Q&A: Elise James-DeCruise — Brands Hold Great Responsibility to Craft Culturally Appropriate Messages

September 18, 2019 — by MediaMath0


Originally posted on Branding in Asia.

As MediaMath’s Head of Multicultural Marketing and Inclusion, Elise James-Decruise is tasked with instilling “a strong sense of inclusivity and cultural understanding across its services and offerings,” along with creating greater diversity across the AdTech industry as a whole.

That’s a sizable task as well as a profoundly important path to be on, and one that James-Decruise feels she was destined to take since childhood.

“Raised by two parents who were educators and cared deeply about creating equal opportunities and access for all students, it was only a matter of time that I would naturally gravitate toward a profession in education and D&I,” she told us during a recent conversation from her office in New York.

Now coming up on eight years since joining MediaMath, James-Decruise previously founded and led the company’s global educational arm New Marketing Institute, which includes internal and external training initiatives, certification, enterprise education, and global program development.

Prior to joining MediaMath, after working in the financial sector as a global trainer at Thomson Financial, she held learning & development positions at KMPG and She also worked at Right Media – which was acquired by Yahoo in 2007 for a reported $680 million.

We recently caught up with Elise James-Decruise to learn more about her mission at MediaMath and in the industry, along with her thoughts on how the AdTech world is doing in its inclusivity quest, organizations that she thinks stand out in their efforts, “spreading the digital dividends of programmatic,” and more.

To read the rest of the post please click here.


Investing in Talent Behind the Tech: A Q&A with our New SVP of Professional Services, TJ Ceballos

September 13, 2019 — by Cameron Williams0


TJ Ceballos is a 15-year media experienced titan.

Back in May, we had the pleasure of welcoming TJ Ceballos to the Professional Services team as Senior Vice President, Strategy and Operations. In this role, TJ is helping the company with scaling Professional Services teams, focusing on seamless customer engagements and deepening the commitment to ensure customers get the most out of their investment in partnership with MediaMath.

“Our team is growing and scaling to meet the needs of our clients, who increasingly look to consultative partners to help them navigate the world of programmatic. As the industry is progressing and evolving and as our technology is progressing and evolving, so does the expectation of our clients and partners to have a trusted advisor,” said Anna Grodecka-Grad, Chief Services Officer, MediaMath. “Our continued and accelerated growth requires expertise that will support our efforts on a global scale, and the depth of TJ’s experience is a perfect fit.”

I caught up with TJ to discuss his background, goals for the ProServ Team, as well as how we can continually evolve our marketing programs and strategy to reach and exceed business objectives.

What were you doing before this?

Before joining MediaMath this past May, I was GM of Enterprise Business Development at The Trade Desk. Prior to that, I worked as VP of Professional Services at Operative and VP of Solution Management at Affinity Express.

What made you decide to join MediaMath?

I was so excited about the chance to join MM’s award-winning Professional Services organization. Every organization is a reflection of its leader and this one is no exception. Anna’s commitment to the ongoing optimization of the customer lifecycle was a compelling opportunity. Her vision for the role and the potential impact to the customer experience were too amazing to pass up.

What are your short-term goals for the role?

My short-term goal is to focus on leveraging my experience in building and scaling Professional Services organizations to support the amazing leadership in place. Improve our customer engagement model and drive deeper on our commitment to ensure our customers get the most out of their investment in a partnership with MM.

What value is your remittance adding to MediaMath? To the industry?

A seasoned executive who measures his personal value on a commitment to his customers success by establishing long-lasting relationships.

How do you intend to support MediaMath’s mission to reimagine a modernized supply chain that is transparent and accountable?

I will bring a wealth of relationships and experience in programmatic industry. I will help to shape and architect the services and customer engagements required to deliver this next generation of supply ecosystem.

How do you view the intersection of talent and tech in the industry?

Success in programmatic is predicated on finding the right balance of man and machine. The ideal scenario is to map your entire offering and map the responsibilities of both to drive successful outcomes for your customers.


