The following interview was conducted by Jair Lopez for the publication Expansión while our CEO Joe Zawadzki was in Mexico for the IAB Conecta event earlier this year. The interview has been translated from Spanish.
Joe Zawadzki left the world of finance to dedicate his life to advertising and what he achieved was to create something that marketing desired: quantitative analysis, a dynamic market based on data and the use of technology.
His arrival to the marketing industry was almost accidental. The Harvard graduate began his career as an investment director in New York, a role that allowed him to develop his expertise in the world of numbers and calculations.
After a decade of representing agencies and brands at Fortune 500 companies, he visualized that advertisers lacked what other sectors, such as finance, were already adopting: technology, data, analysis and best practices for applying all three.
Zawadzki revolutionized the marketing industry: he created the first DSP platform that integrated an algorithm that allows advertisers to buy impressions in the best places, in order to achieve great conversions. In summary, he gave intelligence to the sector by making better decisions. Among his contributions we can find his TerminalOne DSP, similar to Bloomberg, that leverages advanced machine learning to enable marketers to make the best advertising decisions.
In an interview with Expansión, MediaMath’s CEO discusses how technology has changed the industry and his perspective for the next decade. For Zawadzki, technology will be a benefit for brands or agencies who adopt it, and for those who don’t, it will be a threat.
EXPANSION: How has technology changed advertising?
Joe: Software is changing everything. Ten years ago, the marketing industry began to develop an interest in technology. One of the examples is programmatic advertising, that merged two concepts, technology and marketing, and how we automate processes for having millions of impressions in phones, tablets, screens or audio platforms, like Spotify.
Today, the software allows marketers or agencies to press a button and know on which screens they must be appear to reach target consumers.
E: So, what is the future of advertising?
JZ: The future is programmatic advertising, I am sure about that. I believe that, in 10 years, most cases will be based on content and on the relation between a brand and the customer. The technology is there, consumers are demanding it and so are the brands. It will be the industry’s responsibility to shape it.
E: Why is it the future?
JZ: Because it really serves business goals. In the past, what programmatic and technology can do now wasn’t available. You have metrics about how many visitors, clicks, if someone engaged with the advertisement in real-time. The first step is to set goals and, second, to analyze what is relevant and the key metrics necessary to know if the campaign is working or if we should change it in real-time.
E: Today, is it impacting brands and advertisers?
JZ: We have clients that launch products using programmatic advertising only. (In the future) it will be 10 times more than that. Every piece of advertising will be personalized for the user.
E: Is technology a threat for agencies and brands?
JZ: I believe that all traditional media will move into digital. Think about television; people are moving towards on-demand TV. Think of smart phones that didn’t exist 10 years ago; tablets, six years ago; and social media, such as Snapchat, two years ago. Customers are changing their behavior, and advertisers are thinking about how to deal with it. It will be a threat if you don’t respond well to those changes.
E: What other technologies will be relevant in the future?
JZ: Definitely, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, but I think that we are in early stages in relation to marketing. It’s going to take some time for people to feel comfortable with artificial intelligence and automation.
E: How will these tools be used in advertising?
JZ: If you think about it, the objective of advertisers is to create a connection with the consumer. What he/she cares about and how to identify the product that he/she desires. What is he/she watching? Artificial intelligence will solve the difficulties of decision making. It will be the same as when you go to a store where you bought a blue shirt and the salesperson offers you a tie that makes a match. The user will be amazed, and he/she will buy again.
E: What do you think about the use of technology in the advertising market in Mexico?
JZ: That is something that excites me. A lot of things started in the US and were quickly adopted in other regions, like the UK. But Mexico is doing pretty well, as you are seeing this transformative opportunity. In the last few months, we have seen the beginning of the adoption of new practices and the opportunity to be innovative, not just in advertising, but also in general.
E: How relevant is the region and the Mexican market for MediaMath?
JZ: The market is making some great investments focused on what we are doing, and Mexico, definitely, leads the LATAM market, the fastest-growing region. The market is investing, and we see great adoption of the technology and programmatic advertising.