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MarTech Edge Interview with Jess Reilly,  Sr. VP of Marketing, Screenverse

MarTech Edge Interview with Jess Reilly, Sr. VP of Marketing, Screenverse

advertising 21 Sep 2023

Welcome, Jess! What inspired you to take up the marketing career path, and what challenges from your initial years carved you to become the Sr. VP of Marketing at Screenverse?

My journey into the world of marketing has been a quest to harmonize my creative and analytical instincts. It began in college when I studied advertising, a decision that truly opened my eyes to the possibilities within the industry. During the early 2010s, technology was revolutionizing marketing, and the explosive growth of social media and web/app development presented an exciting opportunity to learn and grow. I found the idea of taking part in this transformation of the advertising industry through the introduction of creative new ad units fascinating.

The dynamic agency sector of the marketing industry shaped my early career. Over the years, I delved into various specialties such as SEO, media buying, content development, data science, new business development, and account management. Working with diverse businesses, from small to Fortune 500 companies, I found a common desire among stakeholders: the ability to forecast revenue growth through data.

I discovered that the key to this success lay in conducting meticulous market research and analyzing first-party data to gain a deep understanding of customers and identify the most cost-effective methods for acquisition and retention. This realization coincided with another technological boom – the rise of programmatic advertising.

I took the lead in introducing programmatic buying to several agencies where I held leadership roles, eventually launching my own. The ability to purchase advertising inventory in real-time, precisely targeting the desired audience, was a game-changer for my clients. Programmatic advertising rapidly evolved beyond digital display inventory, encompassing native ads, digital audio, connected TV, and more.

Running omnichannel digital campaigns through a single DSP with full control and transparent data visibility was transformative. However, I recognized the need to expand our capabilities beyond traditional digital and mobile inventory. That’s when I discovered Screenverse.

Screenverse’s digital out-of-home ad network empowered media buyers to connect with their target consumers in the physical world, adding a new dimension to the success of omnichannel campaigns. Just as I had witnessed the boom in the early 2010s and the growth of programmatic advertising, I knew I wanted to be at the forefront of the programmatic digital out-of-home revolution.

So, my inspiration to pursue a marketing career arose from the desire to blend creativity and analytics, and my journey from the agency sector to becoming the Sr. VP of Marketing at Screenverse has been shaped by a relentless pursuit of innovative solutions in an ever-evolving industry.

What most significant marketing functions are you responsible for at Screenverse, and how unconventionally do you approach each of these to accomplish the forecasted results? 

The challenge and inspiration behind our mission at Screenverse lie in our endeavor to revolutionize an industry with deep historical roots. Out-of-home advertising, literally dating back to ancient civilizations, saw its earliest recorded billboard leases in 1867, and digital billboards made their debut in 2005. While the rest of the advertising industry has rapidly evolved, out-of-home advertising largely remains rooted in antiquated direct buying methods.

Our journey is all about disrupting this multi-billion-dollar industry by harnessing the power of programmatic advertising. We take digital screens across the nation and seamlessly integrate them into the programmatic advertising ecosystem. This approach empowers screen owners to access a broader audience of media buyers. It also enables media buyers to execute real-time, large-scale campaigns on inventory that would have been impossible to purchase in one fell swoop otherwise.

In the realm of programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH), we’re automating the sale and delivery of ad content, much like the online advertising landscape. Buyers set specific conditions for media purchases, and when those conditions align, ads are automatically bought.

As the Senior VP of Marketing at Screenverse, my team and I are dedicated to elevating the Screenverse brand’s visibility among media buyers and screen owners nationwide. Our mission revolves around offering state-of-the-art technology and world-class service, extending the potential of digital and video advertising to countless screens in the physical world.

Our marketing mission is to educate the industry about the advantages of programmatic DOOH buying. Integrating DOOH into any media mix provides media buyers with a fraud-resistant, cookie-less, and unblockable environment that amplifies the reach of other media channels. Concerning marketing functions, my team and I concentrate on crafting marketing assets and strategies to connect with a diverse audience of media buyers, including OOH specialists, marketing strategists, omnichannel media buyers, programmatic traders, and more.

We collaborate closely with our buyers, tailoring media plans to align with their target audiences. We’re proud to offer flexible terms, with no minimum annual guaranteed contracts or spending requirements, and we prioritize revenue opportunity and quality. This is how we are able to stand out as pioneers in delivering innovative, immersive, and interactive DOOH advertising experiences.

The days of working with a managed service and receiving limited data in an Excel sheet weeks after a campaign ends are behind us. Screenverse actively collaborates with buyers to optimize campaigns in the market, offering supply path optimization recommendations marked by radical transparency. Our unwavering focus is on securing the best deals for our buyers to foster enduring partnerships.

From the buyer’s perspective, nothing beats engaging with experts who truly understand the programmatic and ad sales space. At Screenverse, we don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk.

How do Screenverse’s DOOH solutions deliver better ad outputs and effective measuring than other comparable vendors in this space?

Measurement is a great part of our commitment to transparency with our buyers. We require all of our media owners to have their inventory measured, and we selected Place Exchange’s PerView solution as a measurement standard across its managed DOOH networks.

This groundbreaking measurement solution, developed in accordance with the OAAA OOH Impression Measurement Guidelines, enables Screenverse to deliver accurate and dynamic reach, frequency, and impression measurement for its network partners. Screenverse receives thorough impressions, reach, and frequency measurements from PerView across all of its DOOH networks, with data broken down by various geographies, consumer segments, and timeframes.

We are also happy to coordinate other measurement solutions with our buyers to truly paint a picture of the efficacy of DOOH. We work with a number of different third-party solutions to provide measurement of brand lift, purchase intent, foot traffic, or closed-loop actions like web conversions or point-of-purchase measurement. We build case studies for the teams we work with to let the data tell the story. 

As compared to its effectiveness in B2C, how much does DOOH help B2B brands elevate their reach & engagement? 

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising is a versatile tool that extends its effectiveness to both B2C and B2B brands, and at Screenverse, we take pride in offering diverse solutions that cater to the unique needs of each.

On the B2C front, our extensive inventory includes digital billboards, urban panels, retail and grocery store displays, entertainment venues, and restaurant venues, among many others. These locations with premium inventory are strategically chosen to capture the attention of consumers where they live, work, and play, making them ideal for B2C brand engagement.

For B2B brands, we’ve developed tailored solutions that elevate reach and engagement in a professional context. One such network, Screenverse Office, is a specialized office network featuring directory screens strategically positioned in Class A buildings nationwide. These IoT-connected screens, available in various sizes, from small directories to large-format spectaculars, enhance the experience for office building tenants and visitors. When the target audience is business professionals, this network becomes a potent tool for B2B advertisers, enabling them to connect with potential customers right at their workplace.

Our Advana network, part of the Retail365 portfolio, is another compelling resource for B2B engagement. It boasts an extensive presence across a diverse range of venues, including office spaces, manufacturing facilities, Amazon distribution centers, corporate campuses, hospitals, point of care, and coworking spaces. With over 7.5 million monthly active consumers, the Advana network provides brands with a gateway to reach a broad spectrum of working professionals at scale. Brands can effortlessly tap into this vast audience by purchasing Advana DOOH inventory through their preferred DSP via the Screenverse network.

