MarTech Interview with Maria Teresa Hernandez, VP of Brand Partnerships at Mirriad

Get a front-row seat to the future of advertising as Maria Teresa Hernandez, VP of Brand Partnerships at Mirriad, discusses the latest trends in MarTech.

As advertising evolves, companies are seeking new ways to connect with consumers in an engaging and impactful way. With so many options available, it can be difficult for brands to cut through the noise and capture the attention of their target audience.
Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Maria Teresa Hernandez, VP of Brand Partnerships at Mirriad. With over a decade of experience in marketing and advertising, Maria Teresa has a wealth of knowledge and insights into the world of MarTech.
In this interview, we will explore how Mirriad is using cutting-edge technology to revolutionize the way brands connect with consumers. Maria Teresa will share her expertise on the latest trends in MarTech, as well as discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that arise when working at the intersection of technology and advertising.
Join us as we dive into the exciting world of MarTech with one of its foremost experts, Maria Teresa Hernandez!

Maria, please brief us about yourself and your career so far.
I started my career in music right after grad school at CMN (Cardenas Marketing Network), which at the time was the top Hispanic event production company in the world. They worked with some of the biggest Latin talents like Juanes, Marc Anthony, and a Boriqua rapper named Ramon Ayala now known as the global superstar Daddy Yankee. I ran Brand Sponsorships for the company, connecting major advertisers to Latin talent. This role was my first real intro to the world of marketing, which is what I got my master’s degree for, but I ended up falling in love with selling.
From CMN, moved on to become VP of Sales for one of the biggest media agencies in the world under IPG Media brands. After that, I was with Bill Gates’ entertainment company called BEN (Branded Entertainment Network) as a VP, Brand Partnerships leading product placement sales.
Today, I lead Brand Partnerships at Mirriad, an ad tech platform that virtually inserts advertisers into targeted TV, Streaming, Digital, and Music content. I was also recently promoted to head up Mirriad’s Multicultural Marketplace, an aggregate of diverse content owners and creators that enables brand access into their programming via virtual integrations, creating entirely new revenue streams for the BIPOC media community while also providing a new pipeline of in-content ad inventory for advertisers.

What excites you about your new role as the Head of Multicultural Marketplace and SVP of Brand Partnerships at Mirriad? What growth plans do you have for the company?
I love that I’m able to position this groundbreaking new ad format front and center for our industry to tap into, while also being a driver in bridging the longstanding media gaps in our industry. This is all possible through the creation of Mirriad’s Multicultural Content Marketplace, a breakthrough solution that creates opportunities for brands to scale their multicultural in-content campaigns while also generating a new revenue stream for diverse publishers and content creators who historically have been overlooked.
This is an emerging channel, which means we’re just scratching the surface as we continue to connect new content partners to advertisers, in ways never before possible, while significantly improving the viewer experience.

Tell us more about Mirriad and its best-in-class advertising services. What makes the company stand apart from the competition?
To put it simply, Mirriad digitally places brands into the content the world watches every day, all post-production, enabling brands like Target, Charmin, Lexus, and L’Oréal to create and deliver in-content campaigns with ease and at a huge scale. While there are other companies like Amazon and NBCU that are beta testing virtual product placement across their O&O, Mirriad is an agnostic technology therefore we’re able to unlock programming across the full content ecosystem.
The tech is also protected by 35 patents with 8 pending patents – and is trained to scan not only for the best space for a brand to be inserted but also context and emotion to ensure the brand shows up authentically. Mirriad won AdExchanger’s Most Innovative TV Advertising Technology in 2022.

Could you provide an overview of the company’s purpose and goals, including its vision and mission?
My personal vision for the company is to grow Mirriad’s multicultural marketplace to a larger scale, enabling more brands to authentically reach dynamic audiences and empowering minority media owners.

