What Marketers Need to Know for Cannes Lions 2017

June 12, 2017 — by Emma Williams0


Next week I’ll be in the south of France for the 64th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where the world’s biggest brands come together to inspire, network and ultimately strive to move the marketing and advertising industry to new heights.

In the space of a week, thousands of influencers from the communications, marketing, entertainment, design and tech space will line the Boulevard De La Croisette in Cannes to attend hundreds of talks, events, meetings, boat trips, experiential pop-ups and much more.

Needless to say…it gets busy! But as the head of global marketing for MediaMath, this isn’t my first rodeo.

This year is my fifth year running MediaMath’s presence in Cannes and over the years as a “Cannes veteran” I’ve learned a thing or two about how to survive(!) and make the most of this unique and sometimes crazy week.

Whether you’re a Cannes Lions first-timer or a veteran, I’ve put together some tips and best practices to help you get a head start on running events at an action-packed, yet fun-filled festival:

  • Prepare. This might be obvious and it’s easy for me to say with only a week to go, but get all of your meetings prepped and strategized up front so when it comes to the crunch, you’re ready to go. This way, you’re set up for success to make highly impactful business decisions when meeting with clients, partners or high-level prospects. Over the years, I’ve learned that preparation is key from the very beginning because later down the line — when you’re in the thick of the week-long festivities — you’ll get tired and run down. Trust me, you’ll thank me later!


  • Network and build lasting connections. Once a year, an incredible amount of innovators and influencers come together in one place…to talk!  This is not a time to “catch up on emails” or “dial into calls.” Seize the moment. Cannes Lions offers such a unique experience for marketers to meet so many people that will benefit your business and career, so get out and meet them. But remember, take their number, get their card and follow up afterwards.


  • Look for great content. It’s everywhere! Cannes is the home of world-class content and whether you’re attending the main festival or not, there’s so much to learn — from how to change healthcare with virtual reality or using emotional intelligence to build global brands. Look for free events promoted on the run up to Cannes and as you walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette, ask people to recommend any events or talks to help you figure out what’s going on. It’s easy to get carried away with meeting so many people and networking but try to fit in one piece of content, per day. If nothing else, it’s a great opportunity to get educated and pick up on new skills. 


  • Be mindful. Mindfulness is such a buzzword right now, but when you’re in such a busy environment it’s hard not to constantly plan for the next thing. Try to get out of your planning mind state and ensure you’re present by appreciating whatever’s going on during any activity, meeting or event you’re at. It’s not every day you get to see the view of the Croisette during a strategy meeting, so embrace it.  


  • Eat, drink, sleep. It seems simple, but you can’t be your best self without ensuring your basic needs are met, and this can be tough when you’re traipsing from meeting to meeting and staying out late. If you’re hosting meetings, I’d advise you have plenty of water, fruit, snack bars or energy foods for your guests.  If you are attending meetings, snack and graze as you go along to keep energy levels up, never refuse a glass of water! It will provide you with more energy than a cup of coffee.

At the end of it all, work hard and play hard! And swim in the sea! It’s glorious and will help wake you up and cool you down between appointments. That said, don’t loose sight of why you’re there in the first place – have fun in Cannes with your colleagues, clients and partners because it will lead to deep and lasting relationships that you will be able to draw on to achieve your future business goals.


Adtech Company MediaMath Secures $175M Credit Facility

June 7, 2017 — by Amarita Bansal0


This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.

MediaMath, a company offering tools and data for automated ad-buying, announced today that it has secured a $175 million credit facility.

The deal was led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Santander Bank.

The company says this financing will fund its continued growth and allow it to refinance existing debt. (MediaMath’s 2014 funding round included $105 million in debt.)

In a note to MediaMath employees, CFO Stacey Bain said this doesn’t mean the company chose more debt “instead of” an equity funding round: “In fact, this line of credit allows us to be flexible in terms of how and when we decide to raise another round of equity, ensuring we get the best deal for MediaMath.”

And while the IPO market seems to be improving for tech companies (including, perhaps, adtech), Bain also wrote that this isn’t setting MediaMath up to go public: “Right now, we like operating privately and we’ll explore an IPO when and if it makes sense for MediaMath.”

The company says it now has nearly 700 employees and works with all of the major ad holding companies.

“We’re thrilled to work with Goldman Sachs and Santander, who are equally ambitious to support the growing scale of our business today, and motivated to support the needs of a reimagined and increasingly sophisticated supply chain in the future,” said CEO Joe Zawadzki in the funding release.