Additionally, our geofencing capabilities offer a targeted approach for B2B brands. Suppose a B2B brand has identified specific companies they want to reach. In that case, we can deploy our billboards, urban panels, and other inventory types strategically by identifying the proximity of our screens to their headquarters or satellite offices. This level of precision ensures that B2B brands can connect with their desired audience in a highly localized and effective manner.

In essence, DOOH is a versatile medium that transcends the B2C-B2B divide. Screenverse’s diverse network and specialized offerings empower both B2C and B2B brands to elevate their reach and engagement, whether they seek to capture the attention of consumers during their daily routines or connect with professionals in the heart of their workplace.

How do you prioritize your marketing objectives when there are budget and/or resource limitations such that the end results remain uncompromised?

Screenverse was built during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and was still able to scale to where it is today. In the beginning, both marketing budgets and resources were limited. Growing a start-up always starts with the quality of what you are selling and is maintained by supporting that with premium service. We started doing what we do best - 1:1 conversations with the right people and clearly communicating what it is that we do differently.

Most of all, we realized that in a resource-constrained environment, data becomes your best friend. We use analytics to identify which marketing channels and strategies are delivering the best return on investment. By constantly monitoring performance metrics, we can allocate resources to the most effective initiatives and reallocate or cut back on underperforming ones.

We also allocate a portion of our budget to experimentation. By testing new ideas and strategies on a smaller scale, we can identify what works and what doesn’t without committing substantial resources upfront. Successful experiments can then be scaled up.

What groundbreaking technological shift do you foresee happening in the ad tech niche, and in what ways will it metamorphose advertising?

One of the most significant changes on the horizon is the imperative for marketers to adapt to new targeting methods and forge partnerships with innovative data providers, all in preparation for impending regulatory changes. The digital advertising realm, in particular, faces a formidable challenge with the phasing out of cookie-based tactics. Nevertheless, the industry still needs to maintain its ability to reach precise target audiences.

We’ve already witnessed the programmatic industry expand far beyond traditional display ads, encompassing diverse formats like audio, CTV, podcast advertising, etc. This trend is set to extend into the out-of-home (OOH) advertising sector, heralding an era of unprecedented efficiency for media buyers worldwide.

However, for this transformation to take hold, OOH providers must be ready. Historically, obtaining reliable, up-to-date, deterministic measures of reach, frequency, and impressions for custom combinations of OOH assets—such as those required for an advertiser’s campaign plan or a media owner’s network of displays—has been a Herculean task.

At Screenverse, we’ve been proactive in embracing cutting-edge solutions like Place Exchange’s PerView, a strategic move that equips us with the essential data capabilities that modern media buyers demand. As the OOH industry increasingly recognizes the value of engaging with programmatic transactors, the need for precise measurement of their inventory becomes evident. This shift will not only raise the bar for transparency and accountability but also empower media buyers with actionable insights for smarter decision-making.

This technological revolution presents an exciting opportunity to offer an alternative solution to omnichannel media buyers who seek strategies not contingent on the performance of cookies. As traditional tracking methods face regulatory and technical challenges, alternative approaches will become paramount, and OOH, in its metamorphosis through programmatic integration, stands as a beacon of hope.

MarTech Edge Interview with Anthony Berrena, Chief Revenue Officer, Playwire

MarTech Edge Interview with Anthony Berrena, Chief Revenue Officer, Playwire

advertising 5 Sep 2023

Welcome, Anthony! We’d love to hear about your incredible 12-year journey at Playwire that ultimately led you to the prestigious role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).

Thank you for having me. My journey with Playwire began 12 years ago, fresh out of graduation. Initially, I was interviewing for an internship, and although I had several job opportunities, I was truly drawn to the team at Playwire.

During my early days, Playwire had two distinct platforms, one dedicated to video. I was heavily involved in getting our video player to publishers, which enriched our video inventory and allowed our sales and yield operations teams to expand. Around three years into my tenure, I took on the responsibility of managing the display side of the business as well, merging two significant segments of the business.

Gradually, I began overseeing the yield operations portion of our organization, collaborating with SSP and DSP partners, and later delving into direct sales and data sales. Over the years, my involvement with various departments gave me a comprehensive understanding of Playwire’s operations, setting the stage for my current role as the CRO.

What best practices and transformative strategies have you implemented in your role as CRO that have turned the tables for Playwire?

When it comes to best practices, it’s the team as a collective that has driven innovation. One core principle that has underpinned our strategy is the value of collaboration. Shifting away from a siloed approach, we emphasize collective efforts, where different departments come together to achieve a shared objective.

In many organizations, internal departments can sometimes be at odds over resources, but at Playwire, our ethos is about ensuring everyone wins. An example is when our yield team identifies a significant spender in the open market, they collaborate with the direct sales team to nurture and expand the partnership, ultimately benefiting the entire company.

Being able to work together, everyone wins. With the number of partners we work with, you need to build something that will work at scale. We ask how we can put tools like Revenue Intelligence (RI) into practice to do things like increase fill rates or CPMs. When we fine-tune these things as a team, we make a better product and a better team dynamic.

How does RAMP serve as a comprehensive ad monetization platform, enabling businesses to optimize and maximize their ad revenue effectively?

RAMP, or our Revenue Amplification Management Platform, brings the best of ad tech into a single tool and blends human expertise with advanced machine intelligence. The platform’s Revenue Intelligence (RI) feature harnesses machine learning and AI to ensure maximum yield on every impression for publishers.

In addition to these features, RAMP also boasts an extensive set of demand sources. From a global direct sales team to integrations with Google Open Bidding, Amazon TAM, and access to over 20+ SSPs through Prebid, RAMP ensures your business always has the best options at its disposal.

More than just a toolset, though, when businesses choose RAMP, they choose an ad tech partner. The platform offers simple technical integrations, assigns a dedicated Partner Success Manager, and provides expert guidance every step of the way. Additionally, during the onboarding process, every client goes through a full site audit.

What key metrics do you monitor to assess revenue generation, and what are the implications of these metrics on the overall business performance?

At Playwire, our focus is on delivering tangible results. To ensure we’re meeting this goal, we closely monitor a variety of ad performance metrics. The ultimate metric for Playwire is, of course, Publisher Ad Revenue. This metric is really the end all be all that our publishers are effectively monetizing their content with advertising.