Executive shout out – Demands for female empowerment | DMEXCO 2019

September 12, 2019 — by MediaMath0


Video from DMEXCO 2019 featuring our Chief Services Officer, Anna Grodecka-Grad, as well as Susanne Aigner-Drews (Country Manager Discovery Communications), Claudia Frese (CEO, Marion Mestrom (CHRO Brenntag), Vuyiswa M’Cwabeni (SVP & Strategy Executive SAP SE), and Frederike Probert (Moderator).

“What challenges do women face in business life? What are the framework conditions for empowering women? Which impact does society have on these topics? In this session, successful female managers explain their thoughts on how the business role of women can be promoted and thrivingly changed through society defaults.” Video below:


Quantum leap — why this theoretical physicist now works in martech

August 23, 2019 — by MediaMath0


This blog post was originally published on

Ever thought of making a career change? Anna Grodecka-Grad did — from a tenured position in quantum physics to scalable programmatic advertising. Now, she holds a suite of skills of which other executives could only dream.

This article originally appeared in The Nurture Issue.

There is a very specific kind of person in this world, and they are few and far between. The kind who appear as though everything comes to them without effort, like life has predetermined a winning path for them. Anna Grodecka-Grad is one such person. Except she’s not. What you don’t see when Grodecka-Grad makes her career — spanning science, technology, mathematics, programmatic and executive relations — look easy is a long-crafted and ferocious appetite for knowledge, an impregnable drive for improvement and the tenacity and grit required to get there.

In her past life, Grodecka-Grad spent her time publishing papers titled ‘Indirect spin dephasing via charge-state decoherence in optical control schemes in quantum dots’ and ‘Influence of acoustic phonons on the optical control of quantum dots driven by adiabatic rapid passage’. With a PhD in theoretical quantum physics and close to a decade studying and teaching in tertiary academia, she decided it was time for a seachange.

In 2013, Grodecka-Grad began her new professional journey with martech, programmatic and data management company MediaMath. Today she is responsible for clients’ activation onboarding, ongoing services, consulting and support, custom solutions and integration as chief services officer.

Marketing caught up with Grodecka-Grad to discuss her views on the future of work in the marketing technology and programmatic landscape, the changing role of data within complex organisations and how she translates the skills brought from theoretical physics to our industry.

To read the interview please click here.


I’ve Been to DMEXCO 17 Times—This Year, We’re Fixing the Media Supply Chain

August 19, 2019 — by Jens Bargmann0


In 2002, DMEXCO was called OMD (Online Marketing Düsseldorf) and took place at the Rheinterrassen in Düsseldorf instead of Cologne. It consisted of two smallish halls which you could cross from one end to the other within five minutes. There were 36 exhibitors and 1,700 visitors—our current MediaMath booth would have been the biggest of the show by far. On Day 2, nobody showed up before noon because everyone was out till 5am in the morning partying.

Back then, most of the exhibitors were web portals like, and, indicative of what the media supply chain looked like. There were also the main German publishing houses like Springer and Gruner + Jahr which were starting to participate online. The supply chain was much smaller and mainly limited to these players. Ads were bought on an IO basis, via fax.

DMEXCO has come a long way in large part because the adtech landscape has exploded. Now, every type of company under the LUMAscape is represented. In 2015, DMEXCO became the global digital marketing show nobody in the industry wants to miss, with 881 exhibitors and 43,000 visitors. And yet, all this growth later, American and British visitors still cannot cope with the unwieldy name DMEXCO for Digital Marketing EXpo COlogne and instead continue to refer to it as “DEMEXICO” although it has nothing to do with the beautiful country south of the US…

But back to the future.

When I started my career in product management at Lycos Europe in 1999, nobody had any clue what they were doing in digital marketing. It has now disrupted the way in which brands engage with consumers both online and off. However, it’s rapid growth has also meant that we built the Internet without much standardization and purpose. This has led to a host of untended consequences such as fraud and intermediaries that don’t add value. And everyone has been impacted—not just brands, but agencies, publishers and consumers, too. It’s gone on for far too long, and now brands are losing money as consumers tune out and turn off from advertising altogether.

