Industry Profile: Criteo commercial director Colin Barnard

31 March 2020

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Criteo Australia and New Zealand commercial director Colin Barnard.

Time at the company:
Since February 2019.

How would you describe what the company does?
Criteo has the best understanding of what people buy online across the open Internet and helps advertisers maximise their return on investment

What do you do day-to-day?
We strive to surface personalised and targeted offers to users on behalf of our advertisers.

Define your job in one word:

I got into adtech because:
I’m fascinated by the digital world and providing a human connection through hyper-relevant, impactful content.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Misconceptions about who we are and what we offer. We aren’t a me-too DSP pipe for programmatic inventory. We offer the ‘product recommendation’ smarts of Amazon, at Google’s scale, with the personalisation of Facebook, at incredible ROI. Our customers get it but the industry likes to put us in a bucket with everyone else.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Fairness and transparency. Users should have the right to their data and understand how it is used, and measurement for marketers should be accessible and verifiable. At Criteo, championing the open Internet is something we’re very focused on.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I worked at Peugeot UK for 10 years as the New Media Manager before moving to Google where I was the Head of Auto then Retail then Finance and finally Google Shopping ANZ for 12 years. What led me to join Criteo was the attraction of being part of the company’s future growth in Australia and the launch of new products.

Notable campaigns you have worked on:
I’ve been fortunate to work with so many customers over the years but a stand out was working with the amazing team at Budget Direct, specifically the Captain Risky work we did. It was a ton of fun and the CMO, Jonathan Kerris was always willing to take risks.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
There have been so many but I learned the most from Jon Goodman, the CMO from Peugeot UK who understood what customers want, what brand means, what dealers need and how to hit quarterly tactical sales results. He was also open to new ideas and innovation, he let us play and experiment, and he didn’t overreact if we failed but celebrated our successes.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Be open-minded and passionate about technology, data, creative ideas and people, and keep searching for new ways to marry up the creative with the data. Know your customers and your brand inside and out and be proud to advertise them. Admit when you get things wrong. Fail fast, learn quickly. Be bold.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Learning more things, languages and travelling the world.

My mantra is:
Adapt to your environment but be your authentic self.

My favourite advert is:
The Tourism Australia campaign with Lara Bingle – ‘Where the bloody hell are you??’. It showed miserable rain-drenched poms the beauty of Australia, the aspiration of being here but the relaxed friendly, irreverent nature of Aussies. It made me want to move to Australia and I’ve never regretted it. If an ad can change your life it’s pretty bloody awesome.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
YouTube Red. It gives you Google to play music for free. Same price as Apple and Spotify but the world of YouTube, YouTube music and Google Play music. It works on my phone, car, Google Home(s) and it scarily knows what I like and what I listen to, so features in my Google Assistant news feed about artist news and releases and intros me to new bands. I love AI and personalisation.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I’m a huge dog lover. When my boyfriend coos at something walking past us on a weekend in a café, he’s looking at a cute toddler and I am looking at the fluffy Labrador retriever. I live in an apartment so it’s not practical to have one but when that changes...

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