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Monthly Roundup: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for March

April 2, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0

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Spring has sprung! And what better way is there to start the new season than getting up on your adtech knowledge?! Our loyal MM readers took to the blog last month to learn about the benefits of using a single omnichannel platform and what the biggest trends in programmatic will be this year.

Check out our most popular blogs for March below:

 

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Blended AI: How to Use the Best of Man and Machine

March 30, 2018 — by Todd Wasserman0

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Artificial intelligence isn’t artificial in the sense that it’s fake. In this case, artificial means “man made.” Everything about AI is based on human knowledge. Data from searches, for instance, comes from people looking for information.

The image then, of a machine making cold calculations without human assistance is misguided. From the beginning, AI has been about using human knowledge to automate decision making.

It’s logical then that AI should be used to augment human performance rather than act as its replacement. This hybrid of AI and human work has been called “blended AI.”

The reasoning behind blended AI

What we think of as AI today is really narrow AI, a.k.a “weak AI.” That is, it is AI focused on solving a specific task. Systems in autonomous vehicles, for instance, attempt to solve the “problem” of cars that require human drivers. A system that can beat a grand master at chess is another example of narrow AI.

General AI, meanwhile, would mimic the human brain’s ability to be adept at many different things. General AI would also be able to synthesize that knowledge. Some even believe that general AI would mean a machine has consciousness.

Weak AI has gaps that necessitate human help. Personal assistants like Siri, for instance, lack context. As Robert Scoble pointed out, you ask Siri “What’s my favorite gas station?” it can’t tell you even though it knows which one you visit most.

Blended AI in action

Blended AI isn’t theoretical. It is the primary way that AI is employed. For instance, Alphabet uses AI to screen YouTube videos, but it also employs thousands of moderators.

A more common example is in customer service. Sweden’s Swedbank uses Nuance Communications’ chatbot Nina to field customer service queries. Nina solves 78% and sends the rest to human reps.

Looking ahead in 2018, Forrester Research predicted that blended AI would help improve sales and cut customer service costs. Forrester cautioned that customers won’t necessarily like the change. A recent survey found that 71% of U.S. consumers said a bot couldn’t answer their questions or help them.

Even so, Apple, Nike, Uber and Target, among others, are putting more emphasis on chat. Those companies are dialing back on email as a customer service channel in favor of chatbots, according to Forrester.

The success of such programs is likely to hinge on the proper use of blended AI. Though critics say AI is a job killer, AI supporters counter that rather than eliminate jobs, AI will improve them. Automating repetitive aspects of work will let workers spend more time being creative, they say.

Blended AI realizes this vision. Instead of answering rote questions, customer service reps will use emotional intelligence and creativity to solve harder problems. The result in this vision is a virtuous circle: As AI improves, so will human workers. Both improve by exposure. From the consumer’s point of view, the improvement will be seamless.

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Here’s How Emerging Technologies Are Redefining Mobile

March 20, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0

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This article was originally published on CMO.com.

Emerging technologies are amazing in their own right. Think the internet of things, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and voice. Taken one step further, their potential to breathe new life into the mobile space is huge, possibly leading to the point where, experts say, consumers might not even need a screen at all to interact with their devices.

This will have massive effects on brands’ mobile design process and strategy. It also will shift the way they interact with their on-the-go consumers.

“For marketers, the world five years from now represents both a challenge and an opportunity. New technologies will continue to lay fertile ground for more consumer engagement, but, at the same time, the proliferation of touch points will increase the complexity of delivering a coherent consumer journey,” said Carlos Sandrea, VP and head of mobile at MediaMath. “Mobile will become the predominant media channel and will be defined beyond our smartphones to include wearables, connected cars, VR-power devices, and chatbots.”

Voice
Voice will have the largest impact on mobile design, according to Tom Anderson, GM of mobile at TripleLift. Indeed, mobile voice has an advantage over other voice-enabled home devices, because the phone hardly ever leaves its owner’s side.

Location will play a big part, Anderson told CMO.com. He predicts a time when a phone will be able to understand commands based on circumstance, such as location. For example, a person standing in front of her home could say, “unlock door,” and the phone will understand this command is meant for the front door, not her car door.

