Interview with Marika Roque from Kerv Interactive on Video Marketing

Marika Roque

Marika Roque from Kerv Interactive embraces Martech Cube yet again, this time she talks about the role of interactive content & video marketing in the eCommerce industry

1. Tell us about your role at KERV?
I am the Chief Operating Officer, meaning that I oversee the entirety of the KERV Operation. I love not only managing the highly technical elements of what my job requires but also the team elements. I manage several departments such as Digital Strategy, Platform Growth, and Support and Client Services, and getting them to work together in the most efficient and effective manner is more than just an operational feat. Being in the role of COO at a startup is an exhilarating experience. The company is growing right before our eyes, so the needs and expectations of the role evolve very quickly.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into the Martech arena?
I was always bound to be in Martech. I am a problem solver, and technology is all about problem-solving, but my career path was a bit interesting. At my first agency job within the Publicis holding company, I could have been assigned to any account from a fashion brand to a QSR but I was assigned to a highly technical B2B account. While my friends and colleagues were working on brands such as Nintendo and Budweiser, I was thinking about ways to target IT decision-makers; and this was when targeting at this niche level was very difficult, nearly impossible. I worked on new business for the agency while also helping roll out their first programmatic desk when the tech just wasn’t there yet. These challenges were so much fun! From there I found myself managing technical departments and growing them. My Executive career began while I was at Lin Digital, where I managed through several acquisitions. While those were always difficult, building products through technology remained a common thread. I have a passion for not only Martech but for the combination of Martech and building strong, thriving infrastructures to support and grow the technology.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading the advertising and marketing Sector?
Watching the evolution of technology throughout my career thus far has been remarkable and nearly overwhelming. I spent so much of my time, early in my career, working on tasks that are now so much easier! Technology is allowing processes to be run much more quickly so that resources are being used in more thoughtful and strategic ways. I never fear automating any members of the team as our teams are always pushing boundaries and strategizing with the future in mind. More can definitely get done within the team as well, but the teams WANT automation so that they can keep building, which is a huge upgrade of that time and those resources. Companies such as KERV are creating products that create new experiences, new data sets, and new ways to tell stories all via technology. Technology is breaking barriers!

4. How, according to you, are interactive video solutions impacting the ad tech sector?
Interactive video solutions are creating entirely new dimensions for existing video assets. If we are talking about retail, for example, KERV’s technology is able to visually correlate in-video elements with product feeds. We also have cart integrations in place so that transactions can be completed within the video. I love the idea of the video complete KPI being replaced with more action-based elements as the sector grows. If we are talking about a less straightforward example, such as travel, KERV is still able to identify what is in the video with our AI and machine learning technology and then connect that with an experience. For example, we can identify monuments or context such as eating at a restaurant or logos. This not only allows us to curate entirely new experiences within video content that has historically just been distributed for views but we can also all analyze hundreds of additional touchpoints seamlessly so this process doesn’t pull on our clients. At a high level- interactive video solutions are creating new experiences and new metadata that will intrinsically change the way that consumers interact with video. New data on consumers will be available based on the ways that they interact and new performance methodologies will need to be created as passive experiences become fully immersive.

5. What do you think is the impact of interactive video on eCommerce?

Video will no longer be separate from eCommerce. Instead, video will be a strong pillar within every eCommerce strategy. Video is expensive but it is correlated with strong ROI if done well.

With interactive and shoppable elements, that ROI is even greater. With KERV’s technology, you can tap and learn about anything, so you know exactly what the product is that you’re interested in, within any video. Influencers can interact with a product in a video and you can see all the product’s specs as you’re watching. Videos are already ads in terms of product placement but now the path to purchase is nearly nonexistent. Interactive allows the funnel and that path to exist all within one session; within one experience.

6. How is personalization & optimization changing the face of Customer Engagement?
Personalization and optimization are allowing each user session to be much more impactful. Personalization increases the likelihood that an interaction or action is taken at all, but personalization is not one size fits all. Optimization is one of the most powerful tools within AdTech. Each time consumers see content, the experience should be optimized based on who they are, how they have interacted in the past, and how we can define their interests. Personalization and optimization allow consumers to define what and how they want to engage. As that evolves, customer engagement will hit highs we have not seen yet- although they already are- there is always optimization to be done.

7. How are interactive videos empowering businesses & How KERV is helping businesses grow digitally?
KERV’s technology allows our customers to use existing video assets that they are also using in other areas so there is no need to custom produce. When KERV processes these videos, KERV adds over 10x the digital touchpoints and interactions to the videos, which increases customer engagement significantly. As users interact, KERV’s technology can be used to conduct the personalization and optimization that we just touched on. Even if a client only has 1 video, KERV can push users via cookieless sequential methodologies down the conversion funnel or consumer decision journey all within optimized versions of KERV’s technology. KERV’s technology can further communicate business messages in an easier to optimize fashion- within video. It can be used to create different versions of that message for different types of users and increases ROI for our customers, using their assets. Our clients are strengthening their eCommerce and web presence and KERV’s technology simply boosts how video plays within those strategies.

