Last week we took a closer look at where the AdTech industry is headed, and how to navigate your career if you’re positioning yourself in that industry. With the help of Justin Wagner, Principal Account Executive at AdRoll, an intimate group of career minded individuals at all levels of their careers gathered for our small spotlight discussion. Our very own Eugenia Neri Mini moderated the informative, casual conversation, which spanned a range of topics including competition, challenging conversations, and what to look for in your interviews.
A few key takeaways:
Be adaptable. AdTech as an industry is constantly shifting and only those who have the ability to change and adapt accordingly survive. In Wagner’s tenure at AdRoll, he has watched the conversations evolve from general explanations of AdTech to specific breakdowns of complex algorithms. He’s watched (and helped influence) changes in product, frequently based on changes in client demand. He’s been a part of multiple organizational restructures, and has evolved his personal responsibilities numerous times based on the needs of the company. Given the unpredictable nature of the AdTech industry, Wagner has identified adaptability as a key indicator of success.
Keep your finger on the pulse. Always be aware of what your competition is doing or offering. There are many contributing factors to why AdTech companies (and the industry overall) are constantly shifting and evolving, but a major reason has to do with the competition and client sensitivities. For example, a recent shift towards transparency in the industry has led advertising agencies to be much more selective in regards to where they spend their programmatic dollars. Each competitor must know what the other is offering in terms of services and product, which in turn leads to rapid evolution of the capabilities and demands of the industry overall. Stay ahead of the curve, and know what you’re selling against.
Wagner Pro-Tip: If you have good relationships with your clients, and you know that they’re using competitors for other aspects of their business, ask them what the competition is doing or offering that your company is not. That kind of honesty, coupled with an idea of how much more revenue you could be generating by offering those services, may give you the leverage you need to effect change within your own organization or product.
Do your research. As with all industries, when you are looking to make a move in your career, it’s imperative that you carefully assess your opportunities. For those in, or looking to move into, AdTech, Wagner advises that you note where the company’s founders came from, what they believe in, and where they envision taking the company next. Additionally, take stock of the culture, as that directly impacts your happiness. Finally, use your resources. Read sites like Glassdoor and CrunchBase, utilize your network to find individuals you know who have personal experience with the company, and take stock of your personal needs and comfort zone. If you prefer structure and measured growth, or don’t feel comfortable living in a state of constant change, perhaps AdTech isn’t the right industry for you.
Relationships matter. Both in your success as a sales person, and in building your overall career, developing relationships and building trust matters. As previously mentioned, strong relationships with your clients offer direct insight into the competition. Additionally, Wagner’s overall career trajectory was strongly influenced by a colleague and former manager from his previous role at Say Media. By developing and maintaining a close relationship based on mutual trust and respect, Wagner’s former manager thought to bring him over to AdRoll, where he coached him and developed his skillset so that he successfully progressed his career and stature within the company.
Some feedback we received after the discussion:
Thanks again for the invitation to hear Justin speak last night. Given my personal experience, what he said really helped to reinforce what I hope companies look for in new hires… It was very educational…and will certainly be kept in mind going forward.
What a great experience! Thanks so much for inviting me to tonight's event. I really enjoyed hearing Justin shed light on his experiences, specifically with AdRoll. It was an absolute pleasure to see you and everyone at the office and I'll be eager to participate again!
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