“Consumers will be able to engage with thousands of IoT-connected devices through their voice-enabled phones,” Anderson said. “Ordering coffee from Starbucks, ‘One venti macchiato,’ the order will go from your phone right to the Starbucks app since your phone can tell you’re about to walk into a Starbucks. The price of the coffee is then deducted from your crypto wallet once you confirm the purchase with your voice-secured biometric password, which is as unique as your fingerprint.”

Gladys Kong, CEO of UberMedia, said she expects that the adoption of in-store chatbots and unique mobile apps will be a main driver of user interfaces that are geared more toward voice rather than typing or tapping a touch screen.

Immersive Realities
According to Bryan O’Neil Hughes, director of product management, Creative Cloud, at Adobe, mobile used to be seen as a smaller screen that had less power. “Today, it’s really getting to the point where not only is it as powerful in many ways, but when it comes to sensors and lenses enabling AR and VR, in some cases, it’s even more powerful,” he said. He expects this trend to accelerate as devices mature.

We are in a second wave of mobile innovation, MediaMath’s Sandrea added. “The revolution that started in our smartphones is now permeating other aspects of our daily lives,” he told CMO.com. “As such, mobile won’t be the same media we know today. The boundaries between the physical and virtual world will collide.”

In particular, augmented reality will power new entertainment platforms and experiences, which will redefine consumers’ expectations about brand experiences, Sandrea added. Andrew Carlson, EVP of experience design at Digitas, echoed that thought and said he believes new hardware will drive the future of mobile.

“Augmented reality glasses will move from B2B to widespread consumer use, replacing many phone interactions. Users will communicate with their glasses using voice and a paired wearable, such as a ring that lets them make basic choices silently,” Carlson told CMO.com. “The user experience will be a combination of bone conduction audio [conducting sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull], augmented reality visuals, and haptic feedback, all orchestrated by AI.”

This is for sure, according to Rajiv Bhat, SVP, data sciences and marketplace, at InMobi: Mobile experiences will certainly become richer as a result of emerging tech, and AI will help place user customization in the context of an advertiser’s value proposition.

Facial Recognition
Facial recognition already has made its way into both Apple and Android devices and onto platforms such as Facebook, which uses the technology to, for example, suggest photo tags and protect users from strangers using their photos. While facial recognition has certainly made strides in accuracy over the years, it isn’t perfect.

But when it is, it could be a game changer in the mobile realm, UberMedia’s Kong said. She pointed to recent developments that add an element of convenience, such as the introduction of facial-recognition payments. Additionally, retailers such as Amazon and financial brands including Chase have tapped into facial recognition to streamline the sign-in process, enabling users to unlock their apps just by looking at the phone’s screen.

Another big opportunity with facial recognition, and biometrics, in general, is its ability to measure the effectiveness of content and other marketing collateral, said Ryan Steelberg, president and co-founder of Veritone, in a previous interview with CMO.com. Brands such as Coca-Cola and Unilever began testing facial coding to measure ad effectiveness back in 2013; more recent examples include 20th Century Fox and Expedia.

“Asking someone, ‘How does it make you feel?’ is just not as good as being able to observe in reality how they are feeling,” Affectiva CEO Nicholas Langeveld told AdAge. “People have a really hard time articulating their feelings. And sometimes there is a subtle, fleeting little emotion that people aren’t even aware is happening.”

Artificial Intelligence
As the computing power for mobile devices increases and battery technologies evolve, expect AI to become integrated into all experiences, MediaMath’s Sandrea said. As such, virtual assistants, powered by AI, will find their place in wearables. Also, autonomous vehicles will finally reach our streets, and connected devices will become mainstream.

“Today’s on-the-go user needs to have the content they want, literally at their fingertips,” said Greg Wester, SVP of marketing and business development at Mobile Posse. “This means that smartphones will need to use AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics to transform the age-old smartphone experience to something that serves us better.”

