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As the Head of Media & Entertainment for Uber Advertising, Laura Sandoval and her team are not only standing up a brand new business unit for the ride-share brand, but also disrupting the ads space with a brand new advertising category for brands to take advantage of. Prior to joining Uber, Laura gained experience in brand, sales and brand partnerships for mega-brands like Disney and Univision and here, she shares why we should stop calling it a marketing “funnel,” how the advertising space is evolving, and how to be unafraid to ask for the things that will make you happy.

Every marketer should listen to…”ICYMI to catch up on what’s trending in internet culture.”

What gives me joy outside of work… “family, cooking with my kids, new experiences, pilates, and my garden.”

A life experience that has made me better at my job… “Leaning into my Latinx identity and culture. Over half of Millennials and GenZ are multicultural, so having a diverse identity and perspective helps me better understand mindsets, behaviors, and attitudes.”

Future of Marketing

Q: What is one thing coming down the pike for marketing you are most excited about?  

The goal of getting the right message in front of the right consumer at the right time has always been a golden rule for marketers. I am excited about taking that one step further to better connect the emotional with the transactional by reaching consumers in the right mindset.  

Q: What do you see evolving in the advertising space within the next five years? 

Being in the rideshare and delivery advertising space, we have created a new advertising category and a new place for brands to reach high-intent consumers in an uninterrupted environment. I’m excited to see us accelerate our growth as brands begin to discover the power of Uber to reach attentive consumers. 

Q: What’s a widely accepted “marketing truth” you wish marketers could do away with?

I want us to stop calling it the marketing funnel!  It hasn’t been a funnel for a long time; it’s evolved into a journey and a flywheel.  Calling it a funnel as it doesn’t represent reality. 

Marketing at Uber Advertising

Q: What’s the most pressing business challenge you’ve faced within the last year and what have you done to try to solve it?  

We are building a new ads business from the ground up, and it’s been really fun to assemble a diverse and talented team, build narratives, and set the vision for my vertical. At the same time, being a part of the founding team means we are starting from nothing, so it’s been challenging, but it has also stretched my capacity. I am all in on this journey. 

Career and Leadership Advice

Q: What’s the most game-changing career advice you’ve ever received?

I was in my first brand management role out of b-school, and I remember asking my boss a million questions about our new media partnership with MTV until he finally asked me, “Do you want to work on the next campaign?”

I was afraid to say YES because I wasn’t sure if he would interpret that as me not being happy in my role. He advised me never to be afraid to ask for what you want. So I told him it would be a dream role to oversee our brand/media partnerships, and a few months later, he offered me the opportunity to lead the next campaign.

I share the same advice with my teams because I want them to do the work that matters most to them and keeps them excited and growing in their roles.   

Q: What’s one new leadership muscle you see as the most important for marketers to exercise?

The most important thing marketers must do for their brand is to stay relevant. That means testing and learning on emerging platforms, investing in brand-lifting efforts that may not have a short-term return, and being strategic about allocating budgets to performance and brand-building initiatives. 

Marketers to Watch is a recognition series to spotlight highly innovative and forward-thinking marketing leaders in the community. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for the series, click here.