8. What advice would you like to give to technology startups?
a. Focus. Find your niche. What are you good at? Why is your technology unique? Then figure out how to do that not only just well, but the best. Optimize. Grow. But always remember and focus on that foundation.
b. Listen to the market and respond, while remembering your key competencies, If your technology isn’t resonating, perhaps just a small pivot of your same primary value is needed. If you wait too long this can break you.
c. The above 2 ideas are a juggle. The last note is to build a core team that works well together as the above 2 ideas can clash if you do not have the right team to carry out the vision.

9. Shoppable Ads are a trend these days and are termed as a game changer in the Martech Arena. What is the major factor behind this?
Video has historically been viewed as a passive investment with either a completion or click KPI and now video investments can drive lower funnel results while generating intention data. There are currently lift and impact studies that can be run on video but the data can’t usually be used until post-campaign, while these new shoppable formats allow personalization and optimization in-flight, taking the action-based impact that much further.

10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time and what is the future of advertising in terms of Customer Engagement and Customer Experience?
We are making major headway with the metadata that our technology yields. You are going to see some major updates from KERV in terms of us merging new targeting data with our interactive and shoppable formats. We are going to be first to market with new real-time data capabilities that will drive major value in the OTT and CTV space. We are also finishing up a data product that will drive additional value for our larger brands within TikTok. Keep your eye on KERV!

11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I am nothing without my team and KERV is nothing without our amazing group. My team is full of detail-oriented, innovators. We are building a company together and we support each other every day. On one side of the business, we have a group that is visualizing KERV in the market in the most beautiful way. We have a team that is constantly testing and pushing the tech and how we can optimize. I push our tech hard and the team is constantly supporting this vision whether it be via tech, process, or operational innovations.

12. Which book are you currently reading?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?

work culture
work culture
old kerv office
old kerv office
people around table

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
a. Slack
b. NYTimes
c. Target
d. Public
e. Peloton
f. Shine

See the original article published here.

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Devin Monds
Head of EMEA Sales

Devin is a dedicated and experienced media sales professional with over 15 years in the digital media space in both North America and EMEA. He most recently headed up the International Team at Adludio, the premier advertising platform for delivering strong creative on mobile devices. Prior to his role at Adludio, Devin worked on the Global Brand Partnerships team at CAA Sports in London, and was International Sales Director at LoopMe where he built out the US West Coast Sales Team from Los Angeles. With a proven track record of new business development and revenue generation, Devin has a multitude of solid relationships with brands and agencies, globally.

He relishes the opportunity to engage with new clients on a daily basis, in order to identify tailored solutions that can drive their desired outcomes. Furthermore, he takes pride in his culinary skills, often experimenting with new recipes and delivering delectable results.

    Brad Quinn
    VP of Publisher Development

    Brad Quinn is the VP of Publisher Partnerships based out of our NYC office. He has over 15 years of experience across Agencies, Publishers and Tech. At KERV, Brad leads the Partnerships team focused on content providers and distributors. He integrates KERV’s tech capabilities across ads and content to create a real‑time interactive/shoppable experience.

    David Knight
    VP of Engineering

    Before joining KERV in 2018, David Knight spent over 31 years building software products for large corporations like IBM and Schlumberger, 3-person “garage” startups and everything in between. He’s spent the last 15 years discovering and refining the tools, development process, and necessary culture that create great Engineering teams capable of meeting the special demands of technology driven startups.

    Dan Bloomfield
    VP of Technical Ad Operations

    After spending time living in New York and working for NBC Universal’s first digital operations team Daniel moved to Austin in 2009 to further pursue ad tech. During the next decade, he built a career working on interactive video first for Sizmek and then Nexstar. He immediately jumped at the idea to work for KERV and was one of the first to join the company in 2017.

    Creed Pettit
    SVP, Head of Partnerships

    Creed Pettit is an entrepreneurial sales executive offering experience in all aspects of solutions selling, team management, negotiation, organizational leadership, go-to-market strategies and momentum driven models. Prior to joining KERV, Creed served as Media & Entertainment Vertical Sales Leader, Global Business Solutions at TikTok.

    Karen Germ
    VP of Marketing

    Karen Germ is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with a nearly 15‑year history serving in leadership roles across the advertising and technology landscape. Most recently, Karen served as OAAA’s VP of Marketing where she implemented industry leading initiatives to elevate and promote the power of OOH for advertisers, agencies, partners and consumers. 

    Ryan Schoenfeld
    VP of Digital Strategy

    Ryan Schoenfeld’s career started as an intern at a smaller digital media agency while attending the University of Texas. Since then, he has spent over 15 years working in the programmatic advertising/video space.

    Bill Roberson
    VP of Media

    Bill Roberson has worked in the digital space for over 17 years, spanning Media Buying, Ad Operations, Analytics and Optimization, Account Management and now Creative.

    Grant Gorton
    VP of Creative

    Grant has been with KERV as VP of Creative for over 5 years, and has worked as a designer and creative director at agencies and media companies for the last 17 years.