That’s all changing. During this year’s Cannes, MediaMath and partners including Rubicon announced a collective initiative to create a cleaner, safer media supply chain in which advertisers will be able to see the ROI across all of their supply efforts, more accurately plan and forecast and only work with partners who have their best interests in mind. And we’ve been hard at work all summer putting product, process and partnerships against this big effort.

We are excited to share more about the work we’ve been doing with others in the industry at this year’s DMEXCO. And what better company in which to do it than brands like Deutsche Telekom, Mondelez, Visa, Henkel, Samsung and IBM.

A lot has changed in 17 years. Come DMEXCO 2020, I look forward to discussing with attendees how this new, cleaner supply chain work has improved business results for brands and publishers and given consumers incredible experiences.


Six Tips to Build a Culture of Learning

August 13, 2019 — by Elise James-Decruise0


This blog post is a part of IAB’s The Advantage: Knowledge for an Ever-Changing Industry series.

I joined MediaMath in 2012 and shortly after, helped launch the New Marketing Institute. The NMI serves as the educational arm of our company, providing training and certification for clients, employees and university students who are looking to transition into the ad tech world. I deeply and passionately believe in the power of learning and development to help people fulfill their potential and in turn, drive their firms and teams forward.

The NMI was created to tackle the education and talent gaps in our company. The purpose of education and training is to bridge the distance between people’s talent and what they need to know to exercise that talent. Since launch, we’ve trained over 20,000 people globally and have been recognized for our efforts by many leading educational groups and industry associations, including IAB.

I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made, and I’m encouraged by the impact we’ve had inside and outside our industry. I receive emails regularly from people wanting to know how to start an educational practice centered around digital marketing and technology at their own enterprise. I give everyone the same advice – creating a digital marketing education hub begins with acknowledging that every individual has room for improvement.

Whether you are a seasoned industry professional or new to the industry, we can all agree that the need to continue learning never stops. With technology — and ad tech specifically — we’re constantly realizing what we still don’t know. We may be experts in specific practices, but we can’t stay experts without training and education.

If you are tasked with bringing Learning & Development (L&D) to the forefront of your company, or you are looking to learn more about what it is like to do so, here are six tips based on my experience:

1. Create a Safe Space

You’ll be surprised what people reveal when you create a space to have honest conversations about their gaps in understanding. Everyone, even the CEO, knows they have blind spots in their knowledge. They all understand that uncomfortable feeling of having those blind spots exposed. If you can create an environment of safety and comfort, you will help more people embrace the function of education.

2. Be Bold and Courageous

This can happen in many different ways, like initiating a conversation about a best practice, a technology, or an unconventional way of thinking. It’s about having the courage to stand up and put ideas out there. Constructing new solutions to both old and new challenges is one of the really cool things about our industry, but having the training to underpin that construction is key to success. Complex subjects like algorithms and artificial intelligence may intimidate some people, but they are not intimidated by education. Professional development is seen as a way to level set knowledge and an investment in themselves.

To read the rest of the post please click here.


Helping Grow More Women Leaders in Tech

July 17, 2019 — by MediaMath0


In Singapore, women hold only 21% of senior management roles and 8% of corporate board membership, as reported by Diversity Task Force in Singapore. And the consequences are dire:

  1. Companies are losing out. We’re all individuals and can each bring different talents, skills, and experiences to the table. Having diverse senior management means more innovation and stronger capabilities in designing solutions for the company.
  2. There are not enough role models and mentors for future leaders. If there are more women in leadership roles, other women can also see themselves in those positions and would also be able to build bigger networks.
  3. The gender pay gap will not be addressed. At the rate we are going, it will take 217 years to end gender-based disparities in pay and employment opportunities. This is highlighted each year by Equal Pay Day, a symbolic day that symbolises how far into the year women must work in order to earn what men earned the previous year. This year in the US Equal Pay Day fell on April 2nd.

