Having grown up in Silicon Valley, right behind the Apple building, Michelle Kim had a natural curiosity for the technology industry after witnessing how emerging tech companies transformed people’s lives. While she remained fond of the industry, her college aspirations led her to UCLA, where she graduated and explored career opportunities in PR, law, and journalism. However, one of her first positions was in advertising as an assistant media planner. In this role, Michelle was able to get the full scope of media planning—from offline to digital—and immediately became fixated by the growing “connectability” of the ad tech world.
Michelle’s presence in the continuously evolving ad tech world has grown substantially through hard-work and her ability to “take on the most challenging of objectives.” As Director of Sales at Tremor Video DSP, she has continued to grow its Los Angeles location, with a focus on the broadcast, cable, studio, gaming and automotive verticals. As an instrumental part of growing our auto business, Michelle created a comprehensive strategy that grew one of Tremor’s largest automotive accounts by almost 600% in 2018.
Hence it came as no surprise when Michelle was nominated for ThinkLA’s 2019 Salesperson of the Year. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to work with Michelle, we thought we’d let you in on a recent conversation that highlights her accomplishments both inside and outside of the workplace.
You grew up in Silicon Valley with a natural curiosity for Ad Tech. But what led you specifically to video ad tech with Tremor Video DSP?
I’ve always been a fan of Tremor’s work; first as a buyer, and then as a competitor when I was at my previous ad tech company. Video is the most magical storytelling medium and I believe in the power of creative in influencing people’s perceptions. It was a no brainer when I met Abbey [Thomas, CMO of Tremor Video DSP] and the LA Entertainment team, and they graciously invited me aboard.
In your opinion, what personality trait do you think lends itself well to being a successful salesperson in our industry?
I don’t think there is one single personality trait. I do know that someone who strives to genuinely understand and provide solutions for their clients will prevail in this fickle industry. I always tell myself to just do my job and my job is exactly that—find creative ways to drive desired results. To do this well, one only needs to constantly be curious and hungry for a deeper understanding of the business. They also need to work for a company whose name they can stand proudly in front of. Salespeople are conduits for their companies, but there’s also something really powerful about maintaining a strong personal brand. For me, this means selling solutions with integrity and passion.
What has been your proudest accomplishment at Tremor Video DSP?
Creative problem-solving drives me to always push my limits. This can be extremely tough in our fragmented industry, which is what makes this part of my job so exciting. I am most proud to have invented and piloted a program for my auto client who could not find a partner that could help them accomplish a ‘pie in the sky’ creative idea. I worked with multiple internal teams (from engineering to creative) to build an integration specifically supporting their dream creative video idea. It was extremely challenging teaching myself about the resources in the industry that could help them, managing moving pieces to build our offering, and getting it all off the ground. However, all the hard work definitely paid off when I was able to celebrate the huge successes of the campaign with my client. Nothing better!
You do a lot of work for the community outside of work. Can you tell us a little bit about this experience? Specifically, your work with UNICEF?
When I think about the disparity and complete lack of rights that people around the world have to face, I often don’t have answers to the question of ‘why?’ While frustrating, I have found that channeling this frustration into action makes me feel like I’m doing a small part in bettering the world. Since my passion for helping others has always focused on protecting the rights of children, I found UNICEF embodied the exact tenets I believe in and has been a beautiful addition to my crazy life. I’ve been a part of their NextGeneration Los Angeles board, helping raise awareness and funds to support UNICEF projects around the world. I recently went on a UNICEF field trip to the Dominican Republic and witnessed the actual impact of our work on the daily lives of the children and feel even more committed in doing everything I can to move the needle.
Which aspect of Tremor Video DSP do you find is most appealing to your clients? What would you say is the #1 selling point when you present our company to clients?
I love touting our consistent commitment to video and highlighting just how far we’ve come as an ad tech company in this everchanging market. We’ve not only managed to survive the trends, but also thrive as the leading video platform. I believe this dedication to our craft has built the Tremor name that so many brands have come to trust today.
If you had your choice, where do you see your career going over the next 5 years?
When I was younger, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I held on tightly to the desire to work with smart and driven people in a fun, innovative and challenging environment. I can confidently say I have accomplished that and whileI don’t set tangible goals for myself that have specific labels (company or title), I plan to continue feeling fulfilled and happy with my career, while learning new things, building lasting relationships and of course… having fun.
Vote for Michelle Kim for ThinkLA’s Salesperson of the Year HERE
Learn more about the company and culture of Tremor Video DSP HERE
-Frank Pasquine, Content Manager at Tremor Video DSP