Some of the most common metrics, which act as indicators of whether or not our publisher’s ad revenue is where we want it to be, include:

  • Ad Viewability: This metric measures whether users adequately see an ad. The implications of this are direct. If an ad isn’t viewable, it’s unlikely to engage the user or generate revenue.
  • Video Completion Rates (VCR): This covers the percentage of users who view an ad from start to finish. A high VCR tells us content is engaging, which can lead to better brand recall and potentially higher conversion rates.
  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): CTR indicates the number of users who click an ad after viewing. With a high CTR, we can see that an ad’s content resonates with viewers. This might lead them to seek more information or make a purchase.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): This metric tells us how much it costs to acquire a single paying customer from an ad. A lower CPA rate can highlight a more effective advertising strategy, which can directly influence profitability.
  • Purchases: This direct metric informs us of conversions resulting from an ad. This indicates an ad’s effectiveness in driving sales, which directly contributes to revenue.
  • Demographic Information: Ensuring our ads reach the intended audience is vital for effective targeting and optimizing return on ad spend. Ads that resonate with the correct demographic can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • Time Spent: This newer metric assesses viewer engagement. Longer view times tend to signify more engaged users. This can lead to better brand recognition and trust.

How does Playwire’s DMP garner deeper audience insights, empowering marketers to thrive in a cookieless world?

As third-party cookies fade, Playwire’s DMP harnesses the power of first-party data. First-party cookies, which collect visitor data from a publisher’s website or app, are not going away. Our DMP provides access to a vast network of first-party data. Users can sort through this expansive collection and break down data into audience segments based on a broader set of interests and behavioral data.

Our DMP also emphasizes the use of standardized taxonomy, partnering with institutions like the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to implement industry-standard content and audience categorization.

Moreover, with the decline of cookie-based advertising, we’ve adopted contextual targeting. This puts ads on sites with brand-relevant content. This method relies on keywords and topics that already align with the content on the site, resulting in better audience engagement and optimized ad campaigns.

Can you highlight the core technologies that streamline and accelerate your revenue generation process?

Of course! We’ve already touched on a few technologies already, but let’s connect them to the revenue generation process:

  • RAMP’s Revenue Intelligence {RI}: Revenue Intelligence is a proprietary algorithm that combines human and machine intelligence to amplify ad revenue. Utilizing the RAMP Platform, RI manages ads, analyzes data from thousands of publishers, leverages data scientists to identify patterns, and uses yield ops experts for testing.
  • Data Management Platform (DMP): This platform empowers advertisers to target exactly the right audience, leading to increased engagement and efficiency in campaigns.
  • Consent Management Platform (CMP): Playwire’s CMP manages user consent for data collection. By obtaining proper consent, advertisers can legitimately use user data to inform their campaigns while keeping in line with legal guidelines and user preferences.
  • Header Bidding: Drive more competition with display, video, and in-app bidding.
  • Identity Solutions: Playwire ID, RAMP’s proprietary identity solution, improves ad revenue while respecting user privacy. The data in Playwire ID can also be applied to custom audience segments via our DMP. We also recently unveiled our Hashed Email API, which turns a user’s email address into an encrypted identifier and then shares that identifier up the chain with media buyers. The result? Everybody wins.
  • Integration with Third-Party Partners: Playwire’s technology integrates with third-party partners like Nielsen, which objectively measures audience representation. This gives advertisers additional insights and allows them to optimize ad placement and audience targeting.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Solutions: Our DMP integrates with DE&I solutions to ensure ads reach culturally represented audiences. By targeting a broader and more diverse audience, advertisers can potentially achieve higher engagement rates, contributing to greater revenue.

What groundbreaking solution is Playwire currently developing, and how could it revolutionize the ad tech industry?

We aren’t creating one groundbreaking product; we’re creating an all-in-one platform for everyone and everything. While many companies focus on singular areas like header bidding, direct sales, or data, Playwire is pioneering a solution that encompasses all these facets and more under a single roof. This holistic approach ensures that clients have a single partner advocating for them.

With that said, one distinctive business area we are currently working on is our venture into new advertising mediums, notably the metaverse. We’ve established ourselves as one of the few partners collaborating with hyper-popular platforms like Roblox.

Given the growing importance of new digital realms like the metaverse, our early engagement in these spaces, especially with an emphasis on younger audiences, presents a groundbreaking direction in the ad tech industry. Our expertise in areas like kids/COPPA, combined with our vast array of services, makes Playwire’s solutions uniquely comprehensive and positions us to redefine the future of advertising.

How do you envision AI advancements facilitating revenue growth efforts for businesses?

We already leverage the power of AI with Revenue Intelligence. Here are a few ways how that’s happening:

  • Micro-Setting Adjustments: Traditional ad revenue models often take a broad-stroke approach to impressions, which means potential ad revenue could be left on the table. AI allows businesses to make millions of micro-setting adjustment decisions on each ad impression to ensure maximum yield.
  • Personalized Impressions: Instead of treating every page load the same, AI recognizes and reacts to the myriad of variables associated with each impression. This individualized treatment amplifies the potential for increased ad revenue.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: AI thrives on data. With over 1,000 user data values from bounce rates to click rates and 500+ variables like device type and browser, AI can comprehensively analyze each factor’s influence on impression value, leading to more informed decision-making.
  • Dynamic Setting Adjustments: AI’s potential is vividly displayed in its ability to tweak hundreds of settings across the ad tech stack in real-time. For example, RI adjusts price floors, refresh rates, and bidder orders to achieve the highest revenue for each impression.
  • Cost Efficiency: AI can identify and eliminate redundant costs in your ad tech stack. It can discern where ads aren’t achieving incremental revenue to help businesses eliminate overspending.
  • Automated Pricing: Tools like RAMP’s Price Floor Controller (PFC) automate the process of setting price floors on a per-impression basis. The PFC can make 1.2 million price floor changes daily, ensuring each impression is valued at its maximum potential.

What advice would you give marketing professionals constantly facing the uphill battle of scaling revenue for their organizations?

The journey to successful scaling begins with a profound and holistic understanding of your business from its foundational roots. Firstly, the principle of simplicity and scalability is cardinal.

It’s imperative to favor strategies that strike a balance between simplicity and scalability. Although there is an undeniable allure in custom solutions, it’s essential to recognize that in the grand tapestry of business, devising processes that are both straightforward and easily replicable holds paramount significance. This is especially true when you’re aiming for scalability across varied facets of the organization or a diverse client base.

MarTech Edge Interview with Marissa Bernstein, VP of Marketing, Vistar Media

MarTech Edge Interview with Marissa Bernstein, VP of Marketing, Vistar Media

advertising 25 Jul 2023

Please share the journey that shaped your career and landed you in the current role of VP of Marketing at Vistar Media.

I started my career in the media industry, working for several years at Vox Media on sales, marketing & development, followed by Forbes on the brand marketing side. However, I was presented with the opportunity to join a booming startup and found myself pivoting to the world of adtech after recognizing the unique career opportunities that came with Vistar Media.

I made the official leap to Vistar in early 2018 as a senior manager of marketing, specifically focusing on the demand side of the business. It’s been a remarkable journey, to say the least, helping Vistar grow from an early-stage startup to the thriving global organization of more than 200+ employees it is today. While I started by leading all demand sales initiatives for the marketing team, my role quickly evolved to encompass driving a holistic marketing strategy for all of North America, covering both demand and supply needs for our two largest markets.

I’ve embraced being a jack of all trades over the course of my Vistar career—from overseeing client education, sales enablement, events, PR, product marketing, content marketing, and more—and it’s been an honor witnessing firsthand the transformation Vistar has had on the wider adtech, marketing, and digital signage ecosystems.

