IT Digest Interview With Justin Hansen, COO and Co-Founder, Media Tradecraft

IT Digest Interview With Justin Hansen, COO and Co-Founder, Media Tradecraft

Producing great content and engaging with users are both extremely important for building and keeping a loyal audience outside of the walled gardens.

Hi Justin, could you tell us about your journey?

Media TradecraftAdvertising has always been a passion of mine. I started my career straight out of college working for an advertising management and media services firm. Entering the industry as an ad quality specialist, I learned many things, including the differences and workflows between SSPs, DSPs, and other vendors. I also developed an understanding of what matters most to publishers–both revenue and user quality–an understanding that has lasted the duration of my career.

As my career grew I became a yield analyst, yield manager and then eventually was running the ad operations department. During this time I realized large media companies and publishers needed one-to-one services and expertise to continue to scale their businesses. This led myself and my co-founder Erik Requidan to build Media Tradecraft, the industry’s first truly one-to-one insourced publisher services firm.

What challenges did the Covid-19 pandemic pose for your team?

Our team has been lucky to face few challenges throughout the pandemic. Media Tradecraft was already a remote, collaborative, efficient company prior to the pandemic. For us, global lockdowns and many industries’ move to virtual demonstrated the benefits of our decision to be a remote company from the start.

Although remote was not new to us, the impact of others’ shift to virtual was difficult to navigate at times. Being unable to meet in-person with our clients, struggling to collaborate within the adtech industry by attending conferences required flexibility as we determined new methods of communication and engagement.

Our biggest challenge has been managing the company’s explosive growth. Finding the right talent during the height of the pandemic was nothing short of a challenge. However, we were able to hire multiple roles across various positions, allowing us to meet and exceed the needs of our publishers and strategically scale the business.

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What sets Media Tradecraft apart from the competition?

Media Tradecraft is unlike any other company in the industry. Our decision to be strategically selective with our customer base leads to higher touch service and better results. Companies offering similar services tend to concentrate on large scale and have hundreds to thousands of publishers, making one-to-one service and expertise difficult or impossible to provide.

We insource our teams into our clients’ teams. Media companies and publishers instantly get access to operations people, executive leadership, developers, data analysts and others with specialized skills, which helps our clients retain control, accelerate execution and accomplish results faster.

As a marketing leader, what are your thoughts on how ROMI and its use as a metric to define success?

I think it is very important for companies to be able to successfully measure if their marketing campaign is working. However, the challenge with ROMI, especially in digital marketing, is making sure it is accurately calculated. In our industry attribution is a challenge in general (with fraud, incomplete data, targeting issues, reliance on third party cookies, etc.). It is crucial for marketers to clearly define the company’s goals and then work to find systems and publishers that allow them to execute those goals.

How can publishers deal with the increasing dominance of the Walled Gardens?

Producing great content and engaging with users are both extremely important for building and keeping a loyal audience outside of the walled gardens. In addition, publishers can lean into the walled gardens as another avenue to increase site traffic. Learn what users want from Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and other platforms to better understand how to drive traffic from those environments.

What are your thoughts on the growing importance of contextual and semantic- based targeting, as the post-third party cookie ecosystem takes shape?

Contextual and semantic-based targeting are extremely important. When audience-based ad targeting is eliminated, smarter relevant targeting will be the way to continue to sell mass supply. Ads will need to be published around relevant content to ensure they are seen by the desired audience, since marketers won’t be able to target campaigns to individuals.

Could you name one other marketing leader that you would like to see featured here?

I would like to see Lynne Johnson from AdMonsters.

Your top pick for a book on Marketing that everyone should read?

Every marketer should read “Targeted: How Technology Is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumers” by Mike Smith to better understand how the industry has changed, how we are adapting and what the future may hold. I also highly recommend “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg for a lesson on how to achieve success.

Any advice you would like to give to budding entrepreneurs? 

My first piece of advice would be to stay true and consistent in your business model and beliefs, this includes making sure you hire people who support that model and those beliefs. Second, this industry is fast-paced and ever-changing, be sure to consistently study the market and your competitors to stay innovative. Third, customer service is king. My final piece of advice would be to remember that hard work does pay off in the end, so keep at it.

Thanks Justin!

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