“We are not just colleagues striving for success, but friends with a passion for the industry,” says Denise Data about the folks to her left and right at Criteo.
Denise’s story is a coming of age story, to say the least. Her beginnings span outside of the world of advertising as she got her start in the creative sector of book publishing. Now the Director of Ad Operations and Creative Services for top clients in the Americas here at Criteo, when Denise isn’t tending to the adventurous life of her six-year-old son, she’s developing and managing strategies that lead initiatives for the largest advertisers of the Criteo community.
Read more about her journey to Criteo, her experience as an instrumental part of our design efforts and her predictions on the future of creative in advertising.
Let’s start from the beginning – what is you background? How did you end up at Criteo?
I started my career in book publishing, but I didn’t necessarily set out to have an illustrious career in the glamourous world of book publishing. One of my college professors recommended me for an internship at really large education book publishing company.
I got the position and transitioned from intern to full-time employee. What I didn’t realize at the time, is how easy it is to be pigeon-hold into a career designing in a field you aren’t actually interested in. At the age of 28, I realized the only way to get out of education publishing was to take a position as an intern for a start-up tech company.
It was one of the best decisions I made. My internship evolved into three years at the company. I was able to witness firsthand the evolution of the small start-up of 40 people to a larger company with 300 employees and multiple offices. Eventually we were acquired by a much larger company.
A year later, I found myself working for a small-ish tech company called Criteo!
What are your interests outside of work?
My interests outside of work revolve usually around the interests of my six-year-old. It’s pretty amazing how active the social calendar of a six-year-old is. At the moment, his calendar is full of basketball and Nintendo 3DS.
What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?
Four years ago, I became a first-time manager.
While I loved digital design, I really wanted the opportunity to manage my own team. I thought that after years of learning from my managers (both good and bad) that I would be a really great manager.
What I didn’t realize is that you can’t be afraid to give your team the opportunity to push into something new in order for them to grow. And it’s more important for your team to know you have their backs in the event that they do stumble a little bit as they grow.
How has your role changed since you started?
I was hired in 2014, as a senior designer on the creative services team. I was an individual contributor responsible for managing my book of business. Since then, my title has evolved from Team Lead, Art Director, and now Director of Ad Operations and Creative Services.
My current role provides me with the opportunity to manage managers, develop strategies and oversee business from top clients. It’s definitely been an exciting ride!
How has Criteo helped foster your career to where you are today?
The people that work at Criteo are definitely what sets us apart. We are not just colleagues striving for success, but friends with a passion for the industry that enjoy time together both in and outside the office.
This holds true regardless of which region or country I visit. The people are what makes Criteo great.
What are the challenges of programmatic creativity as an advertising strategy?
Yes, this one’s a toughie.
Preconceived notions of what is possible in retargeting is a big challenge. Educating clients as to what is possible can be challenging when they come to the table with preconceived notions of retargeting.
The most important step in overcoming this barrier is to build a partnership where clients trust your recommendations as a consultant and understand that you care about the integrity of their brand just as much as they do.
What do you believe are some of the opportunities provided by AI in the dynamic creativity landscape? What would you like to see in 2024’s banner from a creative standpoint?
I hope to see banners in TV and VR in 2020 or 2021, forget about 2024! Haven’t you heard about Criteo’s million-dollar investment in AI?!
Want to learn more? Check out the Criteo Culture hub here!