Interview with Co-founder and Senior VP of Innovation & Strategy, Strategus – Joel Cox


“AI is only as effective as the people optimizing it” 

1. Tell us about your role in Strategus?
I’m a co-founder and SVP of Strategy and Innovation. My main role is to continuously keep our organization ahead of the curve and ahead of the competition by on-boarding new inventory partners, new data sources, new attribution solutions, etc. We’re a little David in an industry of giant Goliaths, so we thrive on being fast and nimble, and I take pride in setting the pace for that innovation.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I was on the initial team that rolled out the world’s first publisher-owned ad network for Media News Group, so I cut my teeth during the early days of display and mobile advertising. I’ve been Google-certified a couple of times for AdWords. Over the last few years after helping found Strategus, I’ve been intensely involved with our team in investing, testing and innovating in Connected Television (CTV).

3. How do you think technology is upgrading this marketing Sector?
Data-driven is the name of the game here. We’re working to remove as much of the assumption and anecdote as possible in ad targeting, and provide the most efficiency possible with our technology. Rather than the traditional “spray and pray” mentality, the new technology is enabling our customers’ brands to reach only the most likely to convert consumers while reducing the waste of serving content to people who are unlikely to engage.

4. How has data-driven approach optimized advertising strategies?
Our data-driven approach removes inefficiency, identifies opportunities and zeros in on only the most engaged consumers. It’s a continuous rinse and repeat process where the data enables us to optimize continuously and effectively.

5. How does your OTT advertising platform help in better audience targeting?
OTT itself is inherently a digital tactic. It enables a greater level of granularity and specificity in audience targeting compared to traditional television. It’s an interesting melding, where the largest internet-connected device in the home, the TV, now has the ability to leverage the precision of OTT digital streaming and targeting.

6. What tips would you like to give for effective display advertising?
Three words: Test. Test. Test. Test your targeting. Test your creative. Test where you’re sending your consumers after they click.

7. What features of OTT advertising differentiate it from other methods of advertising?
Not only is OTT the one advertising method that engages consumers on the largest digital device in the household, it also engages on smaller, more transient devices. OTT gives us the ability to serve some of the largest and longest ad units – 15- and 30-second non-skippables, which are hard to find in other placements. OTT is not clickable, so you need a much better attribution strategy in place than with traditional digital placements. If you don’t have a sound cross-device ID solution, you’re going to lose a lot of the necessity when it comes to tracking the effect of your connected television campaign.

8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
Be creative and move quickly.

9. What is the Digital innovation in sales technology according to you that will mark 2019?
Know that millions of people are cutting the cord. Cable and satellite television are losing seven subscribers a minute, and the move is toward digital streaming. Advertisers must sell into this growing medium.

10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?

AI is only as effective as the people optimizing it.

AI can’t be a replacement for quality people. It should only replace the tactical role of what an organization is doing to become more strategic in terms of operations and optimization.

11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
We are thoroughly enhancing our targeting and attribution suite. While our competitors are bringing out one attribution solution, we’re working on our fifth. We think that targeting and attribution is where the most improvements are going to occur.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
We have about 30 people on our team, and though most are in Denver, we have people spread across the country in major markets. My team is essential. My team is my support, and we have each other’s backs. They help ensure that whatever I see coming next, they help me vet it, test it, verify it and take it to market.

13. What movie inspires you the most?
“Glengarry, Glen Ross,” had a pretty interesting ensemble of characters, and provided a classic look at the world of sales.

14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?
[See attached twitter link photo in email of Strategus team on JumboTron at Rockies game.]

15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
There’s Twitter. I’m a big Spotify guy. I have Delta Platinum Medallion. My favorite weather app is Weather Underground, my navigation is Waze and my favorite game is Sky Force Reloaded. I love playing around on Google Earth

As Co-Founder and SVP Innovation and Strategy, Joel Cox develops, implements and manages all digital strategies for Strategus clients and partners. His expertise and emphasis are on novel, cutting-edge tactics via utilization of the company’s in-house ad network/agency trading desk. His exceptional AdOps team provides targeted display placement on all platforms including streaming and linear television, delivering the best performance and service in the industry. He received his BS degree in Business Administration, Marketing and Management from the University of Colorado Boulder – Leeds School of Business.

Strategus was founded in Denver in 2014. The company pioneered the first programmatic OTT/CTV advertising campaign the following year. The Strategus Managed Services Platform produces real-time automated campaigns that instantly deliver custom, audience-targeted messages to CTVs and other internet-connected devices. Strategus leads innovation in data-driven OTT targeting, attribution, optimization, reporting and analysis across all advertising inventories including display, paid search, paid social and email. Serving clients coast to coast, the Inc. 5000 company’s strategic team combines proprietary algorithms, AI and high-touch personal service to ensure that brands and agencies achieve maximum reach and results with the highest standards of brand safety and consumer trust.

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