Asians in Advertising: MediaTrust – Roland Navarro

Here’s the next item up for bids in the Price is Right….oh sorry, wrong segment. This is however the next feature in my Asians in Advertising and I must say a quite impressive one to say the least. I have known Roland for a few years now and he has always gone out of his way to help anyone where he can. A truly nice guy.

He is currently the Director, Strategic Development for MediaTrust, an online performance advertising exchange and technology company.  Prior to MediaTrust, Roland was a Partner at Tracking202 until the company was acquired by Bloosky Interactive.  He is currently an Owner at Haute Skillet, a culinary adventure and lifestyle company, and serves on the Advisory Board for an Internet Company in stealth mode.  Roland is  passionate about helping others; where he is currently a Trustee for the Ros Foundation, and serves on the PEACE Philippines Team for Saddleback Church.  Roland is currently an Executive Scholar at the Kellogg School of Management, and did his undergrad at UC Santa Barbara. Here is his story.


1) Roland, tell us briefly about yourself and how you got started in this industry.

Charles Wang over at DoubleUp Media, is a fraternity brother of mine.  He told me about affiliate marketing after I had recently left the Mortgage industry, so the timing was perfect.


2) Do you think being an Asian in this industry has hindered or helped you achieve the level of success you currently have or anticipated?

It’s really hard to answer that question.  You would think that nerdy and passive stereotypes would hinder your success in a normal corporate environment, but interactive performance marketing is a whole other world.  Perceived genius, social awkwardness, and back-breaking work ethic go a long way in this business.


3) What are the top 3 factors that you feel contribute to your success?

1.  Genuine love and respect for relationships
2. World class don’t take no for an answer persistence
3.  Word is gold do what you say integrity.


4) Talk to us specifically about your experience and frustrations in dealing with people in the industry.

Short term gain at the expense of ethics and self entitled laziness.


5) You are well known in the industry, who has been your motivation or inspiration, in other words, who is your driving force?

God.  Not the narrow minded judgmental one that no one believes in.  I’m talking about the God that gives me the strength to find joy whether times are good or bad, and the humility to honestly care for other people no matter what their background is because we are all the same people, struggling with the same fears, hurts, and insecurities.


6) What do you think is the impact of the “new” media on today’s generation? Are they leveraging it effectively and more importantly – are they leveraging it for the betterment of our industry?

We are in the midst of two specific and revolutionary changes in our space that are going to have far reaching implications between the few who will be key players in the space and the insignificant many.

One, there is a process of consolidation that is long overdue because of all the brokers and businesses that exist between the Advertiser and Publisher.  The incessant need for Quality, Control, and Volume has reached a critical point in time.  So the industry is naturally correcting itself.  Networks are acquiring traffic sources, Affiliates are becoming advertisers, advertisers are sending their own traffic.  The buyouts and de-brokerization of processes will continue until the line between Advertiser and Publisher is so thin, that it is blurred almost unrecognizable.

The second most important process is the adoption and shift towards mobile.  I don’t really want to expound further on that.  I will just keep it right here.  :)


7) What are some effective tools and products that help you keep your life organized?

My beautiful wife keeps me organized but she would kick my butt if I called her an effective tool or product.  I honestly thought I was over CRM systems like Sugar and Salesforce, but they are absolutely necessary for building pipeline critical mass if you are as A-D-D like me.  Honestly, there are too many tools out there right now that can confuse you.  I would focus on understanding the needs of an advertiser with multi million dollar ad spend, and finding the tools to support that advertiser.  Look at Spruce with Facebook.  or Mobclix with Mobile.  or MediaTrust with quality CPC traffic across several distribution channels.  At the end of the day, Advertisers are feeding money into our ecosystem, so really pick and choose the tools you need to service that client, and super prioritize on a 95/5 basis.


8) Any words of wisdom for my readers looking to get into this space?

Check out, search for newbie content, do you research, go to a tradeshow.  Meditate on whether you have what it takes to do the hardcore grind.  And then DO IT.  Find a mentor or better yet a business partner that will keep you accountable.


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About the Author


Ricky Ahuja is the serving as the VP of Marketing for and provides strategic corporate and functional marketing consulting services to early stage companies.


  1. Love, you’re really an inspiration. Thank you for making me the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Super proud of you!

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