Ad Networks

quadrantONE’s Mario Diez on the Evolving Role of Ad Networks

Mario Diez is the CEO of quadrantONE, a company backed by the Tribune Company, Gannet, Hearst Corp., and The New York Times. Prior to landing the CEO position at QuadrantOne, Mario  worked at Datran Media, Centro and PointRoll. We recently spoke with Mario about his current role and the evolution of the ad network.

The Makegood: Before taking on your current role, you had historically worked in sales roles for companies including Centro and Pointroll. What would you say is the biggest difference in your new role?

MD: I consider myself quite fortunate to have worked with some of the most dynamic people in the business, both at those companies and also at Datran Media and at the NY Times on the Web.  Managing a team in a market as dynamic as this one – continually helping brands grow their business through the digital media solution stack we offer – makes the differences quantitative more than qualitative.  Instead of delivering that kind of value for one own set of clients in sales, I do all I can to arm our team to do that while assisting them throughout.  Also, ours is a far more technology-driven sale than any I have had at my disposal before.  So, this is a much more scalable situation.

The Makegood: What is like to be CEO of quadrantONE?

MD: My role at quadrantONE is different than running a simple digital marketing firm. Like any CEO, I am responsible for the strategic direction of our company. And I work very closely with a great board of directors who have decided to take a leadership role in the industry instead of just sitting on the sidelines. When you think about it, quadrantONE connects the most premium marketers with hundreds of the leading local publishers and we are constantly improving our technology stack and service to grow their respective businesses. So, quadrantONE’s success affects the strategic direction of so many other publishing companies’ digital businesses too. When you take a step back, that’s a lot of responsibility and a wonderfully exciting opportunity to lead this segment of the digital media ecosystem.  That leadership aspect of the role and company is what truly gets our team jazzed every day.

The Makegood: Ad networks, exchanges and DSPs have been getting a lot of attention in the past year or so. What do you see as the future trends for these types of companies?
MD: These three digital segments all serve the common themes of scale, ease and efficiency.  At their very core, all three solutions can walk into the buying community and say “we can help you do ‘it’ faster, bigger and with more intelligence than ever before.” The fact is the industry needs these practices because digital media is just way too hard to execute.  Automation provides simplicity, but I don’t think it will be the entire future, only part of the future.  As for the trends for these types of companies, I think you will see the word “exclusive” start to pop up more and more.  Everyone is going to have to have their own “IT” because when things start to all look the same to a marketer or buyer, the confusion and lack of time to evaluate sets in and the solutions are collectively ignored.  This is part of why I see the flock to the DSPs from ad networks.  There have been too many ad networks doing the same thing for years.  So the buying community has responded along the lines of: “I can’t take it anymore” and looks for a solution to give them access to make sense of it all.

The Makegood: quadrantOne recently released a new platform, Q, can you tell us about its benefits?

MD: We launched Q as part of an overall effort to improve the connection between Premium marketers and premium local publishers.  In its most simple form, marketers told us that they were looking for more premium inventory, in a biddable environment and with scale.  We presented this feedback from the market and built a business case supporting the launch of Q to our partners Gannett, Hearst, New York Times Company, and Tribune. In March 2011, we created the first premium audience platform and exchange in local media. The benefit of Q is that it serves marketers with guaranteed and automated scalable premium local inventory, while also exposing publisher audiences to a vast array of marketers.  All this is done with a level of data intelligence, control and transparency that enables us to raise the level of conversation we have with the evolving buying community.

The Makegood: What is the key value that you offer clients as a provider of local media?

MD: We are finding that the data that we see across billions of impressions per month is one of the key values we can offer an advertiser. We are deploying an audience discovery solution to every campaign to scale new insights and each marketer receives these reports on every campaign. Because of our technology stack, we can optimize on the fly and eliminate underperforming segments while identifying new segments and adjusting targeting criteria to enhance campaign performance. The sheer value of that intelligence alone is elevating the conversations we are having with clients.  This is just one example of the service we are providing on a regular basis as a local media partner, which I see as a great success and wholly unique in the local display media segment.

The Makegood: Thanks, Mario.