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Coffee With: Advertising Operations Executive Colin Brown

Estimated reading time ~ 3 min
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Colin Brown
Location: New York, NY
Job: Chief Operating Officer, Digilant
Education: B.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Princeton University; M.B.A. in Marketing and Operations, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Twitter: @ColinBrown92

What was your first job, and how did it influence your path?

I worked for Kraft Foods as a supply chain associate after graduating from college. Kraft is the only Fortune 500 company I’ve worked for, and I learned a lot. The companies I have worked at since Kraft have all been private, each one smaller than the last. I was at two different family-owned general contractors and, after business school, I went on to work at a digital advertising agency and an ad tech company called MediaMath. In each of these roles, I got the opportunity to not only weigh in on corporate strategy but to also help shape the company culture. I really value that.

How did you develop your expertise in programmatic media?

I basically fell into it! I had been looking for account management positions involving digital advertising and analytical problem-solving, and MediaMath ended up being a perfect match. My three years there taught me the ins and outs of programmatic advertising from pioneers in the industry. I also really loved the growth track and company culture.

Tell us about your path to your current role.

I left MediaMath to join Anagram as a partner and the second member of the team. We manage campaigns – including media planning, optimization, reporting, and analytics – for agency clients. Anagram’s founder had been my client, and I really believe in his approach to digital advertising. I was able to parlay my ad tech experience with relationships fostered at MediaMath to build a strong programmatic practice with over fifty new clients in 2016.

What do your days generally entail?

I spend a lot of my time in meetings with clients, advising them on which platforms, products, and partners will best help them reach their digital marketing goals. This ranges from demos and hands-on training on media buying platforms, to sales presentations introducing new trends in the industry. Most clients request some form of campaign troubleshooting. As chief media officer, my job is to help demonstrate how Anagram can enable them to take advantage and expand their programmatic capabilities and partnerships.

What advice do you have for people breaking into their careers?

Think about what you want to learn and accomplish in each company and each position. Write it down and keep it in mind as you make career choices – lateral moves, new companies, relocation, etc. It’s okay to change what you have on the list, but try your best to be deliberate about the decisions you make. Share your goals with a mentor who can keep you accountable and help you navigate the business world.

What kind of candidates stand out to you in the interview process?

The candidates who stand out do their homework on the company and are knowledgeable about how they will help advance our business. They answer my math or tech-related questions with ease and are people I would enjoy grabbing a beer with after work. Finally, they show how they will add value from day one.

Following this interview, Anagram was acquired by Digilant, where Colin Brown now works as chief operating officer.

Image courtesy of Colin Brown

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