Last quarter, we attended Dream Collective’s Emerging Leaders Program. The event provided awareness, tools, and techniques for improving leadership skills.

Here are some of our key learnings from the workshop:

  1. Career success is 60% exposure and only 10% performance. Performance and a great work ethic only count for 10% of whether or not we will succeed in our careers, while a whopping 60% is attributed to the exposure that we get (and 30% to image). While a solid performance foundation is necessary, focusing on ensuring that we are getting internal and external exposure is also necessary to drive success.

Numerous studies such as this 2015 research from the University of Kent in the UK have shown that women are compensated on their track record (performance), while men are compensated on their potential. According to this McKinsey report, this difference in how men and women are evaluated can be blamed on embedded institutional mindsets. These structural barriers—or, put plainly, discrimination—when it comes to hiring and promoting makes it clear that men and women are judged by different criteria and rewarded differently for the same accomplishments.

  1. EQ trumps IQ. A common trait across successful leaders is understanding what motivates others and relating to them in a positive manner. Qualities such as empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation are all factors that affect how successful people are likely to be in their careers.

The good news is that we can improve our EQ. One example of a method to engage self-regulation that we learned at the Emerging Leaders Program is the “Respond, Don’t React” method. While a reaction is instant, a response is based on information from both the conscious and unconscious minds, and will typically yield a better outcome than a snap reaction. Responding with a certain tone, words, body language, and sentence structuring can really make a positive difference.

  1. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. According to the “Women in the Workplace 2018” study by McKinsey and, women are negotiating salaries and asking for promotions at the same rate as men. The problem is they are less likely to be successful. We learned some solid steps for negotiation, the most notable being that one should always have a Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) in mind. Essentially, have a second-best outcome at hand before you enter any negotiation.
  2. Personal branding is key! Everyone has a personal brand, whether we make an effort to work on it or not. Maximizing aspects of our personality and presenting ourselves in the best possible way is very important to succeed, both within our external and internal network. Ensuring we have a good social media presence and networking are two efforts that can be very effective. Using social media tools enables us to increase our professional visibility on those platforms. Networking by building relationships and staying connected to other leaders is extremely important as there is so much to learn and share.

It will take a lot of work to bring these ideas into practice, but it must be done if we want significant progress—not just for our own careers, but to create more and better opportunities for women in the global workforce.

Marta Barrera is a Senior Sales Manager at MediaMath. She currently manages a portfolio of blue chip clients and key agency partnerships across South East Asia. During her free time, you will find her scuba diving around Asia or simply enjoying a glass of wine with friends.


Shifali Ranawaka is an Engagement Director with eight years of experience in programmatic. She works in the Singapore office at MediaMath across a range of agency and direct clients. Shifali enjoys cooking, painting and indulging in terrible reality TV.



From Goal-Based Outcomes to Goal-Based Philanthropy

June 27, 2019 — by Kiley Robbins0


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. At the core are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address high-priority global issues. These are a call to action by all countries in a global partnership.

The goals aren’t just a framework for governments, but for companies and people to collectively address the world’s biggest challenges. We talk a lot about how we help clients achieve “goal-based” outcomes through our technology. But we know we can also use our platform, our time and our financial resources to help meet these more far-reaching global challenges.

Through our workplace giving and volunteering programs, MediaMath supports organizations working toward these goals, giving our employees a chance to step back from the daily grind and realize how each one of us can, and should, play a part in creating change. Our belief that every business should be a force for good is part of our every day at MediaMath, especially during Impact Week, the week in which we come together across all departments and offices to focus on doing good. This year was our third annual Impact Week, June 3 to 7. We promised to Do Good, Better—more donations, more volunteer events, more impact—and that we did!


Our employees spent a collective 801 hours giving back to organizations in their local communities. We participated in 35 volunteer events across 15 offices, a 20% increase from 2018. Each event focused on one of the 17 SDGs ranging from Zero Hunger to Climate Action.

