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Under the Hood with Lotame’s Jason Downie

April 25, 2017

Lotame's SVP and GM Data Solutions, Jason DownieIn this week’s “Under the Hood” employee spotlight, we talk to Jason Downie, Lotame’s SVP and General Manager of Data Solutions.

Tell us about your background, and how you arrived in your current position.

My background is in Management Consulting. Prior to joining Lotame, I worked at Bain and Company for 10 years, on cases in many different industries, including banking, aluminum, rental cars, temporary staffing, and even toilet manufacturing!  After leaving Bain, I had a few alternative careers, singing and touring with an acappella group, and owning a bar.  I stumbled onto Lotame in 2010 when I was looking for something new. I started on the data team as an analyst, and quickly grew into the role of manager when the opportunity presented itself.

Tell us about leading the Data team at Lotame. Is there ever a “typical” day at work?

Like most roles in our space, a typical day is atypical.  Our team has grown from 3 in the US to 20 internationally in the last 4 years.  Every day, alongside my teammates, there are data providers to vet and recruit, sales meetings to attend, product folks to brainstorm with, new data products to create, and new cities to visit.  I just came back from a week in Australia meeting with our team and clients there.  Very cool.

How has data sales evolved in the last five years?

We started with 9 segments to sell in 2011, including “Couch Potatoes”, “Jet-Setting Travelers” and “Sports Nuts”.  We had 50MM cookies.  We sold in 3 channels.  Today we have over 5000 segments made from billions of worldwide device IDs and cookies, being sold in over 30 channels.  It’s been a challenging and amazing ride with incredibly talented Lotamites.

Are there any particular qualities you look for when hiring someone for your team? How can you tell if someone is going to be a good fit when you first meet them?

We look for friendly, team-player brainiacs. Culture is everything at Lotame. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. Working at Bain for 10 years, I was blown away by the culture there – everyone rowing in the same direction to help clients win. I see the same things here.

Data Scale vs Data Quality: Which is more important to marketers?

Both are very important.  In the early days, scale was everything, as data supply was scarce.  In 2017, marketers are much more sophisticated, and are demanding ever-better results on KPI’s, including higher viewability, reduced fraud, lower CPAs, better demo on-target percentages, etc.  Higher ROI.  But the daily challenge is mixing those needs with the scale required to deliver a campaign in full.

Tell us the steps Lotame is taking to increase the quality of our data.

We are constantly vetting and adding new sources of data.  Collection methodology, transparency, accuracy, and reputation are all considered.  In addition, Lotame is continually investing in technology to improve existing data product quality, and to create new high-quality data products.  We’ve invested over 3 years in a process to create High On-Target DAR and vCE segments.  Our cross-device technology is constantly being improved with new truth sets.  And lately, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about viewability and fraud at the data level.  We secured a partnership with Are You a Human to clean our data of bots, and target humans with high engagement.

If you could give one piece of advice to somebody new to the AdTech industry, what would it be?

Learn, be flexible, have fun.  I am so thankful to have stumbled into AdTech 7 years ago. Like 99% of the population, I never knew what a “publisher” was, or what “online media” meant.  The industry is flush with opportunities to learn about technology, business development, M&A and product development.  And plenty of smart people to learn from.

Tell us something we don’t already know about you.

I grew up in Boston, and I am a huge sports nut.  It is unpleasant to watch a Patriots game with me.  And I love Barry Manilow, because my mom brainwashed me in the 70’s.