Looking Back at a Game-Changing 2018…and Planning for a Big 2019

December 18, 2018 — by Joe Zawadzki    

As our MediaMath family members gather around dinner tables and living rooms with their natural or chosen relatives this holiday season, they will undoubtedly be asked how it’s going at work. They may yet again have to explain what it is we do in the world of digital advertising and how, yes, we help marketers connect with consumers all over the world across all kinds of digital screens but, no, we are not one of the bad guys who keeps track of your private thoughts or who your friends are or stalks you, Grandma—that’s another company.

To help inform those holiday conversations, we thought we would jot down some quick thoughts about how things are going here at MediaMath. In short, it’s been an amazing year—full of ups and downs and pretty much everything in between. This year, we raised a significant investment of capital to help us position our technology, talent and partnerships well to ride the sometimes choppy waters of digital marketing and to continue growing and competing at the highest levels in 2019.

We’ve made significant strides building towards our product vision across identity, AI and supply over the last 12 months. Those terms are somewhat “inside baseball.” But put simply, it means we are progressing in how we help marketers and their partners recognize consumers on their digital devices, reach them efficiently and appropriately, show them the most relevant messages and enable them to drive real business growth.

Our identity work centers on creating a global, open, enterprise-class, pseudonymous solution that puts the consumer first, backed by support for the IAB’s DigiTrust initiative and partnerships with some of the world’s most trusted and innovative technologies. We are continuing to refactor the supply chain for how an ad gets from concept to screen, with several key initiatives under our Curated Markets product line to foster accountability in media procurement and drive performance across premium supply, including our Guaranteed Viewable Market launch, updates to our native product and a commitment to stop working with SSPs with shady auction practices. We have rolled out further innovations across linear and connected TV, digital out of home and audio to extend the power of programmatic to new and emerging channels. On the AI front, we are optimizing our advanced machine learning algorithm, The Brain, now connected to IBM Marketing’s Watson AI tech to bring more quantitative horsepower into the marketing field, as well as showcasing our platform’s eagerness and readiness to allow other technologies to enrich it and enable clients’ capabilities that have been built on top of it. By partnering with the other platforms in which marketers invest, we can together help our clients reach their customers more effectively in ways those audiences—namely, us as consumers of content and buyers of goods and services both as customers and as clients—appreciate. Look for updates here in the first half of 2019.

It sounds both technical and lofty, and it is, but it is also super exciting and will have real-world applications that will help make marketing that everyone loves.

On the talent front, we elevated some of our best internal rock stars into new leadership slots this year. Take Wil Schobeiri, who is now running a growing and joint tech and product team under one banner. This is a key point of investment and attention because, at our roots, we are a tech company producing tech products. There have been other promotions too, such as Jenna Griffith, now our Chief Operating Officer, Anna Grodecka-Grad, our Chief Services Officer, and Franklin Rios, our Chief Commercial Officer overseeing both our corporate development and client operations teams globally.

We also hired new talent like Jim Sink, our SVP of Global Partnerships tasked with forging stronger relationships with our agency, channel and consultancy partners; Danny Sepulveda, our VP of Government Relations who is helping to shape and communicate MediaMath’s policies and practices concerning privacy and consumer protection; and Jackie Vanover, our VP, DSP, who is driving our platform innovation to help our clients find their audiences at the right time, for the right price, in the right place, with the right message, to delight and drive their business forward. We’re aggressively looking to hire more great talent as we continue to fill and create new roles in our growing endeavor. (Just in case cousin Eileen is interested, send her this link. We hear she rocks.) And to help evangelize and build upon our tech to meet the needs of both brands and agencies, we both revamped our Professional Services team to further optimize clients’ use of our platform with more robust campaign management, education and consulting offerings and developed new and strengthened existing partnerships with major players like IBM, Oracle and Akamai across our product pillars.

What all that upgrading and evolving results in is our continued position as a top choice for clients seeking an independent, transparent, software-based multi-channel platform with a robust product vision and roadmap. Translating for non-ad tech insider Uncle Jim, that means that while many marketers at the world’s biggest brands and agencies are going through big media companies like Facebook and Google to send advertising to people, we have become the preferred choice for those marketers who want to work with a purpose-built technology company like ours that is focused on their needs and that connects marketers and people—and everyone in between—in a way that is open and enterprise-class. That’s why we got highest-in-class grades (the parents should like that) from industry watchers like Gartner and Advertiser Perceptions.

At the same time, we’re also finding ways to make marketing an actual force for good. We are part of the Pledge 1% movement, meaning we’re donating 1% of our time, 1% of our technology and 1% of our profits to support causes that we all care about. (To find out more about the ways in which we’re making this a reality, see our holiday card here). And because we know that those dinner table conversations inevitably turn to concern over how people’s information is being used, stored and distributed, we are working with our trade associations to more clearly understand as an industry how we can evolve to better present our value proposition to consumers and give them greater control over how they are observed in the market. These efforts range from helping construct the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework for the GDPR to working with the FBI to take down a global botnet.

We are riding the crest of a wave of technology that is changing the world of advertising and how people relate to the brands they love. It’s great.

So, after all that, from our family to yours, we hope everyone has a great holiday and prosperous new year. Now, back to dinner.

Joe Zawadzki

After a decade representing buyers at top-tier agencies and Fortune 500 companies, Joe Zawadzki saw the need to reshape the online marketing landscape by integrating technology, data, analytics, and marketing best practices into a single media platform. He founded MediaMath in 2007, launching a technological revolution with the first demand side platform (DSP) and today, the MediaMath Marketing Operating System, TerminalOne, powers the marketing practice of more than 3,500 brands. Joe holds several patents in the area of online methods for dynamic segmentation and content presentation. He is a graduate of Harvard University and was a Teaching Fellow in cosmology, set theory and the history of science. He lives in New York City with his wife, Daria, and their children Dune and Jack, born on the summer and winter solstices respectively.