How is Vistar Media’s holistic suite of programmatic ad solutions enabling brands to excel at Digital Out of Home (DOOH) media?

The addition of programmatic technology definitively brought the centuries-old out-of-home (OOH) industry into the modern age of digital advertising. Vistar Media’s programmatic DOOH tech stack has created a marketplace where media owners can readily make their out-of-home inventory available, and advertisers can seamlessly purchase those spots at auction. Today, an ever-growing percentage of DOOH media is bought and sold programmatically—the benefits are endless, including streamlining workflows, vastly expanding audience scale for advertisers, and, likewise, driving proven results for brands while reducing the work media owners have to do to sell their supply.

Vistar allows marketers to seamlessly extend many of their existing digital targeting and measurement strategies into a physical ad medium while more efficiently and effectively reaching their target consumers in the real world. It’s exciting to see how rapidly we’ve been able to help bridge the online and offline advertising worlds and bring meaningful and measurable results to brands and agencies across the globe.

How profound would the impact of cookie deprecation be on ad targeting, and what would be the way-outs of this crisis?

Cookie deprecation has been a huge conversation across the digital advertising industry for a few years now. However, the loss of cookies won’t negatively impact the DOOH channel, giving yet another leg up to marketers when being forced to reevaluate their media mixes.

DOOH doesn’t operate on the same targeting logic as the online world does. Instead, Vistar Media, for instance, uses passive location data to target consumers in aggregate. DOOH, unlike online advertising, is a one-to-many medium, meaning it’s focused on reaching groups of people at a time and does not rely on tracking down individuals—making it an extremely privacy-safe medium for advertisers to lean into. DOOH’s detachment from the traditional infrastructure of digital advertising makes it a strong choice for omnichannel marketers tasked with finding varied yet still effective methods to reach consumers.

Can B2B brands leverage DOOH advertising to the same extent as B2C companies? If not, what can be done to root out the hurdles?

B2B companies can absolutely leverage all that DOOH has to offer, including its unique audience targeting capabilities, advanced measurement solutions, dynamic creative options, and more. In fact, DOOH’s data-driven capabilities make it an excellent vehicle for B2B brands to reach a more niche business-focused audience. Whether that’s activating high-impact digital inventory around contextually relevant locations such as office buildings and airports or utilizing data-driven audiences to seamlessly reach C-level executives and business decision-makers, DOOH presents B2B organizations with a multitude of opportunities to get a relevant message in front of the right people at the right time (and drive their desired results).

Being a marketing professional in an adtech firm, what’s your take on organic vs. paid media?

First and foremost, marketers should always start with what goals they want to achieve to determine what their messaging and media strategy should be, which sometimes calls for organic and sometimes paid, but often both. Organic and paid media both serve as worthwhile levers to pull in the part art, part science of getting a brand’s message in front of target audiences.

Organic media is important, whether in the form of social content, owned blog content, or company-operated newsletters because it helps marketers educate their audience, reinforce their products/services, and connect with prospects or current clients directly, all without a hefty price tag. Organic marketing tactics serve as an extension of a brand’s messaging and market point-of-view, which have the power to influence individuals and organizations at large. Organic media also serves as a method to be consultative, raise awareness and consideration, and garner additional share-of-voice in the market.

Paid media is also an important component of a marketer’s media mix, especially when looking to get in front of new audiences. Paid media can expose a company to new prospects or industry verticals and allows a brand to think outside the box and get more creative with how they are getting their messaging out in the market. Marketers can also use paid media to capture new contacts and then engage individuals who have expressed interest in their work through organic tactics—reducing the amount of overall budget spend.

What are the marketing codes you live by to ensure achieving your objectives in the face of today’s cut-throat competition?

As a marketer in the advertising technology industry specifically, I’m faced with some unique challenges to address: 1) convincing advertisers why digital out-of-home is a smart media buy and just how the channel can deliver results across core client KPIs, 2) while also educating media owners on why programmatic DOOH is a smart investment for their business, and how Vistar can help monetize their networks and drive additional revenue for them. With that, three marketing codes I consistently live by include:

  1. Revolve around the customer: In this field (and honestly, in any), to be a good marketer, it’s important to truly master and understand the different customer sets that matter to a business and its objectives. What motivates your key decision-makers and influences their behaviors? What are their pain points, and how can that impact how a marketer should reach them? What messages will they be most receptive to? All of these are essential questions to always keep in mind when determining a marketing strategy for each specific customer. Really take the time to learn about your customers—DON’T make assumptions!
  2. Remain data-driven: It’s equally important to focus on results and have a data-driven mindset. Use historical data to make decisions, and take the time to evaluate the performance of each initiative. Use a test-and-learn approach, be analytical, and try to challenge the status quo. It’s through this approach, and often in the small details, that will help you uncover the insights that will best inform future strategies and maximize your results.  
  3. Stay curious: As a marketer, it’s critical for me to remain curious, ask questions, and keep up with what the competition is doing. If I’m not constantly learning, I’ll get bored—and that’s one of the reasons I love working in a rapidly evolving industry (there’s always something new to dive into!). I’m constantly educating myself on the new technologies and strategies that are being introduced, and I always push myself to identify and test new tactics. I encourage my team to adopt this approach and always look for these qualities in new hires as well.

When should we expect Vistar Media to introduce 3D DOOH solutions in its product suite?

At Vistar, we’re always eyeing the next trend to ensure we’re meeting the unique needs of advertisers and brands today—and staying ahead of the curve. Vistar is already actively working with creative agencies to bring 3D-like anamorphic creatives to life. Instead of just focusing on one-off single-unit 3D executions, we’re prioritizing our focus on how we can bring similar impactful creative experiences to all DOOH formats that accept animated and video assets. We believe in the power of programmatic technology and the scale it helps advertisers achieve.

What transformative innovations do you foresee happening in the adtech space over the next decade?

I think advertisers will continue to prioritize one-to-many channels like DOOH more than ever over the next decade as they are forced to reevaluate privacy-safe channels that effectively get the right message in front of the right consumers. We will also see greater adoption of omnichannel marketing and diversity in the media mix as the gap between the online and offline worlds continues to lessen. Incorporating DOOH into a larger multi-channel strategy allows brands to reach their target audience at multiple touchpoints while creating a cohesive brand message and strategy across all mediums.

Additionally, I believe we will continue to see an emphasis on creative capabilities, including dynamic creative, across the entire adtech ecosystem. Each year, advertising becomes more cluttered than the last, making it even more important to reprioritize and refresh creative messaging to truly stand out. Over the next few years, I’m confident we’ll continue to see bigger, bolder, and splashier advertising campaigns that push the bounds of creative executions.

Finally, I anticipate the adtech space, and especially DOOH, seeing a continued focus on industry standards and benchmarks across inventory, measurement, and campaign success. For example, Vistar recently introduced Vistar Verify—a first-of-its-kind program that aims to ensure the programmatic OOH marketplace maintains the highest standards of inventory quality. This move will hopefully drive even more advertisers to the programmatic channel, and as the space continues to grow, I think DOOH will have to consistently reevaluate its best practices, standards, and benchmarks to ensure a level-playing field and maximized success for both advertisers and media owners.