Knowing it takes partnerships to drive significant impact, we called on our friends at Rubicon Project to join us in our volunteering efforts. We already partner with Rubicon in making marketing a force for good and to improve the effectiveness of the media supply chain. This Impact Week, we brought our employees together to serve meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers through Citymeals on Wheels.

In addition to addressing hunger, we tackled the education gap in communities in which we work. In Sao Paulo, our employees discussed career opportunities with teenagers from low-income communities. In New York, we partnered with The Opportunity Network to bring underserved high school students to MediaMath to learn about the ad tech space and participate in a resume workshop.

We also focused on our planet with a beach cleanup in Brighton Beach, a park cleanup in North Carolina and tree planting across NYC.


In addition to volunteering, we moved approximately $30,000 to various charities addressing a range of the 17 SDGs. With our donations, we were able to drive meaningful, measurable impact including:

  • Protecting 345 people from malaria via The Against Malaria Foundation
  • Restoring eyesight for 13 people with curable blindness who cannot afford surgery via Seva
  • Providing 9 years of basic income to a recipient in GiveDirectly’s landmark Universal Basic Income initiative
  • Giving 13 families six farming tools & training via One Acre Fund
  • Providing 2,039 people with food-based fortification for one year via Project Healthy Children
  • Donating clothing to homeless shelters and hosting several blood drives

Our tagline is “Strength in Numbers,” and we believe the collective power of our employees and partners helps us make a difference in a quantifiable way. Thank you to our colleagues for bringing their constant passion and hard work to the various causes we supported this year.


From Hackathon to Home: Saving Missing Children with Advertising Technology

May 17, 2019 — by Charlie Simon0


MediaMath’s promise to be a force for good permeates its business and employee culture, so much so that “Do good, better” is a formalized company value. That value, and our commitment to it, is demonstrably more than words.

In 2016, MediaMath founded, a charitable arm dedicated to high-impact philanthropy. The following year, we doubled down by joining Pledge 1%, committing 1% of our time, technology and company equity to social good. We then decided to make “Social Impact” one of the five major categories in our 2017 and 2018 hackathons. A Social Impact entry won the overall vote in the 2017 hackathon. Additionally, in last year’s hackathon, nearly a fifth of all entries were submitted under Social Impact, and the winner in that category also went on to win the People’s Choice Award (as voted by MediaMath employees).

Today, MediaMath and are excited to announce that the winning project in our 2018 Winter Hackathon—a proposal to integrate MediaMath with the Federation for Internet Alerts (FIA) in order to save missing children—is live in production.

We put forward an idea that did not end with a trophy but with a full-blown integration leveraging the power of MediaMath’s TerminalOne (T1) advertising platform to serve real-time, geolocated AMBER Alerts. These alert creatives replace advertisements on websites and feature far richer information than can be conveyed via the push messages on cell phones to which people are more accustomed. Specifically, the creatives can include photographs of missing children and their likely abductors, vehicles and license plates and other critical visual and textual information necessary to identifying and saving children as quickly as possible.

This integration was no small feat and could not have been accomplished without the invaluable support of Joe Zawadzki, MediaMath CEO, Jenna Griffith, COO, my hackathon teammates Karl Weiss, Director, Programmatic Strategy & Optimization, and Andrew Bannon, Associate, Site Reliability Engineer, and the extra hours put in by numerous other MediaMathers like Fotios ‘Fod’ Tzellos, Software Engineer, who told the MediaMath “All Hands” Slack channel that he was, “Super stoked to see this ticking. Proud to help make it a reality!” I’m stoked, too, about this passion project becoming a reality and quite literally helping to save children (and deter would-be abductors) with targeted advertising technology.

Of the integration, Jason Bier, President of the Federation for Internet Alerts, said, “MediaMath’s distribution of AMBER Alerts represents additional capacity to reach more Internet and mobile app users…I would like to thank MediaMath for joining FIA to distribute relevant, life-critical alerts about missing and abducted children and bring them home safely.”

