adoption is a solid foundation to turn theory into practice through relevant and thought-provoking education. Bridging businesses to the right solutions requires a strong establishment of “what’s in it for me?” and breaking down the complex jargons by speaking through the language of others.

Moving to Mediamath to lead their educational arm, Africa pioneered as the APAC lead for New Marketing Institute, an education program. She single-handedly developed and rolled out the program for the businesses across the region.

“As programmatic is still in its infant stage in most of the Southeast Asia countries, it’s crucial that we need someone like Marrah, who truly understands how programmatic works and the true benefits of programmatic and be able to transfer her knowledge to individuals at group-level. This is how we can grow programmatic together in the region,” shared Anna Chan, regional managing director, Asia of Amnet.

Mediamath and the New Marketing Institute will be one of the contributors to the IAB Singapore’s Adapt and Grow Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Programmatic Advertising. The programme, launched in partnership with the EDB & WSG, is developed to help meet the growing need for talent with programmatic advertising skill sets. We look forward to working with rising stars such as Africa at the forefront of the industry to develop the leaders of tomorrow.


Getting Ready for a Great, Giving 2018 with

April 10, 2018 — by Michael Quinn0


I traveled to Nepal last December and had the amazing opportunity to spend time with Seva, our partner charity that is committed to transforming lives by restoring eyesight. While visiting hospitals and meeting patients from different backgrounds and circumstances, I was told a story of a mother of four who was blind with cataracts. Seva discovered her via their remote screening camps and arranged for her to be transported from her mountain village to the local eye hospital. After having operations on both of her eyes, thanks to Seva, her vision was fully restored!

This is one story of many that illustrates how the lost-cost surgeries MediaMath funds can dramatically change the lives of individuals and families in some of the poorest regions of the world.

In 2017, we launched a high-impact eyesight program, in which MediaMath funds one eye surgery for every 20 campaigns run in our programmatic platform TerminalOne.  We also executed our first Global Impact Week in June and secured long-term funding through MediaMath equity.

A highlight from 2017 for both me and MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki was talking to our board of directors about  We discussed the impact of the organization since its creation only one year prior, how it had made an impact on local communities through donations and hundreds of hours of time spent volunteering, as well as the over 2,000 eyesight-restoring surgeries performed in poverty-stricken regions across the globe.  Upon the conclusion of the meeting, the board unanimously agreed to pledge 1% of equity to, a bonus to our commitment to dedicate 1% of our time and technology for social good.

In 2018, we will focus much of our 1% efforts on helping great non-profits become great marketers. We believe that this initiative will allow us to make a tremendous impact at scale. We here at MediaMath strive for marketing to be a force for good, and want our clients, partners and the entire marketing ecosystem to be involved and engaged. Won’t you join us?


Why I Joined MediaMath

February 16, 2018 — by Carlos Sandrea0


I joined MediaMath in early 2018 after a one-year sabbatical. It was great. The perfect time to decompress, build stronger bonds with my loved ones, and reflect on my life accomplishments. Unfortunately, good things always come in short supply, and a few months in, a question kept creeping in my head: what was my next career move?

Thus, I started looking for a new job. Between the kid’s soccer practice, and the piano recitals, I developed criteria to evaluate job opportunities:

1) I wanted a company on growth mode, global focus, and with a clear and attainable vision.
2) I wanted to be part of a product organization. While I was not necessarily looking to be a product manager, I wanted to leverage my experience in this area.
3) Lastly, I wanted a company with a smart, solid and diverse team of leaders and peers. I wanted a company with people I could have fun with, learn from, and value what I could bring.

Fast forward to late 2017 when I get a call from a recruiter working on behalf of MediaMath. While MediaMath checked most my boxes, one was still unclear: what’s the team like? How did they operate, and what kind of work environment would I expect from them? The answers to these questions came surprisingly fast.

Over the course of several weeks, I interviewed both in person and over the phone with many people at MediaMath. Everyone I met were really friendly but at the same time they didn’t mince words. There was a common trait among them, a drive. They knew what they wanted, and more importantly, they knew what they needed help with. And while they didn’t always have answers to my questions, they were always open and humble. And boy, do they move fast. Soon enough, and in the midst of the holiday season, I had a verbal offer, which I gladly accepted.

So, to answer your question. Why did I join MediaMath? The quick answer: its people.

Looking for a new job is never easy. A friend once told me that finding a job is like buying a car. You research the car you want, you test drive it, you may even get the best deal, and chances are…you’re buying it! But in the end, you’ll never know whether or not you bought a lemon until you have it for a while. To me, it is the people you work and spend so much time with that makes all the difference at work. Five weeks in, I am glad to report that things are going very, very well.

