MarTech Interview with Jason Wulfsohn, Co-Founder and COO at AUDIENCEX

MarTech Interview with Jason Wulfsohn , Co-founder and COO, AUDIENCEX
MarTech Interview with Jason Wulfsohn , Co-founder and COO, AUDIENCEX

“To create a cohesive omnichannel campaign, marketers must be able to optimize across channels, including the walled gardens.”

Tell us about your role and journey into Technology. What inspired you to start AUDIENCEX?

I started my career directing television commercials and feature films after I graduated from USC film school in the late 90s. Eventually, I realized there was a compelling business rationale to launch my own commercial production company, especially during a time when broadcast spots were still the centerpiece of any brand campaign.

Several of our clients were looking for more comprehensive Marketing support than simple Production services, and over time, we built out a creative and strategy team, followed by Client services and, finally, Media. At that point, it was apparent we had created a functional ad agency and brought in a Business Development team to grow further. Inevitably, we shifted increasingly into digital and experienced rapid and sustainable growth, far more than we were seeing with traditional channels.

In 2014, my business partner and I acquired a Digital Agency in San Diego, along with a DSP and retargeting platform. From this, we integrated all the disparate pieces and in 2015 rebranded as AUDIENCEX, with the goal of delivering omnichannel digital campaigns for performance marketers.

What is AUDIENCEX and how does it make Advertising intelligent?

AUDIENCEX is built to empower performance agencies and brands with enterprise-class technology tools and fully integrated strategic support to engage audiences and elevate advertising. We seek to remove barriers to enterprise-class tech and equip marketers with the tools and services they deserve, from digital agencies to challenger brands and category leaders. We do this by partnering with the best in MarTech, creating a holistic advertising powerhouse that delivers premium tech, better performance, and a clearer perspective.

How do you focus on bringing Audience Experience and Data Analytics together at AUDIENCEX? What are the core technologies driving your product?

At the core of our newly launched trading desk, tdX is a robust proprietary platform analysis tool that determines the best platform mix for an advertiser’s unique goals. The tool assesses each integrated platform against over 200 attributes that can impact every conceivable aspect of campaign performance, helping us craft a fully-dimensionalized strategic solution catered to each campaign’s unique KPIs and each advertiser’s unique brand and audience goals.

Tell us about your recent partnership with Marin Software? How would it benefit Marketers and Advertisers?

To create a cohesive omnichannel campaign, marketers must be able to optimize across channels, including the walled gardens. As a direct result of our new partnership with Marin Software, AUDIENCEX enables marketers to leverage powerful performance and data synergies between different channels, from programmatic to search, social and Amazon. The result is cross-channel data integration and performance lift across all touchpoints within a consumer’s day. Beyond this, we are able to build more sophisticated multi-touch attribution modeling, which in turn yields deeper insights into cross-channel performance for our customers.

Which segment of customers in the Martech landscape are you currently focusing on, to grow your market and services?

Since our inception, we have been singularly focused on helping mid-market performance advertisers by empowering them with enterprise-class tech that is otherwise unavailable to them. It’s our belief that the entirety of the advertising ecosystem benefits when all marketers — regardless of scale — can efficiently and effectively engage their audiences in the moments that matter. This strategy has delivered accelerated and scalable growth for AUDIENCEX over the last five years, in part because of our intentional focus on what is both an underserved and largely untapped market opportunity.

Tell us about your tune-in media strategies, cross-screen tactics, and creative messaging that could boost cross-channel viewership?

We believe that it’s all about reaching consumers in the right moment, which is found by deeply assessing a complex array of contextual variables. What a consumer is watching at a given moment is a single component of that analysis. With addressable television, for example, we are able to reach consumers with compelling creative, concurrently sequencing messaging across devices to leverage each channel’s strengths — whether it’s garnering awareness through captivating video or nurturing the funnel with thoughtful social, display and native.

How does AUDIENCEX drive cross-channel growth? How do you plan to empower omnichannel marketing teams with better control and transparency?

First, we look beyond basic metrics and instead help marketers forge a path toward real, sustainable growth. To provide advertisers with better control, we’ve partnered with multiple leading DSPs, offering their technology to our advertisers on both a managed and self-serve basis. To deliver advertisers with better transparency, we’ve invested heavily in various sophisticated reporting solutions, including several that we have built and engineered ourselves, to help marry the data across our complex array of different partners. This is an area where we continue to invest in product development and ongoing research and innovation, including in the increasingly critical area of multi-touch attribution.

Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

Much like the advertisers we serve, we use a mix of trusted, industry-leading CRM and Sales Enablement platforms, as well as Data Visualization tools like Tableau and Looker.

What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in AI and Data Management technology for 2019-2020?

Today, Marketers have the opportunity to adapt to constantly evolving consumer wants and inclinations by delivering ad formats that adjust in real time, delivering more meaningful points of connections between brands and audiences in the moments that matter most. Soon, the next generation of MarTech AI will improve the efficiency of these capabilities even further. AI will think beyond existing binary metrics and evolve to granularly assess the quality of each interaction, taking advantage of the power inherent in a specific moment.