The goal: frictionless media experiences. By inventing new interfaces and combining them with predictive, AI-powered technologies, the way people discover and consume content will continue to shift, Wester told CMO.com. Just think of platforms such as Pandora, Netflix, Spotify, and Alexa, he said, which have already changed how people consume content. He predicts that content discovery will catch up to make customer engagement better, searching easier, discovery faster, curation more appealing, and accessibility ubiquitous.

“The ‘unlock experience’ will change to something intelligent and dynamic, understanding the user journey and delivering what users want immediately,” Wester said. “The bounce rate on smartphones [the percent of time we immediately dismiss the first screen we see] will plummet. Smartphone engagement will cater to the snackable moment, a.k.a. those minutes we have to spare as we transition between daily activities. Finally, the number of taps, types, swipes, and waits that litter our mobile journey will be almost eliminated.”

When Adobe’s Hughes thinks about the future of mobile and mobile design, he said he sees a trend toward the “software getting out of the way.” After all, what users really value in mobility is speed and quality. “That’s why the future of mobile will be further AI-enabled, allowing brands to serve consumers in such a way that doesn’t obfuscate the experience,” Hughes added.

Digitas’ Carlson said he imagines a time when apps will be dynamically and contextually discovered and served as options by AI without the need for user management. Frequency and intensity of these always-on experiences will be driven by user preference.

“Think of it as a Spotify-recommended playlist of services, actions, and information streamed into your field of vision and whispering in your ear,” Carlson said. “Old favorites will appear alongside things relevant to where you are, when it is, and what you are doing. Some will even be generated on the fly for you in that context and never appear for you [or anyone else] again.”

According to InMobi’s Bhat, as the number of devices and user engagements explode, consistency in cross-platform and cross-device experience and attribution will become critical—even more so than today. There will no doubt be an inherent complexity that comes out of this as well, but AI will save the day.

“A major marketing nightmare will disappear when multitouch attribution will be solved with AI solutions,” Bhat said. “[Additionally], as users interact with new age media, they emit even more personal data. Users will demand privacy control via fine-grained, time-bound levers that switch their data usage on and off. New tools will show where specific data is being used, and AI technologies will provide techniques to anonymize data. Information search, exploration, and advertising will merge into a seamless experience where AI will leverage context to deliver the right information, the right value proposition, at the right time.”

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The Role of AI in Redefining the Programmatic Advertising Experience

March 14, 2018 — by Emma Williams0

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This article originally appeared on MarTech Advisor.

Artificial intelligence: What is it really beyond a big buzzword? Is it machine learning? Is it just hype? Let’s take a deeper look under the hood of this hot technology to see how industries like marketing can harness it.

What AI does

AI is the umbrella term used to describe the ability for machines to complete tasks that they can increasingly perform better over time. Machine learning involves getting computers to perform these tasks without being programmed in a rules-based way to do them.

AI collects all the right data, including unstructured data, from all the right sources and extracts actionable insights at lightning speed so marketers can make better decisions faster than ever. This capability gets smarter over time as it learns from new data and a marketer’s systems, processes and decisions. AI also knows which data assets to leverage in which execution channel. There is clear benefit to marketers here, but there is also the promise of better experiences for consumers as they receive more personalized ads not just based on their interests, but also on their sentiment and the context of their buying environment.

What is possible today

In a marketing context, AI is increasingly being used to anticipate predictive consumer actions instead of focusing on past behaviors. For instance, with AI infused into media buying, marketers can estimate the probability that a consumer will respond to an ad to determine how much to bid for an opportunity. AI can also be used to create look-alike models for finding users who are like known high-value customers to improve targeting.

IBM is one example of a company testing how to connect AI to the media-buying process to optimize ad spend. Connecting its Watson Cognitive Bidder to demand-side technology, IBM can infuse data from areas such as Internet-of-Things devices and weather, along with a deeper contextual analysis of a page, to make better bidding decisions. IBM can then convert this data into actionable insights that can be used to tailor marketing messaging.

What is possible in the future

The opportunities of bringing AI to bear in marketing include more personalized messaging, faster campaign execution and more upsell and cross-sell advantages.

