Five Minutes With: Joanna O’Connell, CMO of MediaMath

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for next 12-24 months? 

To tell the MediaMath story in a clearer, more resonant, more client-focused way. We’re doing great, industry-disruptive things here amidst what we believe are massive changes in the marketing ecosystem. But we don’t always talk about ourselves in language that has meaning for marketers. The entire industry struggles with that. I think because of the work we’re doing with clients and partners and the products we’re launching that we feel will be truly game-changing, we’re at a place to shift that narrative. Our global marketing team can champion this story-telling both inside and outside the organization.

We also want to help marketers embrace programmatic marketing, which is an evolution of programmatic advertising. Programmatic marketing embodies a more cohesive approach to audience management and the ability to execute at scale, in an omni-channel fashion, across both paid and owned media. And we will continue to champion goal-based marketing – that is, optimizing to true business outcomes versus poor proxy metrics – by helping marketers get attribution and measurement right.

What keeps your clients up at night? 

How they’re going to stay relevant and keep their customers happy long-term. I think smart marketers are beginning to think beyond the immediate term and realize they need strategies for long-term customer engagement. Figuring out how to do this in a fractured buying landscape that encompasses a wide range of channels and devices in addition to online vs. in-store is tough but vital.

What’s the hardest thing to educate a client about?

That short-term gains don’t always result in the ultimate marketing and, more importantly, business goals they want to achieve. Encouraging clients to think about smart goals that ladder up to true business outcomes is a constant. Similarly, pushing them to understand that programmatic is a way of marketing; it’s not a line item on a media plan. Helping them see their marketing through a lens of data-driven, real-time, addressable execution at scale, powered by machine learning and continuously optimized is on ongoing educational process.

What are some unmet needs in the marketing technology landscape?

A better focus on win-win relationships as opposed to brand vs. agency vs. tech provider vs. publisher vs. consumer. Ad blocking is a great example. The answer isn’t to ad block or to not ad block, nor is it to simply block the ad blocker. It’s to react to the proliferation of this software by making better, more meaningful, ads—more relevant, seamless, compelling content—while letting consumers “vote down” the ones that suck. That way good advertisers are rewarded, publishers keep this crucial income stream open, consumers are delighted and tech providers continue to power the whole ecosystem.

What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?

Instagram. Facebook announced in January that 98 out of its 100 top advertisers advertised on Instagram in the final quarter of 2015. Instagram will continue to drive Facebook’s mobile business, and we expect more of our clients to embrace it for its audience reach and high levels of engagement. Advertisers who use Instagram benefit from the same targeting as Facebook Marketplace such as custom audiences, lookalikes and geos. We see Instagram as being instrumental in driving the creation of better advertising, because Instagram audiences demand content of amazing quality.

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