    Michael Fleischman

    Michael Fleischman serves as the CFO at KERV Interactive in addition to being an Executive Residence at Progress Partners, a Merchant Investment Bank and Venture Fund. Prior to KERV Interactive, Michael was the CFO and current Board Member at Digital Remedy, a privately-held media execution company supporting agencies, publishers, and brands in navigating the complex adtech landscape of digital success.

    Previous to Digital Remedy, Michael spent 20 years at Cablevision and Rainbow Media Holdings during which he was instrumental in the launch and management of multiple regional sports networks and a number of national cable networks including American Movie Classics, Bravo, The Independent Film Channel as well as the structuring of partnerships with companies including Liberty Media, NBC, Fox/NewsCorp, and MGM. 

    A native of the New York City area, Michael resides with his wife where he enjoys biking, tennis  and spending time with his wife and three adult children.

    Taylor Pate

    Taylor Pate serves as CTO at KERV Interactive. Taylor’s experiences in the advertising and creative industry spans 14. He began his career in 2008, working as a designer, animator and art director specializing in the design and production of interactive art. Early in his career, he created 3D character animations and tools for best-selling video game series The Sims while working at Edge of Reality, who developed video games for Nintendo 64, GameCube, PlayStation and Xbox.

    In 2012, Taylor made the shift to work in-house at an online advertising and media services agency, LIN Digital, where he was promoted multiple times in a four-year span. He worked on a variety of online, interactive projects for clients while also developing and automating internal tools and processes. Taylor then spent the next two years working as the director of engineering at multi-platform digital media company HYFN Local, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC.

    Jay Wolff

    Jay Wolff serves as Chief Revenue Officer at KERV Interactive, leading global revenue and partnerships, in addition to being the Executive Vice President of 212 NYC, New York’s leading organization for the digital advertising industry. 

    Jay’s expertise in revenue and partner growth in the advertising industry spans 19 years. Most recently, Jay served as CRO of Varick Media, and Chief Growth Officer at Boostr, the first end-to-end SaaS revenue management system for media companies. Previously, as Regional Vice President of SambaTV, Wolff built the revenue organization and east coast market from the ground up. 

    Prior to joining SambaTV, Wolff served as Vice President of agency and brand partnerships at PulsePoint; instrumental to the merger of ContextWeb and Datran Media.

    Jay holds a BS in Marketing from Syracuse University and a Certificate of Management from the University of Chicago. He resides in Rye Brook, NY with his wife and daughter, Olivia. 

    Dan Bienenfeld

    Before co‑founding KERV in 2017, Dan Bienfeld spent the previous 35 years founding six start‑ups in various verticals such as publishing, licensing, med‑tech and ad‑tech. Within these companies, he enjoyed two meaningful exits, which provided him with the ability to continue his passion as an entrepreneur. 

    Aside from bringing together ‘Rock Star Talent,’ his main focus has been raising over $50M, primarily for the startups identified above, as well as creating strategic partnerships. Currently he lives in Westlake Village, CA with his wife and two kids. In addition to his entrepreneurial journey, he also enjoys working out, traveling and an addiction to sushi.

    Gary Mittman

    Gary Mittman brings more than 30 years of experience in technology and direct marketing, as well as substantial experience in building startups to exit with creativity and agile development. Before starting KERV, he held numerous top‑ranking leadership roles, including Founder & President of Nami Media (which was acquired by Lin Media/Nexstar Media Group), CEO & Founder of Marina Communications (also acquired), and Vice President of New Business Development, Direct Response at Western International Media (now Initiative Media).

    Gary also brings a decade of experience in the entertainment industry, including managing all booking for New York City’s premiere performance night club, The Ritz, as its Executive Manager and Booking Agent, Executive Producer of the MTV concert series ‘Live At The Ritz’, a Professional Manager at Chappell Music Publishing, and started out as an Assistant to legendary Clive Davis at Arista Records.

    Andi Fenster

    Andi Fenster went into the profession of Human Resources 30 years ago, because she believed from a young age that the way you treat your employees is what you get out of them. Her goal as an HR professional has been to help create the type of work environments that inspire folks to want to come to work. She is also a Management/Leadership/Career Coach and her focus is optimizing humans focusing on the mind‑body connection. 

    “We, each, have tremendous potential and the abilities to level‑up if we choose to understand how to get the support we need to get us there. Helping talent thrive and helping them create success is my reason for doing what I do.”

    Marika Roque
    COO & Chief Innovation Officer

    Marika Roque is a top expert in digital media, data and organizational infrastructures recognized with over 15 years of professional leadership experience. Previous to KERV, Marika worked as the vice president of digital operations for Mass2, a division of multi-billion-dollar corporation Nexstar Digital LLC. Prior to Mass2, Marika served as vice president of digital media activation at LIN Digital.

    Marika has held senior-level positions for leading advertising agencies in the Austin, Texas area including Sizmek and GSD&M. She also spent years in Chicago working for FCB Global and Starcom MediaVest Group. While at Starcom, Marika was recognized for her involvement in the creation of the first agency-side programmatic pipelines and what the industry now refers to as an agency trading desk.

    Marika holds a Bachelor’s in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, which she achieved while also participating as a former D1 collegiate athlete.