Meet the 26 Trailblazers Revolutionizing the Field of Marketing Technology

Introducing Adweek’s Mar Tech Superstars

In recent years, marketing technology—or simply “mar tech,” in industry parlance—has gone from fledgling to flourishing, growing from a niche that once included a few hundred players to a vast universe of 5,000-plus companies. Their offerings include software for social media, email, search engine optimization, e-retail targeting, video, consumer rewards, campaign measurement and creative workflow, just to name a few. But behind all this magical cognitive content are brilliant, forward-thinking women and men who are rapidly reimagining marketing and advertising technology (since major cloud players are increasingly blurring the line), pitching a new world order where CRM and digital ads work hand in hand. Here, Adweek salutes the leading figures and trailblazers in the burgeoning field of mar tech.

Michelle Peluso
CMO, IBM

Due to huge AI ambitions, IBM Watson seems to be omnipresent. Last year the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant debuted an innovative system called Watson Ads, which lets consumers ask questions by voice or text and receive answers. What’s more, Peluso and her team have IBM utilizing machine learning to run its own programmatic campaigns, reducing cost per click by as much as 70 percent at times. “Michelle is relentless in her focus on clients and what they need, and she is a tireless evangelist who helps teams understand market opportunities,” says Kathy McGettrick, IBM’s vp of market development and insights.

Eric Roza
Svp, Oracle Data Cloud

Oracle has worked overtime in the last month, releasing new AI and chatbot products and forging an over-the-top targeting deal with smart-TV ads player Simulmedia. But the biggest move had Roza’s fingerprints all over it, acquiring notable data measurement firm Moat in mid-April for a reported $850 million. Heineken, Dr Pepper, U.S. Auto Parts and Black Box Wines are among the company’s brand clients, while his division has been busy building on partnerships with Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest. Gunnard Johnson, Pinterest’s head of measurement science and insights, says Roza’s team has helped his platform show it can drive online and offline sales and “prove that Pinterest is a great place for advertising to happen.”

Dan Fichter
CTO, Moat

Moat aids digital platforms like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Pandora and Snapchat in weighing the results of online brand campaigns. It’s become a go-to vendor for such measurement needs in recent years. The marketplace clearly sees value in Moat, given its $67.5 million in funding and, most importantly, having been acquired in April by Oracle. What’s more, it offers marketers a strong look into how ads perform according to sight, sound and motion. Who deserves credit? Industry insiders say it’s Fichter. “Moat has grown its attention analytics business by over 100 percent in the past year,” notes Oracle svp Eric Roza.

Will Kassoy
CEO, AdColony

In a marketing world that’s increasingly focused on brand safety, Kassoy’s vast network of mobile apps offers advertisers a strong level of where their messages appear. AdColony reaches 1.5 billion global consumers across the world’s top 1,000 apps, which the company claims is second only to Google. But marketers like UFC particularly love the way Kassoy offers the one-two punch of top-tier segmentation and high-definition video advertising.  “[His company] allowed us to align with a wide range of viewers’ passion points and drastically increase our overall reach and frequency,” says Kristen Bankosz, UFC’s content marketing manager.

Manish Mehta
CTO, Spredfast

Competition among social data companies can be intense, but Mehta seems unstoppable, having increased Spredfast’s revenue by 50 percent last year while adding blue-chip clients like Warner Bros., General Motors and Exelon. Hawaiian Airlines has grown its social audience by nearly 30 percent thanks to his constant product development, directly engaging consumers who are preoccupied with honeymoons, anniversaries and other special occasions. “[It’s proven] the importance of social media as a marketing channel, a customer-care conduit, and also as a way for PR to see and react in real time to what’s happening,” says Asiana Ponciano, Hawaiian Airlines’ consumer affairs manager.

This story first appeared in the May 22, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.