MediaMath’s Career Journeys Program

June 6, 2017 — by Lone Jensen0


“A career path is rarely a path at all. A more interesting life is usual a more crooked, winding path of missteps, luck and vigorous work. It is almost always a clumsy balance between the things you try to make happen and the things that happen to you.” — Tom Freston, MTV cofounder

At MediaMath we appreciate that career paths are often crooked and winding. Each new role, experience and assignment can be a destination or a stop along the way. Our life journeys don’t always occur in a straight line. Often, the most rewarding careers take us to new locations, create adventures in projects we never encountered previously and teach us about ourselves and other people.

Since so many people follow a circuitous career path, MediaMath has decided to elevate career development in new ways via the MediaMath Career Journeys Program.

Across the organization our people are asking good questions about career progression. They share exciting stories about their own career development at the company. Each person tells a different story and have unique definitions of what career success means to them.

To help our employees follow the path to self-discovery via their career, we often move people to help develop a more holistic impact on the business and will explore creating new roles that maximize individual potential.

How it works

Personal interaction between our Voyagers (employees) and our Navigators (managers) is the heart of the program. In addition, we have simplified career planning and will continue to challenge our people to make the most of their journeys.

MediaMath’s Career Journeys Program reinforces the notion that career conversations are not merely promotion conversations and that “up” is not the only way to grow. In particular, the program helps our people to do the following:

  • Define interests:  Where do they want to go and why?
  • Assess Reality:  How ready are they, what is realistic and what resources do they have?
  • Create Options:  What do they want to see and do?
  • Develop Plan: Who do they want to travel with, how will they get there and what do they need to pack?

We are excited to take career development to the next level and further enable the bright people at MediaMath in creating wonderful career journeys for themselves.

Learn more about our career opportunities here.


Making a Good First Impression Is Knowing It’s Not Your Last…

May 31, 2017 — by Gloria Basem0


This byline written by Gloria Basem, Chief People Officer at MediaMath, originally appeared on Fortune

For good or ill, humans often make snap judgments. We place a lot of stock in preparedness, remembering someone’s name, attire, posture, firm handshakes, tone of voice, and word choice. These are important, but to really make a successful first impression on someone, you should treat the initial meeting as the beginning of a relationship.

Here are a few ways to start off on the right foot:

  • Be curious

When it comes to first impressions, asking is more important than telling. Interviewers and clients want to know that you’ve spent time learning about the company, but they also want to tell you about their company. Even if you believe you know the situation, asking them to tell you about the company’s history, culture, challenges, and opportunities will help you learn more, as each person has a unique perspective on the situation. In taking this approach, you’ll make them feel special and they’ll trust you more.

  • Find a connection

Before meeting someone new, research them on LinkedIn. Past companies and alma maters can provide a number of conversation starters. But be careful about referencing people in common until you know the nature of the relationship they may have with that person.

When meeting someone in their office, look for visual cues to help build a connection. I always look for photos, children’s drawings, unique décor, and books we may have both read. While the person leading the conversation is often responsible for creating the small talk before the discussion, you can help take the pressure off and therefore establish a good rapport.

  • Tell stories

When it comes time to share information about your own experiences, tell concise stories that demonstrate how you would handle similar situations in the future. Telling great stories can help others relate to you and your thought process. Try to include humor to make your stories more engaging.

  • Be positive

Never underestimate how important it is to smile and project friendliness and optimism to everyone you meet. If you talk negatively about past colleagues or employers, people will worry that you’ll do the same about them someday. Furthermore, people are attracted to those with a can-do attitude. If you’re going to be working with them every day, they’ll want to know that you’re a positive presence in the workplace.

  • Don’t talk about your old job

Interviewers certainly want to know what you have done in the past, but your first day is not the time to tell people how you did things at your old company. That said, make sure to share any lessons learned from your old job that are applicable to your new one. If you take the right approach, your new colleagues will feel like you’re invested in your new company.


Ask Digiday Careers: The Non-Technical Skills That Ad Tech Companies Look for in Candidates

May 5, 2017 — by Lauren Fritsky0


How do adtech companies balance technical skill and creativity in the talent they hire? For Digiday’s recent Careers column, Jenna Griffith, SVP, Head of Professional Services for MediaMath, weighs in.

At MediaMath, specifically at entry-level positions, the skills that we are looking for are not tremendously different than other industries. First and foremost, we look for people who are smart, passionate, and nice. There is no ‘ad tech knowledge’ mention in there purposefully. I often find bringing people in with expertise in other industries to be helpful — different perspectives can add a tremendous amount of value when focusing on client service. Yes, employees need to learn the technology in order to understand how best to apply it. But the technical aspect is much easier to learn than learning how to creatively approach a client problem and return a solution. One of my favorite interview questions is asking a candidate to teach me something, anything, about which they are passionate. I have learned about rugby, quantum dots and electronic music — each of these people had little adtech experience at the point of hire, but are now some of our most highly valued employees given their passion, creative mindset, and attention to detail.


