Why We Have Invested in Solution Engineering as a Key Talent Ingredient

February 20, 2019 — by MediaMath    

We all seek meaning in our work, in our jobs, where we spend many hours each week. And even in the world of ad tech, an industry in which one could argue we’re not saving lives (but actually, we kind of are), we need work that inspires us and people who encourage us.

I’m not one to brag, but because I have the great fortune of leading the Global Solution Engineering team here at MediaMath, finding my sources of fulfillment is quite simple. I can break it down to two: First, bringing strategy, technical direction and delight to every client experience. And second, managing, coaching and mentoring our team of global SEs, knowing each team member is on his or her own journey to deliver as much value and client delight as possible. It’s a virtuous cycle!

But it wasn’t always so easy.

Let me take you back…way back

When we began to invest more heavily in the SE function more than three years ago, we didn’t quite know how to navigate the jungle of ad tech. (Because, hey, this stuff is hard!) We started in the more obvious place of helping to engage MediaMath prospects and convert them into our newest customers, working closely alongside our sales teams, and maintaining the benefit of being NOT Sales (even though back then we were called “Sales Engineering”). We determined that evolving beyond the “sales” moniker was important—words do matter, after all. So, we changed our team name to “Solution Engineering” in order to convey to the universe of current and aspirational client brands and agencies that we were there—in the room, on the Zoom—to help them SOLUTION their way to an understanding of how to fit the marketing stack pieces.

What we’ve seen in the last 40 months or so (the equivalent of 40 years in ad-tech terms) is a combination of market forces that has forced us to continuously adapt. We’ve had to stay nimble in the face of our customers’ needs and requirements—especially when our customers may not know exactly what they want to do and where they want to go. When we started down our new SE path, we observed many brands and agencies thinking about and executing their marketing in silos, on a campaign-by-campaign basis and oftentimes with a narrow mindset around how their investment into different paid/owned channels and technologies could actually operate together more seamlessly. It sometimes felt like they didn’t quite recognize the true possibilities of programmatic (now I sound like one of those ad-tech preachers…). But of course, it was no one’s fault—ad tech has grown up fast, kind of like Tom Hanks in “Big.”

And the future’s so bright…

Fast forward to 2019, and we are in a very different place. Perhaps not surprisingly, the industry consolidation continues to unfold. Our client base, and the brands and agencies with whom we engage, have matured. They are savvier, more data-centric and programmatically capable. Very often they know what they want, be it an integrated marketing stack, a customized attribution methodology or a unique way to take their customer/loyalty scores to influence the intelligent media bidding/buying they are investing in to grow their business.

And this is the STUFF.

These once-complex challenges, wrapped in both technical and business hurdles, are what makes coming to work every day fascinating. And I hope/think my team is reading this, smiling and nodding, because we live for helping our clients solve their “programmatic puzzles,” for shaping solutions that both help our customers feel heard and validate that we’ve built the right blueprint—before we go out and build the house together.

The ninja-like quality of Solution Engineering also means that success demands working across nearly all our internal teams to deliver on our commitments to clients. It begins with Sales, then Account, Client Services and PSO, our Analytics crew, across our Product organization and Support. And then we must find the right methods to engage in an ongoing way to ensure that the original blueprint is something that’s well understood by all teams so the house doesn’t end up without a roof (or better, without plumbing…see what I did there?). This need for inter-organizational teamwork is yet another reason why SE is both so rewarding and challenging.

And that’s the key to continued success as a partner to our clients, as a company and for our team. Creative, passionate team members, working together, to help our clients think in new ways and solve their business challenges while navigating the inevitable obstacles and opportunities—sometimes one in the same—that pop up. For us in Solution Engineering, we remain pumped to continue this journey. Because it will mean more frequent and ever-more-complex customer challenges to solve for, bringing our drive and commitment to each one.