Sebastian Yoffe, newly appointed managing director of Latin America at Lotame, worked for The Rolling Stones at a concert when he was younger, fulfilling a dream.
“I had a dream of working in the music business,” he said. “I actually fulfilled my dream for five nights. … That was awesome.”
Advertising didn’t become a thought until his first job in a bank after moving into the marketing department.
“That's when I got hooked and never looked back,” he said.
Now the wannabe rocker and entrepreneur of five startups is charged with expanding Lotame, a data solutions platform, in Latin America.
Prior to joining Lotame, Sebastian founded DataXpand -- what he claims to be the first international data management platform and audience marketplace, serving Latin American, U.S. Hispanics and more audiences. He also served as a partner at Headway, and held key roles at Comscore and IAB Argentina.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily caught up with Sebastian to talk about his plans, challenges during COVID-19, and future commitments.
SPMD: Why did you accept the position rather than build another startup, and what do you hope to accomplish this year at Lotame?
Sebastian Yoffe: I was looking at both avenues. Since I first started my career, I’ve always had a startup mentality. Even when I worked for others, I always thought outside the box, got stuff done, and hungered for innovation.
When I started my first company 20 years ago, I put all of that into practice. Guess what? My first startup blossomed for six months, and three months later it was dead. Those were hard lessons. To date, I have started five companies, one with a successful exit.
I joined Lotame because there is such a big opportunity in the LatAM region, and it’s a very consolidated company with world-class solutions and at the same time that startup mentality, which I love.
So for me, it's another great opportunity to learn, to drive business, build products and teams in many countries. I couldn’t ask for more.
SPMD: What is the one piece of missing technology in the advertising industry today?
Yoffe: If you look at the Lumascape, there are many for ad-tech. You see hundreds, maybe thousands of companies.
The ecosystem has become so complex and specialized. I believe we need some consolidation to make things easier for advertisers. This could be around identity, attribution, mobile growth, among many others. A universal device ID is one of the most pressing challenges for the entire industry, as Lotame has advocated.
SPMD: What are the biggest challenges based on COVID-19 and how do you hope to solve them?
Yoffe: COVID has made us adopt a completely new perspective on life, work, family -- everything, really. I am trying to not go batty being locked at home for the past 80 days in Argentina. We value the simple things in life a lot more, like going out to dinner, a movie or taking a weekend trip. So I'll definitely enjoy these more in the future.
Business-wise, I see many positive outcomes, such as being closer to clients and prospects, even though it's all through a call. We now have something relatable to help each other along the way. I feel we are much more conscious of what others are going through.
For clients, customer behavior has changed a lot, and understanding these changes is paramount. That’s where Lotame is leading the charge to help clients understand customer behavior and create addressable audiences to engage in meaningful conversations.
Data enrichment should be foremost on marketers', agencies' and publishers' minds. It’s about customers, anticipating their needs, and communicating with them in ways that resonate.
SPMD: What keeps you up at night in terms of business and why?
Yoffe: Our industry is going through lots of changes in terms of privacy regulations, new technology, and cookie challenges. Those conversations are very much needed, but we need to talk in simpler terms and ensure we are addressing advertiser needs. I love the in-the-weeds nerd talk about product and tech is great, but we need to make it easier for an advertiser to just advertise.
SPMD: What is the best piece of advice anyone gave you during your career and from whom?
Yoffe: I had great mentors in my career. In particular I remember this advice: Iterate as fast as hell like there’s no tomorrow in between the think– execute–learn process.
Our velocity is our most precious asset. Always do things faster than others, rethink, and do it again. I still do this every day.
SPMD: Did you always think you would go into advertising, or was there another profession you wanted as a kid in grade school?
Yoffe: I always loved music: rock, blues, jazz, going to concerts. I had a dream of working in the music business. I actually fulfilled my dream for five nights when I worked for The Rolling Stones at a concert. That was awesome.
SPMD: Are you reading any books, and if so, how does the plot relate to your business style?
Yoffe: I’m reading a lot of blog posts and watching Netflix at the moment.