As more data about consumers becomes available and innovations in AI, from tools to frameworks, emerge to make this technology more scalable, marketers will finally be able to deliver on the promise of “right user, right message, right time, right place.” Not only will marketers be able to anticipate who might engage with an ad, but they will also be able to quickly pass on a bid opportunity in their media-buying system to improve efficiency.

Imagine knowing what mood a target customer is in so you can adjust your messaging and creative to increase the chances of them taking a desired action? This will become possible with AI. With the ability to know a customer’s sentiment, marketers will know if that individual is in a buying mood—a key input into how much to pay for an ad.

Another near-term AI capability is interactive ad units, where customers can ask an ad a question and receive customized responses. In the case of Watson, marketers can train the system to develop thousands of different ad creatives that can dynamically speak to different audiences, transforming an ad creative unit into a conversation with a customer. Marketers will also increasingly be able to use AI across customer analytics and marketing insights to predict what a user will do based on their behavior.

What AI adds to jobs

AI isn’t just adding to our understanding of consumers so we can adapt how we market to them. It also stands to change the shape of the roles and responsibilities of marketers. For instance, AI will evolve the role of the trader, allowing them to go deeper into their quantitative skillset. Sellers will become more outcomes-oriented, focusing on how AI-driven programmatic can help clients customize their marketing with additional variables such as mood to reach the high-value customers that translate to actual revenue. And as AI everywhere becomes possible across all channels, you will see the role of the media buyer pivot away from a single-channel focus to one encompassing fluid budgets that adapt to reach customers where they are.

It’s a big misconception that AI will take everyone’s jobs. As marketers better understand the concept of AI and what it can do, they will see there is an opportunity in letting a machine do some of their monotonous, manual tasks so they can perform more strategic ones.

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#MWC 2018: 5G, Transparency and Snow

March 9, 2018 — by Carlos Sandrea0

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The three hot topics of discussion at this year’s Mobile World Congress was 5G connectivity, transparency and of course…snow.

Let’s start with the last one — we’re talking about Barcelona, Spain where it was cold, wet, and it even snowed!

Despite the unusually cold weather, the promise of 5G was one of the most talked about trends at the trade show. 5G is the new generation of mobile technology, promising gigabit per second speeds, all without wires. While 5G deployments are still rare, that didn’t stop vendors from showcasing their vision of the future.

And 5G promised to redefine mobile in very dramatic ways. Despite the usual mobile phone launch fanfare, 5G developments and the Internet of things (IoT) technologies promised to open a new ecosystem of interconnected devices ranging from connected homes, cars, AR/VR devices, and even connected cities. In this new world, mobile phones are no longer at the center of consumers lives — it became just another device with a vast array of digital access points.

Of course, there was adtech too. At times, it seemed like the glory days of adtech were in the past. But then again, we saw glimpses of a thriving ecosystem that refuses to give up to the dominance of the walled gardens.

The walled gardens certainly made a mark in the show, but it was the telco sector that provided the highlights for ad tech, in my opinion. Ericsson launched Emodo, a mobile advertising platform for telcos powered by its own people-graph. Tapad also launched its version of a Customer Data Platform (CDP), promising operators the ability to deliver marketing and loyalty programs to leverage their very valuable subscriber data.

Another hot trend for ad tech was location data. As expected, we saw A LOT of vendors offering their own versions of location data: IP-based location services, location-based audiences, location attribution, location-verification services, “tower-powered” location data, you name it. But after spending time with many vendors, one thing became really clear: there wasn’t a lack of vendors, but very few offered full transparency in the way they source their data, and how they model and scale audiences.

And of course, there was the theme of trust and transparency. Not surprisingly, being in Europe, the buzz word was GDPR. As May 25th approaches, some claimed 100% compliance, and others weren’t so sure. But what all participants agreed with was that GDPR is a welcomed development for the industry.

Mobile World Congress never disappoints. This year there was new tech coupled with lots of hype. But there’s hope that we are finally moving towards a more transparent and balanced ad industry, where brands and consumers needs are equally at the forefront.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day

March 8, 2018 — by Elise James-Decruise0

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“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – Oprah Winfrey

This quote resonated with me on so many levels as we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements on International Women’s Day (and everyday thereafter).