MediaMath and Seva Partner to Preserve and Restore Sight in Low-Income Regions

April 12, 2017 — by Michael Quinn0


You might wear glasses or contact lenses, but aside from an annual checkup, you probably never think about your eyesight. But for the 35 million people living in developing countries who are blind, this disability can strip them of their livelihood and condemn their families to extreme poverty. The good news: 80 percent of these cases are treatable or preventable. Half of blindness is caused by cataracts, and an individual’s vision can be restored through a quick 15-minute surgery.

Seva is an international non-profit that partners worldwide to prevent blindness and restore sight. Seva works in over 20 resource-poor countries, focusing on communities where a small contribution goes a long way. In these areas, the average cost for a surgery to completely restore a person’s eyesight is just $50.

MediaMath is stepping up to support Seva in a big way. We first heard about Seva through The Life You Can Save, an organization that promotes highly impactful nonprofits. Seva stood out as a charity that aligned with our own values: creating impact via measurable outcomes. This is an example of how a low-cost intervention can change someone’s life. And it means a lot to MediaMath—it was the #1 supported charity by our employees in 2016.

To support Seva, we are launching an internal program called “Campaigns Count.” For every 20 campaigns in our platform, MediaMath will fund a sight-saving surgery for someone who suffers from low vision or whose blindness is treatable.

We want this program to be more than just doing good on the side—we want giving back to be in MediaMath’s DNA. With that in mind, and to help keep track of our progress, a group of us joined the recent MediaMath Hackathon to create a feature inside the MediaMath platform to monitor the number of people helped as a result of our campaigns. The widget tracks the number of surgeries we will fund in real time. By adding it into our product, we hope it raises awareness with clients and users, showing that their campaigns count and inviting them to learn more about our program and get involved.

We aim to help restore sight to thousands of people through the program. As MediaMath grows, our impact grows.

Thanks to everyone involved.


Joe Zawadzki Talks About the Birth of his Career and Foray into Programmatic

April 7, 2017 — by Lauren Fritsky0


Joe Zawadzki has been at the game for almost 20 years.

After starting his career as a financial analyst building real estate valuation models, he launched his very first start-up— a suite of apps for online shopping—in 1999. In his next venture, Poindexter, he found his wheelhouse of applying technology to advertising. The rest is history.

Zawadzki spoke with Gartner analyst Martin Kihn about his career trajectory and his presence during the pivotal moments in the evolution of programmatic. A portion of this interview is included below. To read the full discussion, visit Kihn’s blog here.


It was around 2000 or so. We were doing clustering algorithms for personalization, using our tech to decide what to show people when they navigated a site. The purpose was to improve conversion on the site. It was a natural extension then to wonder, you know, how do I get better prospects onto my site in the first place. The obvious way to do that was to do an analysis of the best customers, what they looked like. We had access to B.I. and a lot of insights around [existing] customers. So we could potentially do a lot. The problem was the media buying process itself was broken.


At the time, it was basically you go to the top twenty retail publishers, you buy space on all of them. Sort them by click-through rates. And, you know, God will figure out the rest. We had these strategic accounts, including AOL, American Express and Delta Air Lines. They had these great insights and as it trickled through the value stream of media, it just got watered down to age and income. You’d take that and bounce it against the publishers and get an index. Measure engagement with a banner using clicks. I thought: This can’t possibly be the best answer!


Well, we launched a passback network. [Note: “Passbacks” are ad impressions that do not get a qualified bid, i.e., remnant inventory.] We would get an impression offered to us by a publisher and we would score it in real time and pass back what we didn’t want. We did about 85-90% passbacks on an ad by ad basis. There was a big discrepancy for redirects [i.e., data leakage]. Basically, we lost 2% of the traffic for each hop along the passback chain. What that meant was the publisher might sell for $3 CPM and keep 5%, passing back 95%, say. That rejected stuff would drop back into the system as a house ad usually at about 25-50 cents [CPM].

It was basically a terrible system — very inefficient, obviously. And it didn’t scale. But we represented extremely valuable marketers, sophisticated and demanding with big budgets and quantitative goals they could commit to. We basically forced publishers to do what we wanted from a business model, workflow, and technical implementation standpoint. Which worked as well as forcing people to do things generally does.

At this point I’m wondering how can we bring this real-time idea to the publisher landscape. Basically, how can we help advertisers buy the wheat and not the chaff. Poindexter was a buy-side solution. And it became obvious to me that to do this [real-time impression valuation] thing at scale we would have to fix the publisher problem.

We had this dynamic advertiser performance solution already. And I had the idea for POE for Publishers [Note: Predictive Optimization Engine, the core of what would become [x+1]’s ad tech platform]. It was a product for publishers. We were selling into the DoubleClick Sonar network, which was the performance media arm of DoubleClick. At this point DoubleClick decided to sell off its media business to L90 [later Max Worldwide], and DoubleClick itself was pure tech — an ad server.

