The IAB SEA+India Programmatic Committee returns in 2019 with its search for the industry’s brightest talents behind the technology. Find out how these passionate practitioners got started, the secrets behind their success and what they are doing to drive the industry forward.

“What excites me the most about working in programmatic is its ability to seamlessly marry art with science,” shares Riddhima Minocha, an account manager at The Trade Desk and IAB SEA+India’s Programmatic Rising Star of 2019.

A standout innovator and creative thinker, Minocha, who is lovingly known by her colleagues as Red, is recognized for her ability to look out for bold, creative opportunities both within and outside her organization. In May 2018, she executed one of The Trade Desk’s first-ever connected TV campaigns in Hong Kong. Shortly after, she led the organization’s first-ever augmented reality campaign in Asia.

“Minocha is one of the rare professionals who have the skills to engage on multiple levels across all teams,” shared Peter Besselink, the programmatic client lead at Mindshare. “From top-level brand strategy to campaign level tactics and optimizations with traders, she has been a fully trusted resource to our account in the past 1.5 years.

When Minocha is not going from barre to bar, skydiving or surfing, she dedicates her time to raising the profile of programmatic and adtech. A passionate advocate for women in ad tech, diversity, inclusion and transparency, she seeks out opportunities to participate and facilitate conversations around tech and gender equality, such as ‘Women in Digital London’ 2017.

When thrown a curveball, Minocha hits it out of the park. From troubleshooting creatives to collaborating with partners on a brand pitch, Minocha enjoys wearing multiple hats and raises the bar when it comes to being dynamic, open and diverse, paving the way for the industry to follow suit.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

  • Since kindergarten, I was obsessed with all things biology. From playing with toy stethoscopes as a child, watching Grey’s Anatomy, reading Oliver Sacks’ books to spending my summers interning at hospitals and research labs, I always dreamed of pursuing medicine as a career.
  • In university, I majored in bioengineering with a minor in psychology. Along the way, as I took up research projects in cancer and stem cell therapy, I realized my ambitions were more suited to a corporate career. Life (with my brain) worked in mysterious ways – and, here I am!
  • The most exciting part about working in programmatic is how it can seamlessly marry art and science and this – the inner scientist in me thoroughly enjoys.

What is one thing you wished you had known before starting your programmatic career?

  • The importance of being 10 steps ahead. This industry is always forward-thinking and fast-paced. Coming from a different background, I definitely did not expect to be subjected to such a steep learning curve that continues to grow every day. Quoting my colleague, being an entrant in programmatic is like “drinking from a fire hose”. Luckily, I’ve always been curious and enjoyed drinking my way out of it.

In no more than five sentences, describe what a typical work day would look like for you.

  • My day typically entails juggling time between internal and external meetings, product demonstrations and training sessions, proactive as well as reactive client servicing, multiple trips to the pantry to fuel myself with caffeine, constant collaboration across different teams and soaking in as much knowledge as I can – all while having fun.

Phrase or word you never want to hear again.

  • “Let’s allocate the leftover budget to programmatic”.

If there was one key ingredient for any successful campaign, what would it be?

  • Defining clear and realistic objectives. Often times, campaign objectives tend to be based on past performance, benchmarked against other channels or defined at random. It is really important to take a step back, wear the brand marketer’s hat and think about the bigger picture. Realistic goal setting will help set your campaign up for success and enable traders to have a clear KPI to optimize towards.

What is one thing you look forward to changing in the industry?

  • A key aspect of my job is to consult with and educate agencies and brands on the benefits of programmatic. Programmatic has this reputation of being “too complicated”, “low quality” and “not brand safe”. As the industry continues to evolve, I’d love to be involved in initiatives to demystify and simplify adtech, and to debunk the stereotypical myths associated with it.

How do you predict programmatic will change the future/evolve?

  • Today, programmatic is typically one among the many lines in a media plan. The digitization of channels such as connected TV, audio and out of home, especially in emerging markets in Asia, will lead to the convergence of cross-channel marketing strategies into a single line. Programmatic’s unique ability to merge marketing, data, and technology will enable it to change the future of advertising, making it more efficient and time-saving for marketers.

How do you keep learning in a fast-changing environment like programmatic?

  • Personally, I feel that it is very important to stay humble, curious and adopt a self-starter approach to learning. Adopting this approach has kept me going in keeping abreast with the whirlwind of changes in the industry. Quoting my colleague – “Red has constant FOMO”. This FOMO drives me to keep my eyes and ears open, with all hands on deck, be it via industry news articles, my LinkedIn feed, networking events or even hearsay (at times).

This article was written by IAB Singapore Programmatic Co-Chair Zachary King, Vice President of Commercial at MediaMath. This article was originally published on The Drum.