MarTech Edge Interview with Garrett MacDonald, Chief Commercial Officer, AUDIENCEX

MarTech Edge Interview with Garrett MacDonald, Chief Commercial Officer, AUDIENCEX

advertising 27 Jun 2023

How has your journey led to the CCO’s role at AUDIENCEX? Please share some key takeaways from your journey.

The path to becoming a CCO can vary depending on your circumstances and experiences. My journey to the CCO role has been a result of effectively driving revenue growth within a company through a combination of strong leadership skills, continuous learning, relevant experience, and a strategic mindset. Focusing on these key areas has propelled me on my path to becoming a CCO.

To achieve this, I have developed expertise in product, sales, and marketing through hands-on leadership experiences. Creating a culture of excellence has been the force multiplier throughout my career, and it starts with empathy, resourcefulness, and accountability. This includes learning how to develop effective sales strategies, manage teams, leverage technology solutions to make teams more efficient, and, most importantly, a deep understanding of customer needs.

In addition, I have sought opportunities to gain exposure to different business functions within an organization. By exploring the science behind cross-functional collaboration, I have gained a deeper understanding of the broader aspects of the business and how they interconnect.

To further support my journey, I have demonstrated strong leadership skills and the ability to think strategically. These qualities have allowed me to drive results, effectively manage teams, and make critical business decisions.

Overall, my path to the CCO role has been shaped by a combination of practical experience, continuous learning, and the ability to navigate and excel in various aspects of the business. By focusing on these areas, I have been able to progress and succeed in my journey toward becoming a CCO.

How does client segmentation play an important role in an ad-marketing campaign & how do your targeting strategies revolve around it?

Client segmentation plays a crucial role in an advertising marketing campaign by allowing businesses to tailor their marketing efforts to specific target audiences. Effective segmentation enables businesses to create targeted, relevant, and personalized messages, allocate resources efficiently, enhance customer experiences, improve conversion rates, and gain a competitive edge in the market. Some common targeting strategies that businesses often employ based on client segmentation include demographic targeting, psychographic targeting, behavioral targeting, geographic targeting, technographic targeting, firmographic targeting, and customer lifecycle targeting. We employ a combination of these targeting strategies to optimize our advertising campaigns to improve our overall campaign effectiveness.

AUDIENCEX recently announced a strategic partnership with Geenee AR. How will it enable advertisers to deliver better campaign experiences using WebAR-enabled ads?

Through our strategic partnership with Geenee AR, we are excited to offer our clients cutting-edge access to Web-based Augmented Reality (WebAR) ads. This collaboration enables us to provide comprehensive AR advertising solutions, incorporating specialized formats that seamlessly integrate immersive virtual try-on technology into ad placements. This creates an engaging and immersive user experience, allowing consumers to interact with products before making a purchase. The utilization of this technology enables brands to establish meaningful connections with customers by delivering personalized experiences.

By combining this innovative technology with AUDIENCEX’s omnichannel media access, strategic expertise, and AI-powered predictive analytics, WebAR can be seamlessly integrated into targeted ads across various platforms, channels, and devices. Our clients will benefit from fully managed and continuously optimized campaigns that leverage AR across display, social media, native ads, digital out-of-home (DOOH), connected TV (CTV), and other digital channels.

How do you collaborate with different teams to drive client success?

Collaboration is the bedrock of effective teamwork. Successful collaboration relies on a culture of mutual respect and a shared commitment to deliver exceptional results for our clients.

Clear and open communication between teams is essential to effective collaboration. To help facilitate this and ensure that everyone is aligned on goals, timelines, and client expectations, we leverage all the modern communication and project management tools.

Our collaborative teams have a shared understanding of the client’s goals and objectives and how their contributions fit into the bigger picture. By aligning their efforts towards common outcomes and KPIs, our teams work together more cohesively and effectively.

Knowledge sharing and best practice training are crucial for enhancing the overall expertise and capabilities of our team. We organize a cadence of training sessions and workshops to exchange best practices, industry insights, and lessons learned. This fosters continuous learning and enables teams to provide better support and solutions to clients.

What sales-enabling strategies have you used till now that were the most successful?

Some of my most successful sales-enabling strategies have been sales and marketing alignment, sales training and development, and leveraging sales enablement technology. It is critical to promote collaboration and alignment between the sales and marketing teams to ensure consistent messaging, lead handoff, and a unified customer experience. Having clear communication, regular meetings, and shared goals helps bridge the gap between these departments and improve overall sales effectiveness.

Providing comprehensive training and development programs to sales teams equips them with the necessary skills, product knowledge, and sales techniques to effectively engage with prospects and close deals. Ongoing training helps sales professionals stay current with industry trends, refine their selling skills, and adapt to changing customer needs. Utilizing sales enablement tools and technology helps to streamline sales processes, enhance productivity, and improve collaboration within sales teams. These tools include CRM, sales automation software, email tracking tools, and CMS, among others.

How AUDIENCEX is setting itself apart from its competitors with capabilities like programmatic advertising, media platforms, analytics, DSP, etc.?

AUDIENCEX enables challenger brands to compete with their category leaders. We develop innovative solutions to solve common problems in marketing and advertising. Our platform is purpose-built to support brands and agencies in navigating the ever-evolving digital landscape, harnessing the power of emerging technologies, and implementing innovative, creative strategies to produce better outcomes for our clients. Our cutting-edge technology and strategic partnerships are complemented by seamless media access, AI-powered predictive data, expert strategies, and award-winning creative services. This empowers us to execute impactful and engaging campaigns that drive performance at every stage of the marketing funnel across all channels and screens.

We also understand the numerous challenges faced by brands and agencies today. To address these challenges, we have developed AUDIENCEX Intelligence (AXi). AXi ensures that our clients stay ahead of the curve, not only in terms of performance but also in privacy compliance, scalability, and cost efficiency. In an increasingly fragmented and fiercely competitive digital landscape, AXi leverages sophisticated data science tools to understand and predict consumer behavior, delivering enhanced performance throughout the entire customer journey. As marketers grapple with uncertainty and economic pressures to optimize their budgets, our solutions instill confidence that every advertising dollar is utilized effectively, modeling and reaching audiences that are more likely to convert.

What’s your process for assessing new or emerging technologies that can help streamline sales processes?

When evaluating new or emerging technology to streamline sales processes, my approach involves several key steps. First, we identify the specific pain points and inefficiencies in our current sales processes. This helps us understand the areas that require improvement and sets the foundation for evaluating potential solutions.

Next, I conduct thorough research to identify new or emerging technologies that have the potential to address our needs. Once I have a list of potential technologies, we define evaluation criteria based on our specific requirements and goals. Defining these criteria helps us assess the technologies consistently and objectively.

I then reach out to the technology providers and request product demos or trials. I involve my sales team in the evaluation process and gather their feedback on how the technology would impact their day-to-day activities.