Having the courage to ask for what you want is a muscle that needs to be developed and flexed often (even when it feels uncomfortable) in order to build your confidence and begin to amplify your inner and outer voice so that you can ask for what you want, from yourself and from others. As I reflect on my journey both personally and professionally on International Women’s Day a few things come to mind as I continue to flex my leadership muscle so that in time it will become muscle memory, still a work in progress…

How do I ensure that my voice is heard?

• “Meeting People Where they Are.” Your ability to listen and connect with others through experiences, differences and shared interests is critical in order to build trust.
Show Respect. We are all humans. We all have feelings and are striving for acceptance and success. Be respectful of everyone and show that you are honest in your intentions. Respect creates respect.
Be Heard ‘Speak Up and Stand Tall.” Understand that being assertive shows professionalism and is different from being pushy and arrogant.
Understand your own communication style. Be creative and be open to new ways and ideas. Each of us has our own communication style, and we communicate and process information differently. When you want to communicate effectively, know your style and as well as your boss’ and your teammates’ styles. The goal is to understand one another, to listen, and to be heard.

As an African American female leader at MediaMath, I strive to elevate the conversation (through action) around diversity and inclusion as well the Adtech industry as a whole. Diversity should be a critical component of the innovation that leaders are driving in their organization, and it can and should be a competitive advantage for them. Research shows that diverse groups outperform homogeneous ones.

Since joining MediaMath in January of 2012, and launching the New Marketing Institute (NMI) shortly thereafter, creating a diverse global team of amazing industry and training professionals and practitioners was very important to me to ensure that we could truly “meet the learner where they are.” We continue to set the bar high and strive for excellence in developing and retaining diverse talent, award winning curriculum and a learning environment that truly meets each person where they are in location, language, learning style and level of experience. Having trained over 18,000 participants since the launch of NMI in 2012, having our 8th MEP (Marketing Engineer Program) cohort join the MediaMath family a few weeks ago and placing over 100 Marketing Engineers into full time roles since the launch of the program in 2014.

I believe that as a leader and as a company we continue to take small steps in our diversity and inclusion efforts, celebrating Women in Technology (WIT) at MediaMath and celebrating our differences that binds us all. It’s humbling and encouraging to be part of a company and a team that values diversity and inclusion and continues to take steps toward creating a culture and environment that truly reflects the clients that we serve.

“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance — and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.” – Oprah Winfrey

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Monthly Roundup: Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for February

March 6, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0

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Check out our most popular blogs for February below:

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18 Programmatic Trends for 2018

February 26, 2018 — by Amarita Bansal0

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When programmatic turned 10 last year, our CEO Joe Zawadzki shared his thoughts on what the next 10 years could look like: “Programmatic in 10 years’ time kind of disappears. It will be the way that marketing is done as opposed to being one of the ways marketing is done.”

If the 2018 programmatic trends are any indication of this shift, then programmatic is certainly on its way to be the only way marketing is done in 2027. Check out these predictions from around the globe below:

1. Four in five US ad dollars will transact programmatically in 2018 reflecting a 20% YoY growth (eMarketer).

2. In 2018, US programmatic investment on mobile will reach $30 billion+, over 3x the amount spent on desktop (eMarketer).

3. Increased demand in the US for more “native” experiences will drive programmatic native spend, reaching $24 billion+ by years end compared to $13.24 billion in 2016 (eMarketer).

4. The continued shift in TV viewership toward more IP-connected device will fuel an 85% increase in US programmatic TV ad spend (eMarketer).

5. Marketers will assume automated, data-driven ad spend in 2018. Mature markets throughout Europe will see this play out most (The Drum).

6. In 2018, the UK will remain the dominant advertising market in Western Europe, with $15.95 billion expected ad spend (eMarketer).

7. By 2018, $3.1 billion is expected to be spent on programmatic in the UK (eMarketer).

8. Digital-out-of-home ads traded programmatically are expected to grow at the same rate as ads that are traded programmatically online in the UK (eMarketer).

9. Spend on mobile programmatic will reach about $570.48 million in France, as spend continuously grows throughout 2018 (eMarketer).