No surprises, no regrets.


MathCapital: A Venture Capital Fund to Support the Next Wave of Marketing Innovation

January 8, 2018 — by Eric Franchi0


The year 2018 finds us at the beginning of the next wave of innovation in digital. Billions of connected devices, the emergence of identity-based targeting and measurement, new consumer interfaces such as AR, VR and voice and all forms of Artificial Intelligence will make digital marketing more effective and digital media more engaging than ever.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer, media creator and consumer. But it’s never been a more exciting time to be a startup focused on addressing the needs of this giant, and growing, market. That’s why we are thrilled to announce the launch of MathCapital, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on the digital transformation of marketing and media. We created MathCapital to help identify and support the startups that will become the next generation of industry leaders.

As long-time entrepreneurs ourselves — Joe Zawadzki is founder and CEO of MediaMath, and founder of [x+1], and I previously co-founded Undertone – our team is often approached for advice and investment by startups. This led to notable personal angel investments in names many are familiar with, such as AppNexus, Moat, Integral Ad Science, BounceX and mParticle.

We’re also excited to have the support of MediaMath. While MathCapital is a separate entity, MediaMath has committed resources via its in-house innovation group that has incubated a number of profitable agencies. This group will serve as an access point to MediaMath’s 4,500+ clients, 350+ partners and 600+ employees, helping to accelerate all facets of our portfolio companies’ businesses out of the gate.

We’re a startup of four partners ourselves, so we can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Our first investments will be announced here soon, so watch this space. And if you’re a funder who would like to learn more about working with us, please contact us here.


How to Make an Impact in a Time of Giving

November 20, 2017 — by Diana Clough0


For everyone who wants and has given back to their community, this post is for you.

We’re quite lucky MediaMath not only has amazing, collaborative and smart people to work with, but it also has a focus on giving back. Through, employees can donate to a charity directly from their paychecks and MediaMath will match between 50 and 100 percent. Cool, huh?

Aside from donations, started something called Impact Week where internal employees bring to life various volunteer opportunities around the MediaMath globe for the entire company to participate in. As one of the founders of our internal Women in Tech group, which empowers women to network, learn and grown in their roles and within the industry, I felt this was a wonderful opportunity to bring underserved female students into MediaMath for a day to hear from and shadow our female leaders so they can learn and see what their futures can potentially hold. We even held 1:1 resume reviews for the students.

The climate for females in the workplace today is primed for opportunity with lots to still overcome, as has been highlighted in the media over the last year, particularly in Silicon Valley. But thankfully, MediaMath is helping to pave the way. Building the skills and confidence to push through any barriers starts young. Our 24 MediaMath volunteers worked with our 20 Opportunity Network students to make for a successful event!

“The answers provided were very powerful and there is one statement that was mentioned that will always stay with me- be resilient and never take a step back when faced with obstacles,” one of the students wrote in an email. and Women in Tech are not the first groups to support women in the workforce, but we hope we can help change lives one person at a time, and we’re more than ok with that.  I am grateful for my colleagues giving their time, sharing their experiences and making an impact in one way or another to each of these students as they navigate their futures. As we head into the season of giving, here are a few things you can do to help someone in need, whether of basic needs like food and shelter or mentorship and education opportunities or something in between:

1. Volunteer at homeless shelter
These shelters could probably use more of your skills than doling out meals. Through Volunteer Match, you could tutor students, provide skills training to adults, and even find homes for pets.

2. Feed a hungry family will connect yo u with an individual family in need. Your impact will last beyond the holiday, as you’ll help provide food, clothing and other necessities throughout the year.

3. Give thanks to a vet
Show your truly personal gratitude by volunteering one-on-one and in-person at a Veterans Center, where you might serve as an escort greeter, transport patients to appointments and perform other duties. See opportunities at the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Taking Digital Marketing to the Next Level with AI and Cloud

September 14, 2017 — by MediaMath1


By Bob Lord, IBM Chief Digital Officer, and Joe Zawadzki, MediaMath Founder and CEO

Let’s talk about how far digital marketing has come and be proud of that for a moment.

Twenty years ago, it was just an idea. Then, 10 years later, programmatic marketing heralded a necessary move toward a better marketing future fueled by data, powered by technology and driven by math.

Today, advertising can be found across connected screens, all controllable with a touch of a button. Ads get billions of impressions a day, touchable through APIs and UIs, which is something that was impossible just five years ago.