If feasible, we conduct a proof of concept (PoC) to test the technology within our sales environment. As part of the evaluation, we also assess the reputation, reliability, and track record of the technology provider.

Based on the evaluation, feedback, and analysis, we make an informed decision on whether to adopt the technology. If we decide to proceed, we then create an implementation plan that includes training programs, change management strategies, and a timeline for rolling out the technology to our sales team.

Overall, the process involves a systematic and thorough evaluation, ensuring we select solutions that align with our specific needs and provide the greatest value in streamlining our sales processes.

How does AUDIENCEX leverage machine learning technology to analyze enterprise-level platforms across programmatic, search, and social to determine what works best for each campaign?

AUDIENCEX Intelligence (AXi) is our comprehensive collection of advanced data science tools powered by artificial intelligence. These tools are strategically utilized across the digital landscape to efficiently identify, model, and target the most relevant audiences. By doing so, AXi drives performance and optimizes spending to achieve a greater ROAS at a large scale. Our AXi solution allows us to determine what strategies work best for each campaign.

Machine learning algorithms within AXi analyze vast amounts of data from various platforms, including programmatic advertising, search engines, and social media. By processing this data, the algorithms can identify patterns, trends, and correlations that provide valuable insights into campaign performance.

Through the use of machine learning, AUDIENCEX can optimize campaign strategies by identifying the most effective targeting parameters, ad formats, and messaging for different audiences. The algorithms can also analyze customer behavior and engagement data to understand what resonates with the target audience, allowing for the creation of highly personalized and relevant campaigns.

AXi’s machine learning capabilities enable AUDIENCEX to continually refine and improve campaign performance. The algorithms learn from previous campaigns, adapting and optimizing strategies based on real-time data to deliver the best results.

By leveraging machine learning technology and AXi, AUDIENCEX provides our clients with data-driven insights and recommendations to enhance campaign effectiveness. This approach allows us to constantly iterate and improve strategies, ensuring that each campaign is tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the target audience.

MarTech Edge Interview with Hector Pantazopoulos, CRO & Co-Founder, SourceKnowledge

MarTech Edge Interview with Hector Pantazopoulos, CRO & Co-Founder, SourceKnowledge

advertising 22 Jun 2023

Could you share the remarkable journey and valuable insights you have gained while leading SourceKnowledge for the past 13 years?

Co-founding SourceKnowledge in the fast-paced digital sector has shown the importance of being adaptable in the face of ever-changing technology. SourceKnowledge itself has pivoted since its video-focused inception in 2009 to become an advertising network dedicated to recognizing quality publishers and allowing retailers and DTC brands to spend based on their goals, all while showcasing the power of the open web.

What factors contribute to SourceKnowledge being recognized as the premier performance platform in the industry?

A key factor contributing to SourceKnowledge being recognized as the premier performance platform on the open web is our ability to adjust to the current digital landscape. With industry changes over the last decade and a half, SourceKnowledge has had several iterations. Being flexible and adaptive is vital to any successful business.

Can you outline the key strategic approaches you adhere to in order to achieve and scale revenue at SourceKnowledge?

  • Define clear revenue goals and track that targets are being met
  • Build strategic partnerships
  • Address user feedback and continuously improve the tech/products and tools available to our advertisers
  • Provide effective customer support and account management to strengthen relationships

How do you effectively align the efforts of the product, marketing, sales, and customer success teams to drive revenue growth within SourceKnowledge?

Our product, marketing, sales, and customer success teams remain in sync by connecting on a regular basis. Our developers, along with product and marketing teams, review the product roadmap regularly to prioritize critical and revenue-driving projects. Our sales and customer success teams closely monitor campaign performance to identify the potential for revenue optimization, as well as identify new revenue and business development opportunities. Having teams with open lines of communication keeps efforts aligned, which ultimately supports our top line. 

Are there any upcoming solutions or innovations that SourceKnowledge plans to introduce in the near future?

We are currently working on completely revamping our dashboard to provide a new framework, new skin, additional tools, and visual insights to our users.

When faced with revenue challenges during economic downturns, what strategies have you implemented to overcome them at SourceKnowledge?

During economic downturns, SourceKnowledge has continued building and strengthening publisher relationships. By partnering with non-traditional deal-centric publishers (such as coupon sites, comparison shopping engines, coupon influencers, or BNPL services) with a focus on helping shoppers save, advertising remains relevant. Retailers can increase traction, effectively get in front of shoppers looking to save, and make the most of their ad dollars.

From your perspective, what significant disruptions do you foresee shaping the adtech landscape in the next decade?

Some key factors that will continue to shape the adtech landscape are:

  • Compliance/privacy laws and regulations: Increasingly strict regulations will affect ad targeting and tracking.
  • The deprecation of the cookie: A cookieless future will require new solutions for targeting ads and tracking.

What advice would you offer aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to establish themselves in the competitive adtech niche?

In the digital space, things change so rapidly, so it’s important to be adaptive and reactive. Getting stuck on a specific idea or result for your business won’t be productive. If an idea or project is no longer feasible, be nimble and adjust. Keeping up with the industry is key and also sparks your creativity.

Surround yourself with good people. The team you hire, as well as the publishers you partner with, are big decisions that should be made with thoughtfulness. You want to be able to work with people for the next many years and have mutual trust. This is key to growing your business.

MarTech Edge Interview with Dmitri Lisitski, CEO & Co-Founder, Influ2

MarTech Edge Interview with Dmitri Lisitski, CEO & Co-Founder, Influ2

advertising 20 Jun 2023

What were your inspirations and previous experiences that prompted the establishment of Influ2?

Advertising brings new products to life like no other medium. It can help brands to build relationships. It’s less intrusive than the traditional sales process. To me, the best advertising—think David Ogilvey’s work for VW or Leo Burnett’s work with Kellogg—can become a form of contemporary art.

That’s when it’s done well.

Enterprise B2B is sales-driven by nature, and to be honest, marketing makes minimal contributions to sales conversations. At least, that was my experience before starting Influ2. I wanted to change that, and I saw an opportunity to build something that makes advertising work for B2B enterprise sales.

As the first person-based marketing platform, how is Influ2 creating disruptions within the martech industry?

Our technology helps companies use advertising to build relationships with specific individuals. No other vendor in the space can build this kind of one-to-one connection through advertising, one that’s so closely integrated with the sales process. That’s been disruptive, as we see businesses coming to use to run ads that actually contribute to the sales conversation and become an integral part of the broader go-to-market strategy. They’re not finding this capability anywhere else.

In terms of ABM capabilities, intent capturing, and engagement tracking, how does Influ2 surpass its competitors?

What’s interesting is that, in many cases, we’re not surpassing competition, we’re complementing it. Many of our customers are already successfully using a competitor to understand intent when they come to us. They need us to build this relationship, influence their buyers, and connect this influence to the sales process. 

Because you cannot establish any meaningful alignment between marketing and sales if you don’t know who marketing is speaking to, as in, the actual names. And that’s the critical capability that we add and our differentiator. When salespeople ask, “Who do I talk to and what do I say?” we provide the answer.

