A Q & A With The Trade Desk's New CMO Mark Kirschner

The Trade Desk named Mark Kirschner chief marketing officer (CMO) earlier this week. Real-Time Daily took an opportunity to find out more about Kirschner. As the company prepares to go public, Kirschner will be in the driver’s seat devising marketing and communications plans, and other strategic initiatives.

Real-Time Daily:What do you want to accomplish in the first 90 days on the job?

Mark Kirschner: My experience has been that it is far better to listen and ask questions than talk in the early days, so that’s what I have been doing. In addition, The Trade Desk has an amazing culture. Any company that enjoys Glassdoor ratings like this one does is something special.

As a new leader, I want to make sure I fully understand the company, its technology, its customers, and its culture. Then I will do everything I can to build on that understanding.

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RTD: What do you see as your main responsibilities in the new gig?

Kirschner: The team here has done an amazing job getting The Trade Desk to this moment. My job is to continue that good work and take it to the next level, scaling the team and our efforts to support and drive this profitable, fast-growing business moving forward.

RTD: What attracted you to this role?

Kirschner: Programmatic is still in its early days, yet it shows great promise to answer the urgent issues that marketers have today. Those questions include: How do I deal with all this data? How do I use it to acquire and retain customers more efficiently? How do I deal with the audience fragmentation and complex paths to purchase while delivering customized experiences?

Marketers are turning to their agency partners to address these questions, and agencies need a partner that can help them drive ROI for clients despite these tectonic changes. Being on the leading edge of the massive shift to digital media is incredibly exciting and energizing.

RTD:What is compelling about the company's business model and its programmatic media/technology?

Kirschner: Deluged with massive amounts of customer journey and consumer insight data, marketers struggle to apply all of it to the media buying process. The Trade Desk’s platform allows media planners and buyers to easily define and manage advertising campaigns with as many targeting parameters as they choose, even if they result in quadrillions of permutations. This nuanced approach offers clients an unmatched ability to bid accurately on each impression and target audiences across devices, with an extremely high level of precision.

RTD:Many people have said that ad tech is giving way to a new acronym:martech. Any thoughts on this? What's the difference between the two?

Kirschner: Acronyms are less important than business model and focus. The Trade Desk aligns its business only with buyers, so it’s able to avoid inherent conflicts of interest that exist when serving both the buy and sell side. This makes it easy to ensure that all inventory options are being looked at, not just a limited subset. Clients don’t have to worry that we might preference our own inventory, or rely solely on pre-negotiated inventory. This focus enables us to build trust with our agency partners and their clients, many of whom incorporate their proprietary data into our platform.

RTD: What do you see as The Trade Desk's role in the overall ad tech or martech ecosystem? How is it making processes better and helping improve monetization for its clients?

Kirschner: The complexity of challenges faced by agencies and their clients means that they need partners they can trust. The Trade Desk walks the walk.  It isn’t a black box. It’s transparent, so we show the true costs of advertising inventory, data, and our platform fee, as well as detailed real-time reporting and performance metrics on advertising campaigns.

We focus on being a technology layer, so we partner with companies that provide services, and empower their business models with APIs that enable custom development on top of the platform. That kind of partnership creates scenarios in which everyone can win.

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