10. Despite Germany’s reluctance to dive into programmatic marketing, spend has grown significantly over the past two years. Programmatic will be worth almost $1.55 billion by the end of 2018 (eMarketer).

11. 59.2% of the population in Latin America will have internet (eMarketer).

12. Latin American media owners’ net advertising revenues (NAR) are expected to grow by +9.3% in 2018 to US $26.3 billion, following a +7.3% growth in 2017.

13. Latin America will be the fastest-growing region for consumer spending, with compound annual increase of +9.7% into 2019.

14. Brazil’s advertising market is expected to grow $1.56 billion in 2018 and advertising sales in Argentina will grow by +24% to reach 100 billion pesos (~$6.7 billion) (Portada Online).

15. Social media will grow by +30% and digital video by +33% in Latin America next year. Search (+21%) remains the number one media type with 36% of total digital ad sales (eMarketer).

16. Total digital marketing spend for the APAC region in 2018 will be around $61 billion (eMarketer).

17. Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will see digital ad expenditures increase by double digits in 2018 (eMarketer).

18. By 2021, digital ad expenditures in Singapore will total roughly $520 million, with mobile accounting for 81.7% of all digital spend (eMarketer).

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GDPR Readiness Statement

February 14, 2018 — by MediaMath0

MediaMath intends to lead the industry in supporting the opportunities GDPR provides to deliver the consumer-centric solutions our clients have come to expect and value.

MediaMath is committed to protecting consumer privacy and believes that the best foundation for the future of advertising will come from providing consumers with granular transparency and choice. We see the GDPR as an opportunity to improve consumer perception of data-driven marketing.

We are continuing to prepare for GDPR by not only enhancing our products and services, but also through our active participation in defining industry standards for the processing of pseudonymous personal data and the development of open and pooled technical solutions based on such standards. Embracing this common-sense approach now allows us and others that share our vision to be proactive instead of reactive as the regulatory frameworks continue to evolve.


For questions requiring product-specific details, please contact privacy@mediamath.com.

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What Do You Love About Marketing?

February 14, 2018 — by Lauren Fritsky0

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Valentine’s Day. It makes some people go “Aww” and others go “Ugh.” Regardless of how you feel about the holiday, we decided to use it as a force for good by asking some of our MediaMathers what they love about this crazy little thing called marketing—whether it’s the work we do as marketers or the ads we see as consumers—on which we’re hooked.

Our industry is unique in that we get to wake up every day and solve complex problems that will have immediate and long-term impact. We get to design, create, distribute, market and engage with clients who care as deeply as we do about being a part of something bigger than themselves.– Elise James-Decruise, VP, L&D, and Programmatic Education

I love having a part in the creation of a solution which enables personalized messaging to consumers that allows them to discover content and products that they never knew existed or that they didn’t know they needed.– Kyle Turner, Senior Manager, Inventory Quality

I love marketing that is personalized and relevant to me. I want to know when my favorite artist is coming to NY, that my favorite brand is on sale, that a new product was released that I didn’t know I had to have.– Sara Skrmetti, Senior Director, Channel Solutions

I love when a commercial makes me laugh or cry or anything in between.– Avi Spivack, Global VP, Solution Engineering

The industry is diverging from aged classifications such as “consumers,” “targets,” “in-market segments,” to recognize/remember and embrace that we’re people and not pixels or hashed IDs. I love being a part of this shift and helping brands build programs where people are core.– Rebecca Sharpe, Director, Programmatic Strategy & Optimization

Marketing takes many forms. The forms I love are data-driven, smart, predictive and reach many audiences with experience that informs and inspires. As a self-proclaimed Pythagorean, I believe digital engagement in support of business goals or awareness should be rooted in reasonable understanding of interaction between measured audience interests and predicted outcomes. The fun part of marketing is creating the tools that deliver moving experiences to the people who find them moving.– John Slocum, VP, DMP

Make sure to head over to our Twitter feed today, where our CMO/CSO Dan Rosenberg is talking about “Making Marketing People Love” with the #lovemarketing hashtag.