Last month, we were thrilled to welcome Marco Ruivenkamp to the SpotX team. With over 20 years of experience in digital media, and deep expertise in the programmatic advertising space, Marco was a perfect fit to lead our Benelux office and continue the integration of our smartclip multi-screen solution. Marco recently joined us for a conversation about how he’s putting his experience into action at SpotX, the opportunities he sees for catalyzing relationships with Dutch broadcasters, and what’s in store for the future of programmatic.
You’ve been on the job for a few weeks now. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think back on those first few weeks?
If you start a new job, the first thing that you really look at is the legacy that you find. The business that Elwin and Jeroen has set up is pretty spectacular, especially in terms of broadcaster integrations. Initially, I looked at the proposition of the company as well as the people that we have on board and are working with through our various partnerships. I’ve been very impressed with the way that SpotX is set up — externally, with all the broadcasters being lined up, and internally, the passionate people on the team with their “let’s do it approach” who are nice and knowledgeable. So I’ve got a very positive feeling about the first few weeks.
What is your impression of SpotX, the local teams and the international team members you’ve had a chance to meet?
During the first couple of weeks, I spent a lot of time with the local teams of course. We’ve been looking at the supply team and the demand team, and at how are they working together. How can we grow the business and where are the opportunities and threats? That’s what I’ve basically been looking at internally for the moment. From the international team, I’ve only met Mike who is a great and funny character. I’m very much looking forward to working with him.
Why SpotX? And what excites you the most about working at SpotX?
I’ve had many different roles and worked at various companies, though mostly on the demand side, so the supply side is something new for me that I’m excited to explore. I’m convinced that with my experience and the network that I’ve built over the last ten years on the demand side, working for agencies and tech companies like Yahoo and Turn, we have a good match.
You’ve had an incredibly diverse career — what is the common thread running through your various experiences?
Starting in programmatic in 2012, I saw the whole market growing and noticed that the key pillars in programmatic are media, data, technology and creation. These areas need to be aligned with each other in a better way. That is something that I’ve been focussing on the demand side and I’m looking forward to doing that on the supply side as well.
You’ve just mentioned media, data, technology and creation as important pillars in our ecosystem. What else do you think will be important for 2018 and 2019?
If you compare the ecosystem that we live in today with where we started in 2012, you’ll see a lot of differences. Originally, there were about 350 logos on the Luma ecosystem landscape, and nowadays it includes more than 5000. It’s very difficult to control a certain area of that market and, on the other hand, I believe that technology will become a commodity. Of course, product features and innovations are very important, but I believe that we will grow from a product-focused market to one based around service. And therefore, I think the SpotX Benelux office has a promising future.
How does SpotX make a difference in this slightly overcrowded market in the Benelux?
Having entered the region a couple years ago in the Netherlands, SpotX is already an established company with a strong position in the market. If we specifically look at video, a lot of advertiser money goes to Google and Facebook, but when you look at the integration at SpotX with our wide roster of broadcasters, we are in a very good spot to move forward and win over some of those budgets. Agencies are very much looking forward to a one-stop shop where they can buy across all broadcasters’ inventory at once, instead of having to go through four or five different routes. And SpotX in the Benelux can facilitate this at a very high level. That is how we continue to make a difference in this market.
To get to know you better on a personal level, can you share with us who has been the greatest influence on your life?
On a personal level, it has been my mother. She passed away 15 years ago but she has been the greatest influence on my life. She always encouraged me to push further and never become too comfortable. “Do not sit and wait — go for it. Be assertive, be passionate about what you do!” If you’re not passionate, leave and do something else. That really helped me to grow to who and where I am now.
… and in your career?
From a business perspective, I’ve worked with a lot of different companies and people, and these experiences teach you both how and how not to do certain things. For example, at Yahoo, I learned how important it is to pay equal attention to both management and products. And in the time that I worked at Turn, I learned that when you are growing fast you should not forget to put structure in place. So I’ve learned something from everyone that I’ve met who has influenced my career.
How would you put what your mom taught you into practice for SpotX?
Products are very important, but we are very much in a people-oriented business. If you can make people happy and inspire them to take the next step, that is what makes the company better. More importantly, that ethos makes people happier as well. That will be one of the areas I will focus on in the next 100 days.
Talking about focus areas, what are your goals as the new MD of SpotX Benelux?
Good question. The first thing that comes into my mind is… to make people happy! We need to look at people’s’ strengths and what they are passionate about, and capitalize on that and enable them to really put those skills into practice. Secondly, we need to look at how we are integrating with smartclip, which is not an easy one for the Benelux. And another main focus for the team, especially on the account management side, is to look at the ways we can upgrade service and grow from a reactive to a proactive approach. I believe that is one of the most important assets that people are looking for when choosing someone to work with.
Thanks for being so open and sharing your thoughts with us. We’ve come to the end of this Q&A and you answered our questions, but is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
You always have a feeling about companies when you start working there. I’ve got a very positive feeling about working at SpotX and I’m really looking forward to working with everybody, across all of Europe as well as the US.