Please share with us your views on the significance of diverse content in advertising.
Allocation of advertising budgets has been historically biased, and despite decades of alarm bells ringing, very little has been done to fix the racial disparities in media allocation. Then came 2020, a year that challenged us all and inspired a massive movement towards racial consciousness – and with that, American brands and agencies began taking accountability with hefty pledges to up spending within diverse media, and more specifically Black-owned media.
Unfortunately, advertisers have bumped up against antiquated buying systems with a lack of clarity around which publishers and partners are minority-owned. With the pressure on to fulfill their investment promise, brands need new ways to run large-scale minority-focused campaigns at scale. This is what makes Mirriad’s Multicultural Marketplace so special- we’re able to aggregate and surface thousands of hours of in-program ad inventory streamlining the campaign process for brands and diverse content owners.

As a seasoned industry leader, what trends do you think will be popular in the coming years?
With the rise of streaming and digital video, advertisers have the opportunity to go beyond the 15-second commercial and integrate their brand into the content experience. By using our sophisticated AI-powered platform, brands can now turn on targeting controls that deliver against campaign KPIs and contextual relevancy, something that’s never been possible in the past. Companies can use data and technology to achieve product placement at scale. Soon, advertisers will use programmatic channels through Mirriad to buy in-content advertising more seamlessly than ever, opening the doors for major growth.

With the continuous advancement of technology in the marketing industry, client preferences are also evolving in nature. How do you plan to align your products and offerings to client preferences?
Brands are looking to increase the relevance and quality of their interactions with their audience. The beauty of in-content advertising is that it is by nature contextually relevant. Brands work directly with media partners to create seamless experiences that are proven to perform significantly better than traditional media formats like commercials and video ads. The audience values in-content advertising and it even delivers lift when combined with ads. This gives our clients a lot of flexibility to be creative. They can combine product placement and ad messaging to deliver a cohesive experience, or they can deliver different experiences to different target audiences, etc.
And with the acceleration of our Multicultural Marketplace, our brand clients have an entirely new way to connect authentically with niche audiences, in an intuitive and thoughtful manner. Which helps them grow adoption across their target consumer base.

What has been your biggest challenge and your biggest learning in the industry?
I’d definitely say an awareness that this technology even exists. While most brands and publishers are doing traditional product placement, the concept of digital, AI-driven product placement brings up a host of questions. We’ve developed a unique solution that creates incredible viewer experiences, so often, showing people is easier than telling them. Once you see how seamless it can be, you’re interested.
The next part is applying all of the complex buying requirements that go along with digital advertising today from targeting to placements to a frequency – explaining how all of that works in this completely new channel and how it interacts with the rest of their media plan can require a few conversations. Recent Kantar studies found that in-content advertising is preferred 7x over traditional ad spots. In-content advertising shows incredibly high results across Ad Awareness (10 ppt), Brand Awareness (2 ppt), Favorability (5 ppt), and Consideration (5 ppt) when compared to Kantar TV norms.

Please mention some awards and recognitions that you have received during your career.
It’s been an incredible few years at Mirriad, but particularly rewarding to see my work in this space be recognized by major industry organizations. This includes the honor of being recognized by Cynopsis as a Top Woman in Media for 2020 and 2022 and nominated for an AdColor in Tech award for 2022.

How do you cope with the stress that tags along a position such as yours?
Ha. I still haven’t figured that part out! I will say I do my best to unplug when I’m feeling overwhelmed. This took years to master and I’m still working on it, especially during a pandemic that has essentially eroded work-life boundaries. But I suppose it’s something millions of people are struggling with, as many of us continue to work virtually or re-adapting to in-office settings. All I can say is, I do my best to give myself a little extra grace. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I lucked out with the best team in the business, always there when I need them to tap in!

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Maria Teresa, VP of Brand Partnerships at Mirriad

Maria Teresa is VP of Brand Partnerships at Mirriad, driving virtual brand placement campaigns in TV, Streaming, Digital, and Music content for the world’s top brands. She also spearheads Mirriad’s growing Multicultural Marketplace, which unlocks in-content inventory with diverse media owners and creators, at scale. Previously, Maria Teresa was VP of Brand Partnerships at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), served as VP of Client Strategy at Orion (IPG), and led sponsorship sales at Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN.) She is a Cynopsis 2022 and 2020 Top Women in Media winner and serves as a Board Director for The Money Hub. LinkedIn.
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