This is Meet the Suite, where you get to know the members of the C-Suite team at Adtegrity. We're starting off at the top with the big kahuna, the mamma jamma, the big cheese – Scott Brew, President and CEO of Adtegrity.
Scott, thank you for taking the time with Meet the Suite. Let's start with an easy icebreaker.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing golf and am active in politics. I have a very busy family and we spend lots of time with kids' activities. There's lots of soccer games, theater performances, and stuff like that. I love it, and wouldn't have it any other way.
Ed. Note–Scott and his wife Emily have 6 children ranging in age from 6 - 20; when he says a busy family, he's not kidding!
What's your background, and how did you come up?
I grew up outside Chicago as a typical suburban kid. As soon as I was old enough to work (14 1/2 years old at the time), I worked. Originally, I mowed lawns around the neighborhood, then I worked in a small ice cream/sweet shop and finally, I graduated to the big time–stock boy at Walgreens. That's one of the two jobs I've ever had where I had to wear a tie every day. I hated it.
When I went off to college at the University of Illinois, I got a job working for a guy who started a bus company out of his dorm room. I did that all through college and also helped start an Internet Service Provider (one of the first ever in central Illinois).
Those experiences did two things for me:
- They taught me how hard you have to work to start and run a small business.
- They gave me the entrepreneurial bug.
After graduating from college, I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a job with a rapidly growing telephone/internet company and the seeds of Adtegrity grew out of that opportunity.
So you're in Grand Rapids and you start up Adtegrity. Why Grand Rapids, and what keeps Adtegrity here?
I started the company here because it's where I was living when the opportunity presented itself. I also had a core group of co-workers at the telephone/internet company and friends that have been instrumental in starting and running the business.
We stay because Grand Rapids is home. It's the best mid-sized city in the country, and a terrific environment to grow a business. From arts and culture to food and beer to the civic pride and entrepreneurial spirit–you just can't beat Grand Rapids.
What's the most critical talent/skill/trait that you possess as a business owner?
I don't know if it's critical for everyone, but I am really good at big picture "synthesis". I can see multiple perspectives easily. It helps me stay flexible in the day-to-day running of Adtegrity, dealing with challenging situations, and making big decisions.
Follow-up: When those big decisions come up, or business gets tough, how do you stay motivated?
How can you not? I've got 37 co-workers, many with families. When over 100 people depend on you for their livelihood, you stay motivated.
The digital space changes all the time, and Adtegrity has been around for 16 years in 2016. What's been the biggest change, and how has it affected Adtegrity?
When we started Adtegrity, programmatic advertising didn't exist. We were ad brokers, and it was a very competitive market to exclusively represent websites. Once programmatic came on the scene with the Right Media Exchange, we jumped aboard immediately and continue to surf the programmatic wave today. Our special version of human experience combined with programmatic tools has served us very well through the industry's transformation.
Follow-up: Were there any specific changes made to Adtegrity's methodology or market position that you think helped the company advance?
It was a big step when we recognized that it was the human element that set us apart. Anyone can traffic ads into a black box bidder. Humans are "programmed" to understand nuance, to see trends, and are far better at identifying relevant historical data that might not be obvious in a fully automated setting.
How do you personally keep up with the pace of technology?
I have teenagers. I'm super into instafacetwitchat. Oh, and Pokemon GO!
What's next for digital?
Digital will become the default. The industry will continue to improve upon the promise of accountability, and the vast majority of marketing dollars will eventually be spent in some form of digital environment.
What's next for Adtegrity?
Adtegrity will continue to grow as a trusted partner in programmatic–specifically, for our small-to-medium sized agency partners who need the tools to compete with larger competitors. We really love the collaboration and success we've seen with those relationships. In short, Adtegrity has a very bright future.
What does success mean to you?
As a human being, it's all about expressing yourself in a manner that is authentically you. Then working to ensure that your expression capitalizes on those unique skills and talents.
As a business owner, I ask myself two questions every day.
- Are we offering a product/service that fills a real need for our customers?
- If so, are we doing that in a way that allows the people at Adtegrity to be happy and successful?
If I can answer yes to both of those, the business is a success.
Adtegrity is a success.