Michael Quinn, Director of, echoed this sentiment, saying, “This grassroots project is a fantastic example of how we can use marketing for good using our talent and technology. Congratulations and thank you to the team.”

With the project now under the stewardship of, MediaMath looks forward to working with partners and clients to maximize reach and funding, saving children and reducing the nearly 200 AMBER Alerts issued in the United States every year. We also look forward to working with the FIA and fellow participants to expand missing child alerts to 29 more countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions in the months to come.


Highlights from the 2019 APAC Leadership Forum

May 15, 2019 — by Priya Darshani0


Following the success of our summits in NA and EMEA earlier this year, we launched our first MediaMath Leadership Forum in APAC this past March 27-29th. We gathered at the stunning Ritz Carlton resort at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia with a stellar attendance of key leaders from partners, agencies and brands across Australia, Singapore, Korea, and the US.

The objective was to kick off an “unconference” that brings together senior thought leaders from across APAC in a relaxed setting to drive interactive learning about cross-regional opportunities and share perspectives around how we can collectively work towards transforming the marketing ecosystem for good, setting a forward-looking tone for 2019 and beyond.

Key topics discussed during the forum included future market trends and our product vision to support these needs, the future of people in programmatic, best practices around building a successful programmatic and data strategy and deep-dive roundtable sessions on identity, supply and AI moderated by MediaMath subject experts.

Knowing who your consumers are

The main focus areas essential for a thriving ad tech ecosystem are identity, supply chain management, the application of AI and ML and progressing the dream of true omnichannel outcomes and workflow. As an industry, we can identify devices as never before, while the number and types of devices are increasing at a record pace. Stable, persistent device IDs are core to achieving an accurate, anonymous digital representation of consumers. There are many challenges in bringing this to life, and some solutions exist, but it’s still a very siloed approach.

Creating a quality supply chain

Several factors have contributed to the complexity of the programmatic supply chain as the marketplace has matured. In recent years, transparency has been one major theme for the industry. Clients’ needs and sophistication may vary; some of them may want to look under the hood to see how the supply chain works while others are less concerned about it. A must-have for clients is super clean, performant supply for the best value, something we are working on at the behest of some of the biggest industry names like P&G. There is a need to understand that just because the walled-garden platforms are some of the most economical doesn’t mean the quality is the best. There is a continual challenge to balance price and quality, and often performance-based KPIs tend to push out discussions around either CPM or supply. We need to focus on business outcomes driving the conversation, combined with a transparent supply chain to drive better performance.

A is for AI, not automation

Many marketers still equate programmatic with automation, but automation alone does not guarantee the best business outcomes. In the data-rich world of modern marketing, optimal results require intelligent automation through machine learning (ML).  Fraud, privacy and transparency were all significant concerns/challenges raised at our summit. Whether or not AI and ML can help with better filters to help overcome this challenge is a question that remains unanswered.

And P is for people

While we have already addressed the hype in recent years around the need for AI in performing high-value advertising tasks, the next step is to be adaptable enough to apply it to almost any advertising campaign promptly. AI and automation will also help with talent management. With the rapid growth of the industry, we have really and truly stressed the talent pool. Finding the talent that has programmatic experience and retaining them is a challenge. AI and automation will relieve some of this pressure as the industry continues to grow. It will allow the talent pool in aggregate to mature and strengthen by taking care of the operational tasks, and this benefits all of us. The future of people in advertising means working on more strategic functions vs. repetitive jobs.

There is not and will not be one ideal digital marketing talent ecosystem. It will depend on the brand, the business objectives, the size and the geographical presence. It can be any combination of in-house, agency or consultancy if we ensure alignment on strategy, incentives, goals, communication channels, knowledge management and enablement and the best solution to maximise ROI with a level of effort that is optimal across those involved.

We are excited to help our clients and their partners tackle these opportunities in the year ahead, working to benefit marketers, agencies, publishers and consumers with a better advertising ecosystem that creates wonderful experiences

Click here to watch the recap video from the summit.