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Me In Merkle - Ali Gulamali

  1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I grew up in and lived in New York my entire life. My early childhood along with the last two years I lived in Queens, but I lived up in Westchester throughout high school and college. I recently moved to the UK! I’ve been living in North London since October 2021 so it’s been almost 6 months now.

  1. What drew you to a career in Programmatic?

My story is actually kind of all over the place – I got my start as an intern in analytics working at a small boutique pharma agency for a few months directly with their CTO. This experience showed me how impactful planning media buys could be which drove me to my next stop which was as an integrated media planner role for Toys’R’Us (RIP). While working on TRU, Accuen was a big push at Omnicom and I ended up working very closely with our programmatic leads. I began to realize that they were the one team that actually had all the answers to anyone’s questions – like they fully got and understood the behind the scenes of media buying. I spent a few months continuing to learn from them and eventually decided that I wanted to try this programmatic thing out – I decided to move on and took a programmatic planning role which eventually evolved into trading as well.

  1. Why Merkle?

I’ve been with Dentsu since 2019 and worked pretty closely with some of the merkle people over at M1. Since I was looking to move to the UK, I tried my hand at an internal transfer. I had a choice between two different Dentsu agencies and Merkle B2B really stood out to me since I know B2B marketing is on the rise, but also because of how much I vibed with my interviewer.

  1. What do you think the future developments of Programmatic will be?

I think the impending cookie-less future will spawn a lot of innovation and will hopefully further the connection between digital and traditional channels like OOH/DOOH and TV/PTV. I’m also expecting a lot more consolidation to occur with some big acquisitions as tier 2/tier 3 platforms and partners try to compete with the likes of Google and Amazon.

  1. How have you found the transition from B2C to B2B?

It’s honestly not even almost as hard as I thought it would be. The target audiences are different, but if you’ve ever worked on a B2C client with a long sales cycle – it’s very similar.

I like how smart the approach is to measure conversions and essentially tie them to the endpoints in lengthy sales cycles.

  1. What would you say to somebody considering making the switch?

Take the leap and do it. Worst case scenario is you get some really good experience while doing some challenging work. B2B marketing is only growing and it’s a sector that will keep you on the cutting edge of our industry.

  1. What is your greatest accomplishment?

Probably that I got married honestly

  1. Tell us a bit about your experience so far with Merkle.

Merkle is great and the team culture is amazing. Everyone respects each other and more importantly, you feel like your time is respected which is pretty rare in the COVID-verse.

  1. What inspires you about Merkle’s workplace culture?

The openness – I have a habit of being way too open or transparent and I feel like that type of attitude isn’t just tolerated here, it’s championed.

  1. What was your dream job growing up?

To be an astrophysicist – I even did an internship at Nasa and paid my deposit down for a science-university.

  1. Are you involved in any of our DEI Pillars? If so, which one and can you tell us a bit about it?

Not at the moment, but I was involved in 2 different DEI groups in AMER

  1. How do you like your eggs?

Over easy with runny yolks – cooked yolks look like powder

  1. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?

Not Netflix or Prime, but I’m watching “Bel-Air” which is the fresh prince re-boot

  1. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Definitely Salt and pepper chips (you guys call them crisps)

  1. What is your dream holiday destination?

This is a tough one – I’d have to say either Costa Rica or climbing mount Kilimanjaro

  1. Best advice or mantra you live by?

It’s better to try something and fail than to regret never trying at all