What are your plans for incorporating AI into Influ2’s solutions in the future?

This reminds me of an old joke: 

Q: “What’s the difference between AI and machine learning?” 

A: “Machine learning is done in Python. AI is done in PowerPoint.” 

It’s silly, but the point is that we’ve been talking about AI for a decade now. Not just us—everyone in our space. It’s already part of what we do, in some form or another, so nothing has really changed. AI has been, still is, and will remain part of our unique targeting capabilities. We’ve embraced this tech since our inception in 2017, and I can tell you that we’d all rather talk about the value we create for customers than the technology we use under the hood.

To what extent do Influ2’s offerings assist brands in navigating the current challenging economic climate?

Contemporary marketers need to provide tangible, short-term gains as efficiently as possible. There’s not a lot of room for marketing ideas that sound good but can’t be measured. The current economic environment has a lot to do with that. The latest iteration of the Influ2 platform focuses on just that: it connects your marketing influence to impact on pipeline and revenue. It’s a very tangible look at what’s working and what’s not within an enterprise’s go-to-market strategy.

Can you elaborate on the marketing and business strategies employed by Influ2?

Walk the talk, if you will. Eat your own dog food. We started using our own products to acquire new customers and go to market in 2018, and, honestly, it was tough, which was disappointing because we built this amazing tech but had trouble deploying it for our own business. But we stuck with it and made it work—proved it worked—for our own objectives. That process taught us a lot about our strengths and weaknesses. Now this philosophy is part of our DNA: whatever we build for customers, we also use it for our own business. I think customers recognize and appreciate this commitment.

How do you envision scaling Influ2 over the next five years?

In the beginning, our approach was, okay, here’s an amazing technology that lets you target specific people and track how they engage with ads, but we have no idea how clients might use it. So we’ve spent a lot of time gathering information about how clients use Influ2 and have finally distilled a clear understanding of why customers choose Influ2 and what they need to be successful. The challenge now is to scale that success with 100% clarity about our place in the Martech ecosystem and the tech stacks of our customers.

If you could offer advice to your younger self who established Influ2 in 2017, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid. The uncertainty and unanswered questions, the fears about failing—just don’t be afraid. That would be my advice. And in a perfect world, I could go back and warn my 2017 self about what wastes time and which mistakes to avoid—just to speed up the decision-making, you know? But at some point, you have to let go, refuse to be afraid, and just carry on, come what will.

MarTech Edge Interview with Philip Stanger, Chief Executive Officer, Olyns

MarTech Edge Interview with Philip Stanger, Chief Executive Officer, Olyns

advertising 14 Dec 2023

Welcome, Philip!

Your background in music, with a Master of Music degree from Yale University, is quite impressive. Can you share how you transitioned from that background to your role at Apple and eventually founding Olyns?

For the first part of my life, I was a working musician performing at everything from corporate events to concert halls in European capitals. I also spent years writing music for advertising, movies, and TV series. I first started using technology to create music as an undergraduate in the ’80s. In those days, using software to make music often meant writing the software yourself. I had enrolled in a class called “Computers for Musicians,” which was a programming course on C. So, I learned how to code and loved it.

By the time I arrived at Yale, I was very much involved in the new Media Lab that started with the purchase of several NeXT computers. I worked for several semesters in the Media Lab, experimenting with using these computers to create music. After graduating, I went on to write for film and TV and won an award or two - you can still find some of my works listed in the IMDb.

I pivoted from music to technology after a visit to the National Gallery in London, where I was so impressed by my tour guide that I wondered how I could use technology to standardize and enhance that experience. That thought led to Wifarer, my first tech company, whose pioneering innovation in 2008 was using aggregate WiFi signals to locate mobile phones indoors. We were the first company to do this accurately and reliably in indoor spaces, and our tech was used to provide location-based information to guide travelers at airports, shoppers at malls, and, of course, visitors at museums.

Then Apple took an interest in Wifarer, and I soon found myself living in Cupertino, taking a lead role in the development of Apple Maps. I worked at Apple for 5 years, then moved on to start Olyns.

While at first glance, composing music and founding a tech company might seem very different, they actually have a lot in common. They both require unquenchable curiosity, creativity, and persistence, as well as an unshakable belief in one’s vision. All are critical attributes that help with navigating the roller coaster ride that is a technology start-up.

Tell us the story behind Olyns. How did you decide to make recycling fun and profitable?

The impetus for Olyns was to leave a better world for my teenage daughter and her generation. I was worried about the rapid escalation of the climate crisis, which I experienced firsthand through forest fires and floods in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Silicon Valley, where I live. When I learned that almost 90% of plastic NEVER gets recycled, I decided to try to do something about it. I set out to rethink recycling - to fix the broken system and reduce the plastic waste polluting our rivers and oceans, hurting our wildlife, and contributing to the climate crisis.

I knew the only way to increase recycling rates was to make recycling convenient, rewarding, and fun. I also knew I had to come up with a business model that would pay for this recycling service and that would be easily scaleable and financially sustainable.

So, my partner, John Buchowski, and I set to work. Utilizing John’s extraordinary technical skills, we built a recycling machine we called the Olyns Cube. Having learned the value of design at Apple, we designed the Cube to be beautiful as well as functional. It’s made of glass and stainless steel, and it’s futuristic and bold.

Aesthetically, it’s the opposite of a dirty plastic curbside recycling bin. We deliberately crafted the Cube to elevate the action of recycling to shift people’s perception of recycling, to help them see that an empty container was not a piece of trash but a vital resource that still had value and purpose.

One of the main goals I had with Olyns was to make recycling convenient for everyone. I was amazed to learn that 50% of Americans don’t have access to any sort of recycling, and for the vast remainder, access is often limited, especially in the 40 states that don’t have container deposit systems. To address this, I knew we had to design Olyns to work everywhere, not just in states with bottle bills.

I knew that our Cubes needed to be located at the entrance of places people already go, like grocery stores, drug stores, cinemas, airports, and gas stations, so that recycling could become just another part of people’s daily routine. We did a POC pilot with Safeway in the San Francisco Bay Area, which was a huge success and paved our way forward. In 18 months, our small 10-Cube pilot collected 5 million containers and was used by over 22,000 people!

I also wanted to make recycling rewarding to encourage more people to recycle. We built our software to provide a range of incentives to motivate different kinds of people: deposit refunds in bottle bill states, coupons and rebates everywhere, eco-impact metrics for the climate-conscious, and games and leaderboards for people whose jam was competition.

Finally, I wanted to make recycling fun. Over the last few years, we’ve developed custom recycling gamification for some of the biggest CPG brands, including Mars Wrigley and PepsiCo. When Mars Wrigley approached us for a creative way to encourage the recycling of candy containers, we set up the Cube like a slot machine. Every time a user deposited a candy container rather than a beverage container, we would identify it as such, and a slot machine screen would appear. The animated reels would spin, and instant cash prizes would be awarded to winning combinations. We used M&M characters for the reel, so it was a Mars Wrigley-branded experience, and we collected thousands of containers that would otherwise have ended up in incinerators or landfills.