Marketers are breaking down organizational silos where collaboration across brand, agency, tech, media and data is finally seen as not simply necessary, but right. Real-time machine learning is used for more than half of every dollar spent in digital, where a 100-percent programmatic future is on our doorstep. Data-driven marketing is moving from one way to do marketing to the way marketing is done.

Still, the reality is we need to go much further.

If you listened only to the press, you’d hear a cacophonous cry of “fake news, fake traffic, fake metrics.” You hear that the infrastructure that manages the now billions of dollars flowing through digital marketing pipes isn’t up to the task anymore. Pixels, redirects, JavaScript and headers are the stuff of a startup industry, not the foundation for mature marketing at scale. Perhaps worst of all, experiencing that moment when kids see an ad and exclaim, “Ugh, I hate advertising.” This, above all, is a daily reminder that we can and must do more.

If marketers really want to pay off the promise of marketing as an engine of business, the connection of thought and deed—the 3 percent of the gross domestic product that powers the other 97 percent, that enables the free internet, that consumers don’t hate and could even learn to love—to move from rendering banner ads to driving business, they know they need to change.

MediaMath and IBM saw in each other something important: a shared worldview, a desire to do better and the will and capability to make it happen. So we’ve partnered to take the next evolutionary steps together. What does this mean? It means we’ll work to:

  • Develop infrastructure that connects brands, consumers and all of the companies in between in a way that is enterprise-class, open and smart.
  • Infuse AI into real-time marketing decisions across all channels, arming the marketer to do her job better with insights as opposed to reports.
  • Delight the human behind the screen with advertising people don’t just tolerate, but appreciate as entertaining, informative and meaningful.

By providing marketers with a neutral, security-rich computing environment and giving them the ability to maintain ownership of their data through the IBM Cloud, marketers will have the insights they need to deliver the campaigns consumers want.

MediaMath and IBM are building the foundation that makes great marketing that moves at the speed of human beings possible, and we are incredibly excited to see what you make of it.



The Insider’s Guide to Dmexco 2017

September 5, 2017 — by Emma Williams0


Dmexco 2017 is set to begin in two weeks as more than 30,000 advertising and marketing professionals from across the globe descend upon Cologne, Germany for a packed two days of presentations, exhibitor showcases, partnership building and networking. I’ve attended the event with MediaMath for the last several years and have learned the ins and outs of getting the most of your short time there. We hope this short guide can serve as a blueprint for a rewarding time at this year’s event.

Getting there and around

Get the train to the exhibition center, not the taxis which take twice as long, and aim to arrive early on the first day—there are massive queues as people activate their passes for the first time. And make time to enjoy Cologne! Some of my favorite spots: the Lindt chocolate experience, the Kolumba museum, the Cologne Cathedral and the Hausbrauerei Päffgen beer house.  

Going in with an agenda

Dmexco is an innovation hub in our industry, and you should think of the event as a follow-up to Cannes. In Cannes, you work out which strategic priorities you want to pursue with partners. At Dmexco, make sure there are actions from these discussions that both parties are following up on to reach joint success before end of the year.

Also, choose ahead of time the topics you want to learn about and pre-arrange meetings with the suppliers with whom you really want to talk. Try to speak with five new suppliers each day so you can learn about what other people in the industry are doing.

Refueling and recharging

Note that the layout for Dmexco has changed this year. They’ve swapped stands in halls 6 and 7, so plan ahead for the exhibitors you want to visit and where they will be. Also, keep in mind where you can get refreshments and recharge your laptop or phone throughout the day. There are cafes and kiosks in the boulevard and food carts outside between halls 6 and 7. Or, pre-pack a lunch and snacks to avoid the queues for food, which are often quite long. Don’t forget to sneak out for some sunshine in the gaps in between the halls—it’ll help reenergize you and improve jetlag.

Networking how you’re most comfortable

Dmexco attracts such a large number of attendees that it can be quite intimidating to approach some of the larger booths. If you prefer to network in a more casual setting, attend the parties on the first night so you can have more of a relaxed conversation.

Attending sessions

It might sound simple, but with such a short two-day time window, many people wind up hanging out in the exhibitor hall (or sleeping in after a night out) and miss out on some rich, informative content sessions. Aim to go to at least two sessions a day, and if you can’t get into the main content sessions, try to catch some booth sessions which are free (and don’t forget to visit MediaMath at D041 in Hall 6). Two presentations that are worth checking out are:

Planning for next year

Pre-book your hotel room for next year’s Dmexco while at this year’s event to get accommodation near the exhibition center.  The dates will be announced to exhibitors on Day 2, so ask around.