Our ‘Profile: A Day in the Life of’ feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry.


Gavin Wilson

Job title and company

Managing Director UK, Sociomantic Labs

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

Sociomantic drives incremental sales at scale with programmatic display advertising solutions across desktop, mobile and social platforms – helping marketers turn real-time data into real-time ROI with innovative technology and intelligent data.

What are the company’s unique selling points?

Sociomantic’s proprietary Streaming technology leverages CRM data with other first-party data assets to deliver individually personalised dynamic ads for retargeting, prospecting and loyalty campaigns. Using a post-click effective cost-per-action (eCPA) optimisation model, Sociomantic provides marketers with a fully transparent, arbitrage-free approach to programmatic display.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

Founded in Berlin in 2009, Sociomantic grew from a three-person outfit to more than 200 programmatic display enthusiasts operating out of 16 offices worldwide; with an established presence in both US and UK’s mature markets by spring of 2013. We’re proud to say all this growth has come from our own pockets.

Profitable since day one, never taking investments, we have relied on our product to deliver across thousands of campaigns reaching over 65 markets. Sociomantic arrived at these great milestones owing to a remarkable leadership team and a technology stack initially built at the dawn of real-time bidding (RTB).

Our intelligent tech has since evolved to embrace social and mobile RTB, ensuring we speak to consumers on a one-to-one basis via dynamic display that leverages HTML5 to personalise banners in real-time. Because of this, expansion into crowded markets such as the UK’s digital ecosystem has been met with favourable outcomes. You don’t succeed in congested markets unless the tech is unique, exceptional and innovative while offering the transparency that marketers desire.

Duration in current role:

I launched Sociomantic’s UK entity in October 2012.

Where are you based?

We’re based a 1,000 metres north of the River Thames in Clerkenwell, London.

Previous performance marketing-related Co’s you have worked at:

Prior to Sociomantic, I was at Digital Window (Affiliate Window and buy.at) for nearly five years, the last two of which I held the role as commercial director for the UK and US.

What are you main job responsibilities?

People management (an effortless feat when surrounded by an exceptionally experienced team), business management and P&L, as well as operational aspects while dabbling in the commercial and sales sides too. I take great joy in meeting advertisers, publishers, agencies and prospective partners so having a balanced role that attends to all facets of the business is essential.

Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:

I start by making a cup of tea. Then I usually run through reports checking revenue and performance before meeting with the senior team to look at the week ahead.

I tend to avoid rigidly structured days since the very nature of our real-time business ensures anything can happen in real time. Structure is key but running an operation with too many pre-determined actions can be more of a hindrance than a benefit. This climate also allows my team to develop their own approach to their working day. If you want the best from your staff, let them foster their own rules and working culture.

What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?

Salesforce; it’s a great tool for management reports and revenue planning. The dashboard we’ve created is intuitive and numbers-driven. I’m a numbers and data man; I find great enjoyment in studying revenue and trend data and turning my findings into meaningful plans (I also like plans).

Our own site: sociomantic.com. It’s important to keep abreast of what’s generally happening in different markets and Sociomantic’s blog and news section is an easy way to see what’s going on globally – from Singapore to France, Brazil, India or Russia, for example. I read through to monitor progress and source information that can be shared within the UK market.

For all my news and sport information in bite sizes, I turn to the BBC. It’s a welcomed escape from a numbers- or data-driven morning.

What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?

  • Be numbers-driven and commercially astute. Businesses need people who enjoy the challenge of growing numbers, be it through client volume, revenue or gross profit. Once you understand which levers you need to pull to drive all three, you’ll succeed.
  • Know your business inside and out. I’ve always made a point to immerse myself in the whole organisation I’ve worked for, mostly out of interest. Yet, having a deep understanding of people’s different roles can be instrumental in visualising how divisions can join up to drive growth. You’re placed in a better position to put forth ideas spanning across multiple elements of the company if you’re informed.
  • Listen to your audience. It could be a member of staff mulling over a stumbling block, a prospective client with a bespoke need, or a partner with seemingly ‘left-field’ ideas. Don’t immediately dismiss anything, because careful consideration of diverse ideas could lead to uncovering a brilliant concept — which can help you, your team or your clients. Moreover, by listening, you’ll truly get to know your audience.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?

Programmatic buying and personalisation of media is becoming even more prevalent in this exciting digital arena. In due course our industry will see TV ads venturing through the RTB-route, eventually leading towards a joined-up media landscape that provides the best brand engagement experience across a whole customer journey.

I’m well placed to help this transition. As one of the pioneers of this digital space, Sociomantic is exactly the place to be. The company is growing at a phenomenal rate and I cannot see myself being anywhere else other than here.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

My penchant for numbers and planning is handy for other reasons – I play a killer game of pool!

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