It is often touted by industry experts that there are not enough women in leadership positions in AdTech. In 2015 AdTech company Maxifier was referenced in a Business Insider article stating that women accounted for less than 3% of AdTech CEOs.
Whilst these stats haven’t changed much since then for women in leadership positions, progress is happening. As a woman who represents circa 50% of the Australian population, I am proud to have successfully bucked the trend.
Today, I am the Head of Platforms in Australia for one of the largest global media and technology companies in the world. Tomorrow, whilst still unknown, is filled with an abundance of opportunities waiting for me to grasp with both hands. Why? Well, this is because technology has changed everything. Technology has allowed people with drive and ambition to re-invent their careers in order to gain a competitive advantage irrespective of their gender.
My accomplishments today have been driven by an appetite to be first and to be different.
I started my career working in search advertising in the early 2000’s. It was at the time where most people were using online portals like AOL and Yahoo to navigate and find information on the Internet. Advertising dollars were pouring into these portals as marketers chased the audiences that they attracted.
Meanwhile, the momentum in search advertising, a traditionally dry industry, was beginning to build and only a few people at the time had the experience, desire or foresight to take advantage of this movement. Since then, search advertising has grown to become one of the biggest revenue generators in the advertising industry and has made Google an international powerhouse.
5 years later I moved into data driven marketing. It was during a time where brands were buying on websites – spraying their banner ads everywhere in hopes that their message would resonate with people and that consumers would buy their products or services as a result. Marketers were buying reach and scale because they wanted to be on the most visited websites on the Internet. Not many people in the industry understood data driven marketing or appetite for it. That was until the Global Financial Crisis hit.
Marketing budgets were slashed and marketers demanded greater return on their investment. They looked to data to guide their advertising decisions. Deals were made on market intelligence and online behaviour data. The Mad Men era where deals were made over boozy lunches were well and truly over.
Let’s fast forward to the present day … I am at the dawn of another adverting revolution. We are experiencing the advent of advertising automation powered by Big Data and machine learning. I am fortunate to be working with artificial intelligent machines. They are built on self-learning algorithms that leverage petabytes of audience data to make real-time, predictive and autonomous decisions on what ads to serve to people based on their interest and life stage.
As a woman in AdTech, I have driven my career by identifying niche but fast growing sectors of the industry and championing them. It often meant being entrepreneurial. I had to become a self-starter with a growth mindset and develop the drive to create and become part of something truly amazing. At every stage of my career, I was entering unestablished and nascent territories. It required me to proactively self learn, deal with ambiguity and create processes that did not previously exist. This in turn enabled me to build my career and become a successful female leader in my field.
Yes, women are still underrepresented in senior management positions and yes, AdTech is no exception but I truly believe that technology has evened the playing field. What my Future Anything looks like is dependent on the next new adventure that I choose to explore …
Will robots and virtual assistants like Amazon Echo redefine the advertising industry? Will virtual reality change the way brands interact with people? Will the Internet of Things like digital wearables alter the way marketers sell and service consumer needs? Who knows? What I do know is that in my field of work, these industries are relatively new and untapped. As a result, they provide a great platform for a bright spark and curious mind to reinvent their next career. I believe that technology is creating a new and flexible world, free from the shackles of the glass ceiling.