Turn has snatched up Wolfgang Maasberg, the former chief executive at email and marketing automation firm Lyris, to lead its global sales operation. Prior to his job at Lyris, which he quit in March, Maasberg held North American sales leadership roles at Omniture and later Adobe.
The hire speaks to two priorities at the demand-side platform: global expansion and its positioning as an enterprise software player.
Regarding international, Turn now operates 17 offices around the world, and wants to keep ramping up in Latin America, EMEA, and Asia. The strategy is to sell into agencies, and to a lesser extent, Fortune 1000 brands, in each of those regions. Last month we covered the hire of Fernando Tassinari, former CEO of marketing agency MRM Worldwide Brazil, to drive growth in the Latin America region. As of today Tassinari and the other regional sales heads all report in to Maasberg.
Regarding the enterprise positioning, Turn CEO Bill Demas is very focused on the SaaS message, even going so far as to call his new man Wolfgang "Saasberg." Corny, he admits.
"Our commitment is to truly build an enterprise Software-as-a-Service play. It happens to be for marketing and advertising as opposed to CRM or other things," Demas said. "This is really about solving marketers' problems, figuring out in real time who audiences are and what's working across audiences, across data, across media. The notion of that single platform is one of the key reasons we hired Wolf."
Turn no longer wishes to be known as a demand-side platform, preferring "cloud marketing platform" instead. If the company must suffer an ad tech label, Demas says, the data management aspect has become more important than the DSP appellation. (For more on DSP commoditization, see the recent changes at Xaxis.)
The hire also points to a trend of growing hierarchies at the big demand-side platforms. Burgeoning employee ranks inevitably create new layers of management. Turn now employs 270 people, 100 of whom will report to Maasberg, presumably freeing up Demas and Turn's other management to focus on product and business development. Turn's chief rival, MediaMath, now employs about 300 and has added new reporting layers as well, and a number of erstwhile "startup" ad tech platforms (Rocket Fuel, AppNexus, PubMatic, and Rubicon) are racking up similar head counts.