Later to be sold to Google, of course. At this point, the story gets complicated. (For a more detailed telling, see Mike Smith’s fascinating 2014 book Targeted.) So here is Zawadzki, CEO of Poindexter/[x+1], and he’s working with a refugee from DoubleClick’s media business, an ace sales guy named Mike Walrath. It is now 2005.

At this point, the size of the opportunity got better. We realized we could mash together two media offerings around our ad server. Walrath and I were spending hours and hours each day banging out this idea. We were basically going to adapt the ad server so it could pick impressions that performed the best. We wanted to automate a process that was manual.

And just as we’re getting closer to making it work, L90 gets acquired by Excite. Now Excite already had its own ad server, so it didn’t need this thing.


Mike and I still saw this as a real opportunity and we were like, Why not do it anyway? Walrath left Max Worldwide. He was doing go-to-market strategy on the publisher side for [his own start-up] Right Media. We were building the core tech underneath. We spent about nine months building this idea out, working with Brian O’Kelley who was Senior Director of SmartServe, which was our own ad server.

This was on 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue. We were building the product. We had all of the joint venture and entity formation agreements ready to sign, and I went into my board. They were the investors and I was this crazy founder guy. I didn’t have the greatest relationship, you know. And the board shot it down. They said no.

Read the rest here.


Location, Location, Location – Mobile World Congress 2017

February 27, 2017 — by Michael Weaver1


The biggest mobile event of the year is just around the corner and, we at MediaMath will join more than 2,200 companies to exhibit at the Mobile World Congress 2017. Industry experts will be lining the floors of the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain to attend a series of lectures and keynote speakers, explore new products and build partnerships with key players from across the globe.

The theme for this year’s event is “the next element.” Unlike any other channel, mobile has really transformed the way we communicate, and since it plays such an elemental role in everything we do, how do marketers adapt and advance their ability to reach people wherever they are? Understanding the complicated path to conversion – the what, where and why of a consumer’s journey – can truly make the difference between good and bad “location-based” advertising.

I’ll be hosting a fireside chat on location-based advertising alongside Ilicco Elia, DigitasLBi International’s head of mobile, at #MWC17 to explain why mobile marketers have location on their mind. How do marketers deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time? Cracking this code can be tricky since many factors come into play when selecting the right location-based tools to deploy — whether it’s push notifications, geofencing, SMS coupons or mobile banners.

With 100k+ attendees expected to attend the conference from February 27 to March 2, we are excited to be involved with Mobile World Congress for the third time to kick-start conversations about one-to-one marketing, network with peers and meet with clients to talk all things mobile.

If you’re attending MWC17, head down to Hall 8.0, Monday February 27 AT 4.05PM – 4.30PM as we help define what location-based advertising is, and share campaign examples across retail, automative and CPG.


Why Buzz Lightyear Is the Ideal Coworker

February 9, 2017 — by Ronika Vyas0


Imagine This.

If you can’t build a macro in excel with your eyes closed, you can’t get a job.

If you don’t understand the likes of data attribution or programming languages, you can’t get a job.

And above all, if you can’t effectively articulate how to do the above to others — well, good luck.

Truth is, you don’t have to imagine it. Transformation in technology and its inevitable reshaping of the job market is our modern-day reality. According to a 2013 Oxford University Study, nearly 47 percent of jobs will be replaced by technology in the next 20 years and beyond.

The relationship our society has developed with tech is truly paving the way for a newly defined view on human interaction and ultimate job security. The more you choose to become tech savvy, the greater your chance is of staying relevant and employed.

And so here’s a round of applause for the parents and academic institutions pushing STEM as a proactive education measure i.e., building it [the skill] before the world needs it [tomorrow].

Yet as tech continues to be an integral part of our lives, some may feel it may be over glorified. To beat out competition for job security by independently developing technical skills, are we losing our cognitive ability to communicate effectively with one another? Does technological advancement characteristically devalue the need for meaningful relationships and emotional intelligence?

I like to think that Buzz Lightyear did it right. He represents the right balance.

As an up-and-coming tech toy in the classic Pixar movie, Toy Story, Buzz never fell short of being a savvy visionary while maintaining a strong point of view on the importance of solid relationships.

I believe Buzz embodies the characteristics of the ideal modern day coworker. He recognized early on that while you can reach new heights on your own, the real joy is in reaching ‘to infinity and beyond’ with some of your most trusted companions [Woody] along the way.

As you reflect on the type of employee, leader or space ranger you want to be, I hope you consciously choose to never forget the importance of building meaningful relationships before you need them. You never know how many sequels you’ll create with some of your closest friends and colleagues on your lifelong journey and career in tech.