When discussing the advances of programmatic media buying outside the US, the stock answer the past few years has been, "It's catching up."
But at some point in 2013, the investment that marketers, agencies and ad-tech companies have made in Europe and Asia began to appear more concrete and significant.
Some companies, like New York-based demand-side platform MediaMath, have been laying the groundwork in other parts of the world for at least three years. Now that the business is starting to mature – and MediaMath wants to be viewed as more of a managed services/enterprise provider – co-founder Erich Wasserman is expanding his responsibilities as GM for the EMEA/APAC regions, which the company says accounts for more than half its total billings, to become the company's first global CRO.
AdExchanger: Why take on the CRO role now? What happens to the GM of EMEA/APAC post?
ERICH WASSERMAN: This is a new and exciting position at MediaMath that is focused exclusively on optimizing the experience that MediaMath prospects and clients have with our ever-expanding and talented global team and, in turn, our spectacular product suite. MediaMath has been fortunate to experience rather meteoric growth – more than 100% per year – since we started the business in 2007, and much of that growth has come from our relationships with global partners who are themselves coordinated in their strategy and direction. This requires commensurate structures at MediaMath to enable the best possible assembly of infrastructure and people resources globally.
Where do you see most of the growth for MediaMath's services occurring?
For example, in London, the headquarters for EMEA, we have doubled our stellar team over the past 12 months to 42, representing a major investment in our market presence and client success. That team will be led by a managing director, soon to be announced. And we’ll shortly be announcing key hires in APAC, expanding our teams in Japan, Australia and Singapore, capitalizing on growth in those markets.
For the past few years, you've managed the EMEA and APAC. Does taking on the global CRO role suggest that MediaMath's growth is mostly dependent upon those areas that have been part of your portfolio? What percentage of revenues comes from the US? What percentage comes from outside the US? How do you expect that to shift over the next year or so?
From MediaMath’s inception in 2007, my role has been focused on commercial aspects of the business. I have fond memories of working with teams that would, in hindsight, be the first trading desks in the world.
Three years ago, we made the strategic decision to expand to markets outside of the US, and our global success since has come from all geographies. From a standing start then, our business in Europe and APAC now represents almost half of our worldwide platform billings. MediaMath’s leadership keenly understands that the needs of global marketers require investment in infrastructure and expertise to continue to scale our global proposition.
How do you see the role of global CRO? Are there any plans for having regional CROs, such as in North America, for example?
One globe; one global CRO, with leadership and business owners regionally to support our clients’ commercial and product needs.
A lot of ad-tech companies are seeing more growth in SaaS and managed services. How do you see that business model evolving at MediaMath vs. the more typical volume/impression-based business that have characterized ad tech?
MediaMath is dedicated to building the operating system on which marketers can rely to extract the best possible ROI from media investments. The ways in which ROI accrues to those marketers is expanding in exciting ways, and that requires focus on continued and rapid development of our platform.
On one end of the adoption spectrum are marketers who seek a slick user interface with best-in-class data, media and measurement functionalities that enable cross-channel media programs at scale; on the other end, there are marketers who build bespoke environments to spec on behalf of specific business objectives and commercial models. In the middle, there are a range of applications, partner integrations, data streams and optimization strategies employed by constituents across the ecosystem. From a services perspective, MediaMath is focused on technology adoption and enablement.
What are your immediate and long-term goals in this new position?
My immediate and long-term goals are aligned – they center on ensuring that our clients continue to receive the best possible experience and success with MediaMath. I’m so proud of how we have grown and both deeply admire as well as absolutely adore my team. MediaMath, its clients and its partners will continue to grow together in new and exciting ways.