A day in the life of… SVP Enterprise Operations at Conversant
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Agatha Rymanowska: I’m the head of Enterprise Operations at Conversant, a digital media company that delivers personalized advertising to consumers across all their devices. We work directly with brands and agencies to ensure every interaction an advertiser has with their consumers is personalized, relevant and unique. I also oversee operations at our affiliate marketing arm, CJ Affiliate.
My team supports the entire client lifecycle from start to finish. Our job is to continually scale and enhance Conversant’s technology to ensure the best possible outcomes for clients. This includes several functions that are fundamental to our business:
- Integrating clients onto Conversant’s platform
- Ensuring we have the right data in support of their marketing goals
- Planning, setting up, and launching programs
- Building tools to automate manual tasks and scale our solutions
Our work in Enterprise Operations allows advertisers to build lifelong connections with their most valuable consumers. Our clients can deliver true personalization based on deep knowledge of what each consumer cares about and wants to hear, enabling impactful one-to-one conversations that are optimized in real-time. From there, clients have the ability to observe, fine-tune and measure campaign performance, so they know their marketing dollars are being spent wisely.
We also collaborate on the technical design and roll-out of new products and solutions. One of Conversant’s notable new products is Mesobase, a self-serve platform that allows clients to transparently analyze, build, activate and measure their marketing.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
AR: I was promoted to Senior Vice President last year and am a member of Conversant’s leadership team. We are a global organization with offices in 17 locations worldwide. I’m based in our Chicago headquarters and report to Conversant’s President, Ric Elert.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
AR: A passion for technology and providing superior client service. Enterprise Operations is a unique blend of behind-the-scenes technical work and interfacing with clients. You need to understand and be able to work with technology while also acting as a strategic consultant. One moment we’ll be explaining the most technical aspects of integrating onto Conversant’s platform to a client, and the next moment we’ll be coding a campaign to ensure it’s engaging the right consumers and showing the right product at the exact right time in the purchasing journey.
There’s a wide range of expertise on my team, including web technologies and knowledge of scripting languages. Troubleshooting skills, critical thinking, communication skills and teamwork are also crucial.
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
AR: Each day is different. On a typical day, you’ll find me leading a team meeting, working with clients on planning their digital marketing campaigns, collaborating with Conversant’s product team on our next innovative solution, or meeting with various teams to problem solve.
I spend a lot of time collaborating with other teams across the organization. For example, the other day I participated in a product meeting focused on a solution called Conversant Partner-Funded. Conversant Partner-Funded helps retailers maximize the return on their partners’ advertising budgets and drive sales of their partners’ products in stores and online.
I’m also very invested in the professional development of our associates and spend as much time as possible mentoring and helping associates develop a career path within our company.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
AR: I love working for such an innovative and fast-growing company. Conversant is an industry leader within the digital advertising space and is constantly pursuing innovation. There are always new challenges to tackle and new solutions to develop. Seeing our technology perform and generate incremental results for clients is extremely rewarding.
Beyond our clients and our company, we’re also driving innovation for the broader industry. With the GDPR going into effect on May 25, Conversant was one of the industry leaders working closely with the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB EU) to establish digital marketing best practices and advocating for a consistent consumer experience in accordance with the law. Our team also developed a GDPR consent tool for advertisers and publishers to gather GDPR and ePD compliant unambiguous consent from consumers for digital advertising. To help clients ensure they are privacy compliant and can continue to grow their brand under this new regulation, the tool is free and available to any advertiser or publisher.
The best part of my job is building a strong, scalable team and mentoring the next generation of company leaders. It’s truly inspiring to watch individuals grow.
The one downside is the number of meetings. On the one hand, I enjoy interacting with so many people at our company. On the other hand, I’m constantly craving more time.
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
AR: Overall, my goal is to ensure optimal integration of clients onto Conversant’s platform. Full digital integration can be somewhat overwhelming for brands, so we are continuously evolving and enhancing our integration process to make it as easy and seamless as possible for clients.
Another goal is to continue building a remarkable Enterprise Operations team that not only supports day-to-day client operations, but also contributes to the innovation and scale of Conversant’s product spectrum. One of our company mantras is “Automate to Innovate.” This means we’re encouraged and empowered to constantly challenge the status quo, and continuously improve and automate processes so our team can focus on driving added value for clients.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
AR: I live by Microsoft OneNote. I use it to organize my notes, agenda, department goals, etc. My Moleskin notebook is another must-have for staying organized.
E: How did you get into personalised marketing, and where might you go from here?
AR: I joined Conversant (then Dotomi) as a Senior Client Integration Engineer in 2010. At the time, I had minimal knowledge of the digital advertising industry, but the prospect of working at a company that was driving so much innovation in ad tech and digital media was extremely appealing. The more I learned about the company, the more I knew it was where I needed to be.
Looking ahead, my goal is to help Conversant continue to differentiate our products and ultimately increase our footprint within the industry. I’m focused on driving my team to push the envelope in automation and innovation, and raising awareness of the great work Conversant is doing.
E: Which brands do you think are using personalisation well?
AR: Effective personalization is still challenging for many brands to achieve. The most successful brands are the ones that prioritize the four key areas of personalization – identity, data, optimization through machine learning, and return on marketing investment – which must work in tandem to generate the highest performance. It also takes time, specific industry expertise and massive scale.
Cabela’s and Road Scholar are two brands that are using personalization well and driving a high return on marketing investment.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in this area?
AR: Ad tech is a complex and rapidly changing industry. Whether you’re just entering the field or have been in it for years, my advice is do all you can to stay at the forefront.
Learning and development are key. Do your research, read as much as possible, and make connections with peers or mentors you can learn from. You’ll never have all the answers in this industry but you can continuously pursue opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills.