Staff Reporters
May 21, 2021

Tech MVP 2021: Marcus Herrmann, TotallyAwesome

MOST VALUABLE PROFESSIONAL: A staunch advocate for privacy-first, cookieless advertising, Marcus Herrmann developed TotallyAwesome's contextual targeting solution well ahead of the curve. He is now urging others to follow his lead.

Tech MVP 2021: Marcus Herrmann, TotallyAwesome
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Marcus Herrmann

Chief operations officer

Marcus Herrmann, known for being ahead of the tech curve, has driven several innovations at TotallyAwesome that have become integral to its mission of protecting the privacy of kids in online advertising.

Germany-born Herrmann's early career at Ladybird, a children’s publisher, proved formative in his passion for providing brands and children with safe and secure digital communications environments.

He moved to Thailand in 2016 when he was offered the opportunity to join TotallyAwesome, a kids-focused digital advertising and content platform based in Asia-Pacific. Now chief operating officer, he writes kids’ certification programmes to comply with strict data privacy policy regulations and ensures brands are compliant.

Herrmann's most proficient work at TotallyAwesome has been his development of zero-data-collection, cookieless audience-targeting techniques—work he started long before Apple and Google announced a rethink on cookies. Under his mandate, TotallyAwesome’s approach to contextual targeting has been designed to increase a brand’s media ROI via greater relevance and engagement, while offering total transparency and parental consultation and storing no personal data. His work on intelligent contextual advertising is now driving TotallyAwesome to look at privacy issues for older internet audiences.

Herrmann has also developed AwesomeLTV (Life Time Value), a retention product that marries technology with human curation, data and research to drive an audience's loyalty across ages 6 to 16 years. AwesomeLTV was awarded in the Most Valuable Product category of Tech MVP 2021.

The COO is directly responsible for a team of seven and indirectly for a team of 17 across account management, campaign success management, delivery, product development, advertising operations and production. In 2020, with the support of his team, he delivered 1,745 campaigns valued at $6.8 million in revenue—an increase of 60% compared to the previous year, despite Covid-19 challenges. As revenues have accelerated and international expansion continues, the company has gone from five to 60 people.

Herrmann remains committed to his aim both to protect young digital audiences and to champion a vision of a safe and sustainable future for brands. He regularly debates his 'zero data collection' approach with industry players, in a bid to convince others to prioritise privacy. He is well-placed to do this: his push to go cookieless was actually seven years ahead of his time.

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