We also developed a recycling game for PepsiCo that became the centerpiece of their Trash Talk activation at Super Bowl LVI. This was a collaboration with Canopy Brand Group and WovenMedia. Fans were given the chance to vote for either the AFC or NFC by depositing a beverage container in one of two Olyns Cubes. Each deposit would be instantly counted as a vote and, depending on the container type would trigger a different video featuring either Deion Sanders or Michael Irvin, who would either chide the user for depositing trash or praise them for depositing a recyclable container. Occasionally, a user would win a grand prize to much fanfare. Users had fun while learning about the difference between trash and recycling. We had about 150 people an hour using the Cubes at this Super Bowl and collected thousands of containers - it was a huge success.

You asked about profitability. The challenge with recycling is that while most people think it’s a good idea, no one wants to pay for it. If Olyns was going to succeed, we needed a scaleable business model to help us pay for our consumer recycling services. We came up with the idea of embedding a large video screen in each of our Cubes to display advertising, with the plan that as we scaled our recycling network, we’d also be scaling a storefront media network. This business model, together with our cutting-edge technology, has incredible potential to change the face of recycling.

What makes the Olyns Cubes different from other recycling machines? How does AI enable them to accept only clean containers and display ads?

The only similarity between Olyns Cubes and other recycling machines is that they both allow people to insert an empty container in exchange for a reward. In virtually every other way, Olyns Cubes are different.

First, Olyns uses AI at the point of deposit to identify and sort containers into one, two, or three bins. The AI can detect and reject containers that are dirty or that contain liquid, which minimizes contamination and maximizes recycling rates. So, unlike single-stream curbside programs, plastic containers deposited in our Cubes remain clean and uncontaminated. This means they can be transformed into food-grade recycled PET, which is in very short supply and highly sought after by CPG companies who are struggling to meet newly legislated minimum recycled content requirements as well as their own sustainability goals.

Olyns’ AI also identifies the brand and type of beverage container deposited. Importantly for advertisers, this allows Olyns to trigger ads based on the specific container deposited. For example, if a Kirkland water bottle were deposited, it could trigger a Dasani ad. This enables our advertisers to precisely target their ad spend to specific categories of consumers. Think Google Adwords for recycling. The deposited container data set is valuable in other ways, too, for example, to enable brands to assess the recycling rates of their own products compared to their competitors’.

Critically, our AI also enables Olyns to collect and identify ANY type of container, even those without bar codes. The AI can be trained to identify everything from empty shampoo containers to dish soap containers, hot cups, clam shells, and more. This opens up our recycling platform to a market far beyond that of conventional recycling machines, limited to beverage containers.

A final difference between Olyns and traditional recycling machines is our revenue model: each Cube is imbedded with a 55-inch high-def digital screen that runs the ads that help pay for our recycling services.

How does the partnership between Olyns and Screenverse, the DOOH platform, benefit companies by enhancing their ad engagement and supporting their sustainability efforts at the same time?

We made the decision to locate our Cubes at the front entrance of popular retailers for two reasons: First, so they would be convenient for recyclers, and second, so companies could reach their customers just before they started shopping. Research shows that 70% of consumers decide what to buy at or near the point of sale and that 92% of millennials are extremely likely to purchase products after seeing in-person OOH ads. By locating our Cubes at the front entrance of highly trafficked retailers in top DMA’s, Olyns allows brands to engage consumers when it matters most: just before they decide what to buy.

Our digital screens are imbedded in self-serve recycling machines, which means that advertisers are connected to sustainability in a truly impactful and highly visible way. Why does this matter? Because research shows that sustainability drives sales: A 2022 Stern-NYU IRI study showed that while sustainability-marketed products are only 17% of the market, they account for almost 30% of market growth, with a 5-year CAGR that is nearly 2x that of conventionally marketed products.

Brands advertising on Olyns can showcase their commitment to sustainability in a powerful way that their customers see daily. As people deposit their empty containers in the Cube, they are looking at ads on the Cube’s screen. As shoppers enter the store, they see ads on the Cube’s screen. It is a unique way for brands to associate their products with sustainability in the real world. And since sustainability drives sales, the benefit to companies is clear.

It’s important to understand that brands that advertise on Olyns quite literally pay for Olyns’ container recycling services. Their advertising dollars reduce plastic pollution, increase the supply of food-grade recycled PET, and accelerate the shift to a circular economy. Olyns provides sustainability metrics - containers recycled, carbon saved - for advertisers to quantify and share the positive impact their ad spend has on the environment. Brands advertising on Olyns show the world they are taking the lead on sustainability. This is important because surveys show that 88% of consumers want brands to help them live more sustainably.

Olyns’ partnership with Screenverse enables media buyers to easily find and purchase ads on Olyns’ media network that will engage their target audiences close to the POP and enhance their products’ sustainability credentials.

What plans do you have for Olyns going forward?

Olyns plans to continue its expansion to 1000s of Cubes in key DMA’s across the US, including LA, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. We have been fortunate to partner with some of the biggest brands, including PepsiCo, the Coca-Cola company, Mars Wrigley, and Safeway, and will continue to work with these and other partners to extend our storefront recycling media network across the US.

How do technological advancements play a vital role in both supporting and hindering global sustainability goals, and what can we do to navigate this challenge effectively?

By and large, technology is greatly supporting and accelerating the advent of a sustainable future. I am an optimist and am buoyed by the extraordinary changes that have come about in such short order. Everything from the astounding growth of electric cars to sustainable energy, new forms of sustainable agriculture, and, of course, AI -- all point to things changing for the better at an incredible pace.

However, the speed of this change has left some in our community feeling uncomfortable in a future that looks so different and is still so ambiguous. I worry that this may create resentments that cloud objectivity and possibly hold back progress. As they blast forward, the challenge and responsibility for the trailblazers and the innovators is to ensure that the larger community is with them and that any concerns are addressed respectfully.

Based on your experience of founding two businesses, what are the critical components of a successful business plan in the current market scenario?

The keys to success in a tech start-up are persistence, creativity, and the ability to pivot. There are a lot of uncertainties in the market these days, from destabilizing wars to challenges around economic growth. 

Fortunately for Olyns, there seems to be growing support at the state and federal levels for more robust recycling and EPR legislation, both of which benefit our business. At the consumer level, research shows an increase in the percentage of Americans who think the climate crisis is real and are looking to companies and governments to help them live more sustainably. Olyns is well-positioned to benefit from new legislation and changing consumer priorities as we push forward with our mission to help reduce plastic pollution, increase the supply of high-quality r-PET, and accelerate the shift to a circular economy. 

On the advertising/revenue side, there is a clear motivation for companies to align themselves with the kind of sustainability that Olyns stands for. Many companies have been accused of greenwashing, and advertising on Olyns gives companies the opportunity to support recycling in a way that is truly impactful, easily measurable, and highly visible.

The biggest challenge for Olyns will be to scale quickly enough to meet the demand for our Cubes. This will entail being on top of our manufacturing supply chain, production schedules, and logistics.


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