Geoffroy Martin, the new global general manager of Criteo Retail Media, has been in the United States for 23 years -- long enough to become an American citizen, but not long enough to lose his French accent.
Martin, an engineer by profession and fan of most things high-tech, joined Criteo about two months ago after being a customer of the company for years while at Art.com, where he served as CEO and COO. Now he leads Criteo’s retail media business, from the sales team to the product design.
He holds a Master of Science in electrical engineering and is continuing with his graduate studies in telecommunications/electrical engineering.
The notion of retail media, supporting brand-funded ads on retail sites, drives Criteo’s growth. The focus is on brands “monetizing their assets” such as site traffic, placement and customer data through the retailer.
Growth and “a very exciting project” drew Martin to the company, along with data from about 1.5 billion user IDs across devices.
Data & Programmatic Insider caught up with Martin to talk about Criteo, retail trends, and what drives his enthusiasm for technology and media. An excerpt from the conversation follows.
D&PI: Did you always want to be involved in advertising and media?
Martin: I really wanted to be a mountain guide, but realized that was probably not a smart decision. I have a strong passion for mountaineering and rock climbing. It’s difficult to make a career out of that. I also always wanted to be an engineer and I knew very early on that I’d be studying.
D&PI: There’s a correlation between mountain climbing and engineering -- they’re both methodical.
Martin: I can see that, because if you don’t follow the steps there are dire consequences for both.
D&PI: What books are you reading?
Martin: I’m a history buff, so I love reading history or biographic books.
D&PI: If you were reincarnated in a different year, which one would it be and why?
Martin: Definitely not the 1980s because the music was terrible. I was a teenager in the 1980s and I’ve done that before. I think we’re living in a fantastic year. If you look at the history of the world, there’s never been a time when the geopolitical were as stable as they are now from a technology and changing people’s life.
I really enjoyed being part of the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. I’d be hard pressed to say that I would want to live in a different time.
D&PI: What trends do you see in retail?
Martin: There’s a strong willingness from brands and retailers to work together, provide value to each. Every retailer selling third-party goods from P&G or Samsung, for example, wants to build some sort of relationship. Brands want to make sure each dollar they spend works well.
D&PI: Based on those trends, what keeps you up at night?
Martin: I sleep very well, actually, but if something was to keep me up at night it would be the excitement of the field. It’s an opportunity, early estimation of the retail media market outside of the walled gardens such as Amazon and the like. It’s a huge market, anywhere from $10 billion to $15 billion, not including what’s offline.
D&PI: What is the one technology you would like to develop?
Martin: Anything that would solve transportation and global warming. Education is another. I’m passionate about education and the impact it has on humanity -- something that would either revolutionize transportation or education.
D&PI: What is the common thread in your private life that led you into your profession?
Martin: I’ve always joined companies where I found space to learn, but also somewhere I can lean on my past experiences. At Criteo, I bring the retailer view, because I led a retailer for a long time. I’m aware what retailers and CMOs want.
If there has always been a theme in my career, it is joining companies in their early stage. There’s an element of building and creating something.