Our profile feature takes a look at some of the global professionals working across performance marketing, shedding light on the varying roles and companies across the flourishing industry. This week we’re turning our focus to Sociomantic, and its head of global supply, Alex Reinhold.
Job title and company:
Head of global supply, Sociomantic Labs.
In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?
Sociomantic is a programmatic media-buying platform that optimises advertiser performance across the full funnel.
What are the company’s unique selling points?
Sociomantic has maintained a pure programmatic approach to media buying since placing its first real-time bid in 2010. Its proprietary tech, which incorporates a supply quality score into its bidding algorithm, leverages advertisers’ CRM data with other first-party data assets to deliver personalised dynamic ads for retargeting, prospecting and loyalty campaigns.
Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?
Plenty! Next to setting up shop in China, the biggest e-commerce market in the world, Sociomantic has shifted a lot of resources into innovation. The Sociomantic AppKit was launched; it’s a seamless end-to-end solution for advertisers to integrate, launch and target mobile campaigns. Moreover, as a 100% programmatic player, we have largely scaled up our portfolio of programmatic direct deals as part of the Sociomantic Direct project, granting our advertisers the best possible access to inventory. This happened in close collaboration with the world’s biggest ad exchanges and SSPs.
Finally, very recently, we launched the Sociomantic Supply Quality Index (SQX) which factors SSP/Ad Exchange quality into our bidding by rating our partners based on three measures – transparency, performance and inventory quality. Sociomantic is the first programmatic buyer to assign a quality score to bids in real time.
Duration in current role:
1.5 years total at Sociomantic, 4 months in current role.
Where are you based?
Previous performance marketing-related companies you have worked at:
What are your main job responsibilities?
I head up Sociomantic’s supply team. We work with more than 40 ad exchanges and SSPs directly. As part of this, my main responsibility is to work in close collaboration with our partners to ensure we buy the highest quality and most transparent and performance-oriented inventory available on behalf of our advertisers. This part of the job requires taking a fine toothed-comb through quite a few creative pitches, which - I can’t deny - can be really fun. On top of that, Sociomantic is always open to new players with innovative business models that could potentially promote our advertisers’ interests in the long run. Although we’re currently outgrowing the start-up label, we’re very keen on forging partnerships with the next backyard-born champion–one that’s about to disrupt the entire industry (we keep our eyes peeled, so beware!).
Finally, our global supply team is strongly focused on maintaining a direct relationship with our publisher partners, ensuring access to the best programmatic inventory available.
Take us through what you get up to on a typical working Monday:
Mondays can be taxing – but we all know that. My first order of business is to sift through e-mails. They tend to pile up over the weekend as we work across numerous time zones, what with Sociomantic spread across 17 different countries and with some supply partners based in remote regions. After making sense of my inbox, I review our SSP and ad exchange partner performance to verify that everything worked out properly over the weekend. Since our engine is built for programmatic, we rarely encounter problems on our side though there are scattered occasions when we reach out to our partners if things need mending on their side. By Monday afternoon, I get up to speed with the international supply team. Coordinating a suitable meeting time has been difficult; at present 3:30pm CET is the only possible time even if it’s already way past working hours for some on the team.
I suppose these are all technically typical Monday tasks, but there’s hardly ever a typical Monday, is there?
What top three websites can you be found browsing during your lunch hour?
I usually try to have lunch with colleagues from other departments – it’s a great way to gain the insights needed to maintain a holistic view of the company. I’m not going to lie, the challenge is getting them to agree to have lunch with me…but I digress. If I’m to spend lunch at my desk, then Facebook, AdExchanger, German news site spiegel.de and a sad sandwich keep me company.
What are your top three tips for someone looking to get their hands on a job like yours?
At Google, I was responsible for managing a group of young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newbies. I had sketched out 11 points to help guide them as they furthered their careers, and I still stand by these. The first rule being, learn as much as possible at all times. It’s impossible to succeed in fast-moving businesses (or any other organisation) without that constant thirst for knowledge. Agility in acquiring this knowledge is also key. The last of my 11 tips was to, in turn, teach as much as possible. I don’t abide by ‘elbow culture’ within an organisation – acquiring skills and knowledge is at least as important as sharing them. Finally, my favourite rule sits somewhere in the middle of this list and goes along the lines of “leverage your strengths, manage your weaknesses.” Nobody is perfect. Being aware of your skills and understanding when to ask others for help is essential – not only in a business sense.
Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years’ time?
I’ve probably been asked this question in every single job interview I’ve had since applying at SUBWAY as a teenager, and I’m always reluctant to answer because I tend to focus on the present. To quote someone I have a lot of respect for, “if you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing in the corner of your eye”. More than that, I believe flexibility and agility are key in our industry. Being in a business that grew at rocket-speed in six years, I think it’s impossible to project the next three years. I inherently believe in our power to innovate and stay on top of the entire programmatic ecosystem as the industry’s most forward-thinking buyer, and I hope I’m still constructively disrupting the industry as part of Sociomantic three years from now.
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I’m a huge Metallica fan. It went so far that I earned most of my money during my time in university by playing guitar in a Metallica tribute band. That’s something very few people at work know about me. However, I’m sure no one knows that I was also a very active member in the official Metallica online forum. Again, this went so far that I managed to start a thread, which garnered so many replies that Metallica posted a video name-checking me (or my forum name, Dead Kennedy Roll) specifically! I was 14 or 15 at the time, and nearly fainted when I watched the video the following morning.
Join Sociomantic’s chief revenue officer Gavin Wilson as he takes on the role of CRM in data driven advertising at Performance Marketing Insights: London 2015.