It’s about time that marketers have the power to shape their own customer experience. Read how MediaWallah is enabling that!
As data fragmentation and “black box” data providers pose challenges to the marketing industry, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers, publishers, and platforms to connect data on their own terms. However, Nancy Marzouk, CEO & Founder of MediaWallah, believes in a future where autonomy is the norm and marketers have the power to shape their own customer experience.
In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Nancy to learn more about her vision for the marketing industry and the groundbreaking identity-by-design solutions that MediaWallah offers as the answer to the challenges of walled gardens and fragmented data.
Let’s dive in!
Nancy, please tell us about your professional journey so far.
I’ve been leading teams in digital marketing and adtech for a very long time – since the early Dot Com days. A few organizations where I’ve held leadership roles include MaxOnline, where I stayed on through acquisitions by Ask Jeeves and then IAC; DrivePM, where I stayed on through the acquisition by Microsoft; [X+1] through its acquisition by RocketFuel; and Ignition One. For most of my digital career, I’ve been in sales and revenue leadership, most recently, before founding MediaWallah, I was working as Chief Revenue Officer at tag management company TagMan.
What was the inspiration behind founding MediaWallah?
Throughout my career, I’ve seen the constant challenges that marketers, publishers, and technologies alike all face in corralling fragmented data across channels and silos. I was drawn to identity resolution for media activation and measurement – the science of building a single customer record that spans channels and data sets – as the solution to that problem.
Within identity, I realized that solutions were lacking for customers that wanted to do unique and advanced things with their data sets. Many of the identity offerings weren’t configurable or transparent enough to help them achieve this. By advanced, I mean anything from building very complex customer experience journeys to creating unique protocols for data governance and security. I founded MediaWallah to serve those companies looking to work with cutting-edge identity data within a scalable, secure environment.
What are the vision, mission, and values of your organization?
Broadly put, we’re here to help companies unlock the full value of their data to drive lasting growth. To that end, MediaWallah empowers brands, publishers, and tech platforms to transform how they work with identity resolution. We stand for the relentless support of our customers and an equally relentless commitment to innovation.
Tell us more about the comprehensive set of solutions that your company provides. What makes you stand out from the competition?
Identity is all about managing data in a secure way to increase your understanding of your customer and consolidate disparate data sets—both internal and external — accurately, and activate that data across marketing and advertising channels. All of this requires new capabilities and data sets. Our solutions and services provide our clients with the matching data and configurable workflow they need to build customized sustainable graphs to manage data fragmentation across all their own omnichannel and cross-functional data and their partner data. Our identity-by-design approach establishes a framework for our clients to enhance and adapt their technical infrastructure while maintaining control over their data to comply with the highest privacy and security.
To be clear, there are many companies that offer identity resolution solutions–and whose solution sets are excellent. Other identity companies serve clients looking to outsource identity resolution: you hand over your data and they manage identity keys on your behalf to enable activation and analytics at a high level. That works perfectly when managing third-party IDs; but as more sensitive data takes center stage, more transparency becomes critical to manage data compliance and governance. That’s where we come into play. We’re here to help companies looking to power “in-house identity” and maintain control. Our solutions are based on highly configurable technology and expertise to support very bespoke identity use cases.
Tell us about your recent partnership with Snowflake and how will it further your company’s growth.
We recently announced that we’ve partnered with Snowflake to make our identity resolution data available on Snowflake Marketplace. This is the first in a series of forthcoming announcements with Snowflake and is indicative of our wider strategy. With the depreciation of third-party IDs and the shift to using user-authenticated data as a bridge to connect datasets, companies absolutely need control and transparency.
Companies with data within the Snowflake Data Cloud need an embedded identity to enable targeting and measurement while maintaining evolving data compliance. In practical terms, that means you can work with our data and yours with fantastic security, speed, and accuracy – for near-instant data ingestion and virtually zero signal loss for data management.
The partnership also puts one of our core backend properties to work for our customers. We’re a Snowflake-first identity solution – our identity graph already lives within Snowflake – which gives us vast experience in data configuration within Snowflake Data Cloud. That’s the expertise we can put to direct use for customers looking for unique interactions between our data sets with Snowflake as the bridge.
For MediaWallah, this means a great growth opportunity to work with Snowflake’s customers for data management. Given the astounding clip at which Snowflake’s user base has grown, it’s a tremendous growth opportunity for MediaWallah as well.
As a leader, what has been your biggest challenge working in the marketing sector?
Marketing is an industry that’s been in constant flux for the past 20 years, and the pace of change has only accelerated with new – largely welcome – privacy changes and regulations. This means you’re constantly strategizing toward a moving target. Success means being able to pivot, keeping multiple options open at any time, and being on the constant lookout for black swans.
One benefit of my years in the industry is that, as the saying goes, history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes. Often there will be ‘new’ developments that take people by surprise but those of us who’ve been in the business for a while know that this is similar to something that’s happened before – and we know how to solve it already, it just needs to be updated for the new reality.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I hire people who are self-starting domain experts and trust them to guide their part of the business where it needs to go. That said, I have my own strong opinions and am not afraid to step in when I feel a certain direction needs to be taken. I work hard to build a solid corporate culture across our mostly-virtual team, including one small fun item built into the week. I’m working towards an atmosphere where disagreement is totally welcome, but at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team and work to align with one another quickly.
According to you, what tech trends will dominate the industry in the coming years? How do you see the marketing landscape changing in the future?
I think the biggest change we’re seeing is increased fragmentation across platforms and advertising channels combined with signal loss – which drives the fragmentation even further. That’s going to put increased pressure on companies to rely on their own first-party data, which in turn will drive an increase in more bespoke tech stacks and operations — things need to be more tailored and secure when you’re working with your own data and your customers’ consented information.
In turn, that change will drive further use of first-party data to drive bespoke solutions. We’re already seeing that, for instance, with the rise of the retail media network as well as the birth of vertical-specific ad tech.
What advice would you offer to budding entrepreneurs and aspirants who wish to venture into the marketing industry?
I’d advise the same thing to budding entrepreneurs in any industry: Be conservative with your runway – as the last few years have proven, anything can happen and you don’t want to be in the position to need to fundraise in a downturn. Second, work to have a well-researched MVP to take to market ASAP, and focus on generating revenue from Day One. It’s a formula we’ve followed at MediaWallah and it’s kept us profitable and healthy amidst a very tough time for the marketing tech industry overall.
Please share with us some prominent awards and accolades that MediaWallah has received in its active years.
Our awards have included the Inc 5000 honoring America’s fastest-growing private companies, and recognition as a finalist for the AdExchanger Awards for Best Identity Technology.
How do you deal with the stress that comes with a role such as yours?
I have a strong support network – my family first, and my friends. It helps that I’ve grown up in the marketing industry so the people I need to turn to for a fresh perspective are many of my closest and dearest friends.
Tune in to MTC Podcast for visionary Martech Trends, Martech News, and quick updates by business experts and leaders!!!