PulsePoint’s Trader Hall of Fame: Carlos Villanueva (Butler/Till)

April 5, 2023
Mya Joseph

Every month, the PulsePoint team recognizes one outstanding client who is dedicated to their work improving worldwide health outcomes. As part of this Trader Hall of Fame series, we go in depth with leaders in the programmatic field, discussing their accomplishments, their path to programmatic, and their hopes for the future of the industry. This month’s honoree is Carlos Villanueva, Channel Manager, Programmatic, at Butler/Till.

How Carlos Got Started in Programmatic Health

Carlos made his way to programmatic after more than a decade in the media industry. “I actually took the long way, a long journey into programmatic,” he said. Carlos got his start back in 2003 working at a newspaper in Miami. He spent a year on the print side, but quickly decided he wanted to be on the online side, switching roles and eventually landing in ad operations.

After almost 15 years working in media buying and ad operations, his path eventually led him to programmatic, although it wasn’t a simple transition at first. “It was very challenging in the beginning,” he said. “But as you do it more, you start feeling a bit more confident and start gaining knowledge. It does take time.”

Carlos’ Journey to Butler/Till

Eventually, Carlos became a veteran in digital marketing, but he said he was “ready for a different challenge.” He found that challenge at marketing agency Butler/Till. He started out as a Senior Programmatic Specialist, but quickly moved up to become Channel Manager.

Previously a “jack of all trades,” Carlos now had the opportunity to specialize. “I had never worked with pharma brands before; my previous programmatic roles were in all verticals, but I really like the idea of having a niche audience and niche vertical.” He’s since become an expert in the healthcare and pharma programmatic field.

Carlos seemed excited for what’s next for him at Butler/Till. He’s looking ahead to a “brand new year, brand new role,” while also looking back on his years of experience. He wants to take “all the information I have gathered from my previous roles and [pass] it down to the team so we can make the best decisions for our clients together in the future.”

Carlos & PulsePoint

Of his work with PulsePoint, Carlos said, “I couldn’t be more happy with the team.” Carlos gave a special shoutout to Nick and Zach from PulsePoint. “They’ll make time for you and they’ll take really complex concepts and just make it simpler for you,” he said. “I feel like they’re an extension of the agency.”

But it’s more than that, he said. “You need the people and the technology as a package. If you don’t have the people, it’s not going to work.”

His favorite part of the platform is how user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing it is. “I like the fact that they take pride in creating a good product for a consumer because, as a media buyer, you spend your whole day looking at a platform,” he said. And, of course, he likes the dancing cow.

Carlos said he feels “confident the platform is going to keep improving” and would love to see some sort of learning center or certification option. 

Carlos’ Advice for Programmatic Health Traders

After a more than 15-year journey to programmatic, Carlos knows the value of patience. “Definitely be patient; take your time to learn the ecosystem,” he said, offering his advice to those who are new to the industry. “It’s going to pay off in the end. Approach it like a marathon, not a quick race.”

Patience is key, he said, but you shouldn’t try figuring it all out on your own. “Find mentors in your industry, people that are passionate about what you’re doing, and then stick to them.”

Lastly, Carlos encourages people to test constantly. “If you’re not testing something, then you’re not learning,” he said. “Always be testing in your programmatic campaigns.”

Carlos Offline

Carlos said he’s always been “passionate about learning, passionate about school,” but when he first started out, he wanted to focus on his career “rather than the school route.” But he recently decided to revisit his education, and has since earned his associate degree. 

A “trader by day, online student by night,” Carlos is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in Recreational Therapy from FIU. He’s also a certified yoga therapist—he loves movement and working with others as a yoga teacher.

In his (limited) free time outside of work, school, and teaching fitness classes, Carlos is a musician; his office shelves are covered in instruments of different shapes and sizes. But his main love is the guitar, and he’s been playing for more than 20 years. He’s now passing this love down to his daughter. “Every time I grab the guitar, she wants to play too,” he said.

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