I was born under summer sun in the desert city of Yuma Arizona. Yuma receives the most recorded mean of sunshine of anywhere on Earth and is home to the busiest air station in the United States Marine Corps. At the time of my birth the temperature was 101 degrees. My first name (Stephanie) comes from the Greek name Στέφανος meaning Crown; victorious.
From the start, I naturally gravitated towards a few specific things. One of them was the stage. As a child, this pull to perform manifested as a successful streak winning beauty pageants. I remember enjoying pageants and I thought it was cool I was good at them. Crown or not however, coincidentally, from the start, I have always known I am a Queen.
When we are all born, the Sun, the Moon, planets and stars are uniquely positioned across the celestial heavens above. Each astronomical body and it's position together paint a blueprint of our soul imprinted in the sky.
When I was born, the Sun was in Leo; a fire sign ruled by the Sun itself and marked by the symbol of a fearless lion. The Moon was in Aries. Also a fire sign, Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of energy and drive. In mythology, Mars was the god of war. The sign on the cusp of the 1st house was in Capricorn; a power sign ruled by the ambitious and persevering energy of planet Saturn. When I was born, this ruling planet of my natal chart was in the 11th astrological house; the house of dreams.
For those curious, years ago Mufasa came to be a nickname spun from a phonetic similarity to my surname. I vibed with the synchronicity.
It is a pleasure to meet you.
pro·gram·mat·ic ad·ver·tis·ing (noun)
// the use of automated, data-driven processes to buy, sell and algorithmically optimize media.
When it comes to programmatic media, I do consider myself to be one of the OGs. For context, some history:
When the world wide web exploded, a boom in multiplying web domains and internet content created a vast new source of digital advertising inventory. This source of ad inventory was highly desirable to both marketers and web publishers alike; a major challenge however was in the ability to effectively transact.
As a solution to enable marketers to buy digital ads at scale, companies called ad networks came into existence. While ad networks filled a need, they also created a lot of problems. It was not uncommon for media buyers to be faced with insufficient transparency across most (if not all) critically important aspects of a media buy. Buyers also typically had no transparency into the variable cost of an ad impression making it easy for some ad networks to bundle low quality supply together and sell it at dishonest premiums. The industry needed to evolve.
A powerful turning point arrived in the digital ad world with the introduction of technologies called ad exchanges (AEs) and demand side platforms (DSPs). An AE is a marketplace where digital ad space can be bought in real-time via bidded auctions (RTB). These ad trades are executed in a software called demand side platforms (DSPs). DSPs centralize the many technical complexities of the digital buying process and are built with machine learning algorithms to systematically optimize media.
Using a DSP to execute an RTB buy enables a marketing technique known as addressable media; the targeting of unique audiences with personalized ad experiences. Bidders built into DSPs can be programmed to execute billions of complex ad trades in less then a millisecond while simultaneously valuing conversion propensity so that the right ad, can be placed in front of the right user, at the right time, for the best price.
To meet demand and best service clients, many advertising agencies during this time created centralized programmatic hubs. Programmatic buying is different then traditional media buying in that it necessitates a robust technical infrastructure and complex activation processes. Publicis Groupe (one of the largest advertising agencies in the world) formed the first ever knowledge center of this kind called VivaKi. It is here and at Havas Media (another large global ad agency) where I had the great privilege to first hone my programmatic expertise.
At VivaKi, I was the first programmatic media planner hired in Chicago (an office that would soon swell to 200+ employees). At Havas, I was brought on to start up the Chicago operation of its programmatic hub which now functions as Havas' North American trading headquarters. I have led programmatic strategy and execution teams responsible for over $50 million in collective media budgets (while also earning my Masters in Business and certification in front and backend web development).
I am a visionary. I am an analyst, a designer and an optimization engineer. And I execute effective media experiences that always deliver.