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Episode 32 –
How an Audience-First Strategy Provides Better Customer Service With Nola Solomon of Criteo

RESOURCE CENTER   ❯   Identity Revolution Podcast 5-19-22

Episode Summary

The AdTech industry includes all kinds of digital solutions that collect and process data to form, control, and analyze advertising campaigns. As technology grows, it changes consumer habits, and so, the advertising industry also changes significantly. As a result, AdTech companies and marketing organizations need to adapt.

But how do you successfully service customers as a retargeting company? How do you engage with customers to convince them to buy your product or service? Maybe it’s best to become a commercial media platform.

In this episode of Identity Revolution, Infutor’s host Cory Davis welcomes Nola Solomon, SVP, Go-to-Market at Criteo. Cory and Nola get into the opportunities that the transition into a multi-product commerce media platform brings, explain why this could be a good decision, and what progress one can expect. They also discuss working with agencies — not just direct brands — and emphasize that first-party data is crucial for marketing strategies.


Nola Solomon
  • Name: Nola Solomon
  • What she does: Nola is the SVP, Go-to-Market at Criteo
  • Company: Criteo
  • Noteworthy: Nola has spent the last 10+ years across marketing media and AdTech. She has a proven track record of managing product and business strategy, business development, and partnerships on both the buy-side and supply-side for publicly traded companies. Nola is also a part of Girls Write Now, ForbesWomen Forum, Chief, and Primary Ventures NYC Founders Fellowship.
  • Where to find Nola: LinkedIn

Key Insights

  • A commercial media platform provides better service. Criteo moved from a single product retargeting company to a multi-product commerce media platform. According to Nola, that brings together the goodness of retail and programmatic media. “We’ve had what we’ve called kind of specific solutions — like contextual products, video products, a CTV product — which we’re bringing together under an audience-first strategy that we’ve launched this year. It’s really exciting, and it’s getting a lot of really good traction out there. And all of that is really in service of making sure that we can service customers the way they need and to solve their challenges of driving the right message to the right customer at the right time, no matter where they are.”
  • Grow the agency side of the business. Although Criteo has been working mainly with direct brands for a long time, it is increasingly cooperating with agencies today. Nola gives the example of a partnership with GroupM. “We’ve really empowered them to be able to be first to market — in terms of opportunities in the retail media ecosystem, but also globally the platform in general. And that’s just the beginning of what we’re planning to do with them — with agencies — really focusing on strengthening our relationships with the agencies they already partner with. Retail media has been a huge differentiator there. But also continuing to ensure that the products that we’re developing and the go-to-market that we are developing in tandem with that product strategy are really in service of the agency’s challenges and meeting those needs in terms of what they need to do for themselves [not just] as entities in the ecosystem but also on behalf of the brands that they represent.”
  • First-party data is going to be an integral part of marketing strategies. According to Nola, Criteo’s first-party media network is the feed between the demand and the supply sides to maintain and grow addressability into the future. “That takes multiple forms, including developing contextual solutions that are really highly performant, in addition to leveraging what Criteo has been historically extremely good at — the artificial intelligence algorithms that we have towards driving performance — and being able to implement those optimization tactics. Not just against one-to-one addressable media — which of course we want to continue to help grow — but also against those contextual signals. And how do we bring those two worlds together to even more powerful outcomes? So I think about 80% of marketers have said that first-party data is going to be a core component of their strategies in the coming years. And I think that’s the case for everybody. This is an area that everyone’s continuing to invest in.”

Episode Highlights

What’s Nola’s Job?

“I lead go-to-market, which is really a mix of different groups. So I have product marketing, what I call global go-to-market — which is really business strategy and translating the product strategy into the business plans and the go-to-market plans — and the enablement, of course. And there is also the regional go-to-market team, which is a global team of commercialization specializations around the customers that we service. So we’re really the bridge organization between commercial and product, working closely with those two organizations and, of course, with marketing and partnerships and supply teams.”

AdTech Is Fast-Paced and Always Changing

“I think that’s what initially attracted me to the industry and has gotten me to stay interested in it for all these years. It’s really exciting. It’s for sure a lot of things to stay on top of — a lot of progress and projects that we have even here at Criteo, what’s happening in the industry and in the market in general — which is all very relevant. But it’s exciting. And actually, I get motivated by it. So even when I’m tired, I’m doing something that I love and that I’m really interested in. And it’s a different kind of tired — a good kind of tired — you wake up the next day, and you’re excited to start all over again.”

Top quotes:

[03:28] “Understanding deeply how the publisher side operates, how the data business operates, and how, of course, the buy-side and the sell-side are connected through this kind of well-rounded experience has landed me in the go-to-market role at Criteo.”

[05:05] “2021 was a pivotal year for us [Criteo]. We moved from being a single product retargeting company by leveraging our existing and really incredible assets to transition into a multi-product commerce media platform, and that’s really our focus.”

[13:57] “There is no supply without demand and no demand without supply.”

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