When Marta Martinez was in college in Barcelona, she attended a school known for its math and qualitative sciences programs. But what did she pick? Marketing.
“I became determined to bring the science into what’s considered more of an art,” she said.
Over the course of her career, she’s done just that. After working in the agency world at Havas Digital, Martinez dove into ad tech as CMO of MediaMath before switching over to internet advertising at AOL as head of sales strategy. Right before becoming director of agency platforms at Google, she was chief revenue officer for Intersection, a smart cities and media company.
One theme of Martinez’s career: She’s never had a straight path. Instead, she’s chosen to zig and zag while connecting the dots, which has also helped clients connect their own dots. That’s been especially helpful when showing marketers how to navigate the ever-evolving world of technology. A native of Spain, she said she has a knack for explaining tools and ideas with a bit of flavor.
“My paella metaphors are a thing,” she said. “You put rice and a little chicken and whatever you have left at the house. That’s how you explain a piece of technology or a marketing program.”
Because Google operates in many different fields, Martinez said her career path has allowed her to understand the importance of taking care to articulate the company’s business depending on who’s listening. Because while something might seem clear to one party, it’s often foggy when looking at the full picture of an industry or issue.
“I’ve come to understand that the same sentence makes something completely different if I say it to a publisher, or an agency, or an advertiser, or a systems integration firm,” she said.
Because Google lets employees spend 20% of their time on projects unrelated to their day-to-day role, Martinez has focused on mentoring the next generation of women while becoming a champion inside and outside of the company for diversity and inclusion. That includes spearheading the company’s #IAmRemarkable initiative, which aims to empower women and underrepresented groups.
Rather than naming a specific mistake, Martinez said she’s learned to process mistakes as part of learning—just like an engineer might. However, she said one thing she’d encourage others to do is to act before you’re ready. Describing herself as a “late bloomer,” she said she wishes she would have gone after opportunities sooner rather than waiting. “And it took me more than a couple of times to take those seriously, because I always thought I wasn’t prepared, because I wasn’t ready to jump into the pool,” she added.
Whenever possible, simplify explanations for complex technology. “We have a tendency to use a lot of acronyms and use complex words and mix a lot of terminology,” she said. “But I have learned that it’s very important to keep it simple and explain the value of technology that we’re creating for marketers. It’s the only way we can help people make decisions effectively.”
How She Got The Gig
Martinez’s current boss, who worked at DoubleClick at the time, happened to also be one of her first clients. Over time, they had kept in touch, often when her former client was looking for talented people to join. But this time Martinez decided to apply—and she got the job.
Career paths that zig and zag are often more fruitful in the long run than climbing the corporate ladder, according to Martinez. “Always go from side to side,” she said. “I do that because I’m very curious. I always tell people [to] never stop learning.”