Ever increasing consolidation in the AdTech space, driven by the largest technology and media companies — and built upon a strategy of acquisition — could usher in an emerging era of change and disruption from companies able to compete on the basis of agility, speed, and feature innovation. For instance, companies like Seenthis, Viewst, and Tapad are driving innovation in the areas of optimized video content, rich media mobile and device graphing.

Marketers will continue to demand better quality audience data solutions, and the tools and providers that can look beyond cookies and evolve to turn otherwise fragmented data profiles into a cohesive customer perspective will flourish. After all, inadequate cross-device identification inherently leads to compromised performance, whereas data that brings to life fully-dimensionalized human behaviors — and links brands to audiences with smarter, more thoughtful ads —will drive powerful connections that yield conversions brands truly care about.

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

Brave — A privacy-oriented web browser that is seeking to introduce its own ad network in order to ‘deliver effective advertising while giving users privacy and control.’ In response to GDPR and the evolving data privacy regulatory environment in the U.S., it will be interesting to see how their model evolves.

Faire — Helping independents compete with Amazon via a wholesale marketplace for smaller retailers that help them stock their shelves, paying only when items sell. It uses data science to help retailers discover new products. Faire is putting power back into the hands of the 1 million+ local retailers that drive nearly $1 trillion in annual revenues in the U.S.

Thankyou — a remarkable social enterprise startup based in Australia that commits 100% of its profits to the goal of ending global poverty. Thankyou has built a transformational consumer movement that to date has raised millions of dollars to get safe water, toilets and child and maternal health programs to hundreds and thousands of people in need.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Business Leader?

We continue to see a dynamic tension between human-powered optimization and AI-driven technology solutions and we see real value in preserving this balance. We empower our strategy, customer success and ops teams to champion a holistic strategic POV that can be thoughtfully deployed within the context of an AI-powered campaign, an approach we don’t intend to move away from even as AI-innovation continues to impact literally every aspect of the campaign lifecycle, from Productivity to Performance and Personalization.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

We seek to think about functionality in an integrated way, rather than simply viewing tech and tech innovation in the abstract. We are deeply interested in how technology can have an impact on clearly defined, measurable business outcomes, both operationally as a company and in terms of how we deliver performance outcomes for our clients. In the media space, where there is ever increasing complexity in terms of campaign architecture and data structures, identifying technology solutions that deliver coherence, simplicity, and impact is the central narrative we use to inspire both our internal teams, as well as our customers, with respect to new and emerging technologies.

 One word (phrase) that best describes how you work.

Creative problem-solving.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

  • LinkedIn
  • Waze
  • WhatsApp
  • IMDB
  • Nest
  • Wim Hof Method app

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

It’s less a work-related shortcut and is more to do with helping encourage better productivity for myself and for our entire organization. It’s achieved when leadership is able to communicate a sense of shared commitment to achieving larger company goals. It’s about finding ways to articulate a macro narrative that can help stakeholders and team members contextualize the why and how behind high-level strategic decisions. If I can help connect the day-to-day to a larger, and perhaps deeper, sense of purpose, then it can often be transformational. Without this, leaders and team members can sometimes feel like they are adrift, divorced from an overarching strategic rationale. Bottom line: it’s crucial for everyone and anyone within an organization to feel like their contributions, at whatever level, are meaningful and making a real and definable impact.

What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

Despite working primarily in Digital Media, I still have a real affection for the printed page, from newspapers to magazines to novels. Personally, I subscribe to The New York Times and The New Yorker print editions and watch films from start to finish, especially on the new Criterion Channel. Currently, I’m reading Satya Nadella’s book “Hit Refresh” which I find to be important and timely, and I’m also currently re-reading “The Tempest” for an upcoming stage production that I’m helping to direct.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Success is often achieved by being hyper-aggressive about opportunity whenever and however it presents itself, which, of course, is almost always unpredictable. Not every opportunity will translate into success, but if you pursue every opportunity with the expectation that it can be a game-changer, it often works out that way.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

Getting same-day reservations at impossibly popular restaurants and, in the office, using emotional intelligence to help resolve communication obstacles.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Thank you, Jason! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Jason is COO and Co-Chairman of AUDIENCEX. Working as both strategist and creative director he brings over eighteen years of experience across multiple platforms, including broadcast commercials, leading-edge digital, branded entertainment and feature films, developing award-winning campaigns for brands such as Sony, Toyota, Disney, Blue Cross, Vizio, 1-800-Flowers, and Honda. In 2008 he co-founded ONE/x, a digitally driven creative and strategy shop, where he served as Executive Creative Director.

Jason earned a BA and MA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MFA from USC Film School.

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AUDIENCEX is an integrated Advertising and Marketing agency driven to empower marketers, engage audiences, and elevate advertising. Trusted by over 500 brands & agencies, AUDIENCEX is a leading provider of high performing, end-to-end campaigns for marketers of all industries, empowering them with the strategic support & innovative martech they need to effectively engage even the most elusive audiences.

AUDIENCEX is headquartered in Marina Del Rey and operates in 11 offices throughout North America, including New York, Chicago, Toronto, Dallas, and San Francisco.hn

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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