Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you join Matrix Solutions?
I am a member of Main Line Equity Partners. Our strategy is to find technology and technology enabled companies that have good fundamentals, but where there is an opportunity to change the organization and reignite growth. As part of our strategy, one of our people will either act as an active advisor or will take on a leadership role within the underlying company. For the first few years, I was advising rather than taking on an active management position. Matrix already had a strong base within linear television, primarily local, but there was clearly opportunity and a need to expand, both in terms of more functionality, more non-linear oriented capabilities, more usability for national sellers, agency applicability and moving into markets outside of the United States. The opportunity was and is to deliver forward thinking technology for the media world that works across the entire front-side of the house, offering accurate and actionable data, the ability to plan and execute, one place for linear, non-linear and everything that a media company is selling in one place, and a goal of dramatically reducing redundancies, automating sales to execution, delivering faster results in performance to increase revenue and profitability of our clients. I firmly believe that no other company provides the per dollar spend to value ratio that we offer and I seek to make this true across every product we develop and every product we sell and deliver. Matrix was a good company, with good people and a good client base, but it needed to take on a different culture. One that was much more oriented towards growth, taking risks and thinking beyond ourselves to what the world is becoming or may become and work towards delivering on these visions. I am not saying it looked easy, it was not and is not. However, I have a strong belief in Matrix, the team, the products and services we provide. And I believed and believe with every passing day, we as an organization are delivering better and strong products and services.
What are the core tenets of your business development model?*
Technologists make business ideas better – We business folks can define needs, produce outlines of how a person could use a certain product or service, but good technologist can take these and transform them into something unimaginably strong, knowing how to apply their tools, their art to these problems.
It’s easy to use and provides value
Forward thinking – we have to develop for what is coming,
Take risks – make decisions, take risks and we can course adjust, but playing it safe means nothing new is invented, we need to invent.
How does your platform integrate with DSP and SSP technologies?
Our systems alert on andor ingest data and provide the front-end of the house with information so they do not need to hunt through multiple systems. From the execution side, we are working on introducing some new technology to help transition more effectively the sales of ad inventory to the execution of said ads whether into traffic or order management systems to effect adverting. Such a system will dramatically reduce double/triple entries, thereby decreasing errors and effectively increasing the speed of delivery. Delivering faster and more accurately will result in increased inventory usage and greater revenue/profitability.
How often do you measure the performance of your marketing analytics and sales reporting?
We provide our clients with reporting and BI analytics. We monitor how each client uses the various components of our systems. These are some of the core functionalities that we offer. We clean and normalize the information that is ingested into our systems from our clients’ revenue reporting and traffic systems. Therefore, our system offers accurate data. We work with each client to ensure they are getting the full usage of our systems and execution across their teams follow suit.
How do you prepare for the post-GDPR era? What benefits do you extend to your customers and employees as part of the GDPR preparedness?
We have done extensive work on understanding and preparing for GDPR. Main Line Equity is invested in multiple technology companies, as such, we shared information, resources and discussions across these companies to ensure maximized learning and preparedness for all of our portfolio company holdings. Matrix does not actively seek personal information, however, our clients do and they put that information into our systems. Therefore, they need the ability to easily delete and fully eliminate that information from the databases we maintain for our clients.
What are your predictions on the most impactful disruptions in MarTech transformation?
Google gets a ton from Search – advertisements on other media outlets help make Google money – there will be a growing movement to recognize and begin to take some of that money back. I have no idea what this will look like, I just predict it will happen.
GDPR will further ensure that Europe remains behind in new technology development.
There is a lot of discussion of the use of personal data. People hate it, but at a certain point we will reach a crossroads, where people will make a macro decision, That will either be: (A) More prevalent GDPR-like regulations – this will results in a few haves and many have-nots. Content will be much more limited and driven by a few. There was a time we had three TV networks and PBS and this could happen again in the world of digital. Or (B) people will generally realize that advertising pays for content. We could have regulations that ensure the safe guarding of information for ad data usage, but we make the deal that companies knowing information about us, in a safe environment, is okay. The latter is a better choice, but I fear at least in the short term – say three to five years – the former will be the choice we make.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
There is not one in particular, however, I wonder most about the non-profits that are seeking to take on privacy. These groups generally look at advertisers as evil and Google as a money hungry Mac truck. The ad industry should take the initiative of working to standardize data collection and usage and market this to the consumer/end-user as a whole to ensure a better understanding of created value.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
We seek to take advantage of this next stage of analytics by offering multiple opportunities to enhance the analytical experiences of our clients. Today, we are working on advanced customer segmentation, with a base that will be customized per customer install. On that backbone, we seek to start with forecasting and customer retention analytics. From there, we seek to enhance intelligence across the media space to understand pricing, yield, inventory and product optimization. Our mission revolves around helping our clients sell ad inventory as effectively and efficiently as possible and making that as seamless and profitable as possible. Matrix has gone from reporting into BI and now seeks to evolve into AI/ML.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
I believe the key to success is a team that inspires each other. Yes, I can show a vision and how I believe we can get there and what we need to do to get there. However, and most importantly, is a team that works well together, trusts each other and jumps in with absolute pleasure when someone needs helps or wants to know more about something. Nothing is more inspiring than a team that wants to succeed and achieve together.
One word that best describes how you work.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
First, of course I use Monarch, our media ad sales platform, to review our own sales process and pipeline and as a forecasting tool. It’s true that all of our products are made specifically for media, so it’s not a perfect fit for software, but we need to use our products and it’s quite easy. I have had other systems like Salesforce in the past, and those just are big weights. Being analytic, I do use excel all the time, from financials, resource allocation, ROI estimation and analytics to help guide intuitive thinking with some analytic undertones.
What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
I have none. I believe I have done well because I work my ass off.
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
My number one go to read is the Harvard Business Review. The articles are interesting and more detailed. However, they aren’t massive books that don’t get to the point. From the book angle, I tend to read books that are about specific skill development. Pleasure read tends to be historical fiction.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Make decisions and move, look for issues and adjust. I try to stress this to our team all the time. Too often, people who are analytic will spend too much time looking at every detail and then eventually make a decision. If that decision is not good, they don’t course correct, as they have spent so much time, and make a full-on commitment to their road ahead.
Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
Better than others; this presumes that I am the best at whatever trait with which I answer this question. So my answer is this, I expect and I practice three elements that provide the foundation that dramatically increases your chance of success – you work hard, you are intelligent and you are respectful to those with whom you work.
Thank you, Mark! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
With over 20 years of professional experience and leadership, Mark Gorman leads Matrix Solutions, the foremost sales ecosystem for all media companies.
Prior to being appointed CEO, Mark worked closely with the Matrix executive team in his role as Managing Director for Main Line Equity Partners (MLEP). In 2013, MLEP provided growth capital investment to Matrix Solutions. Since then, Matrix has increased revenue over 45% and significantly expanded their customer base into new markets.
Matrix Solutions offers a leading web-based media-specific platform that enables intelligent business decisions for managing your sales teams, their opportunities and accounts across TV, Radio and electronic advertising businesses. The Matrix platform transforms chaotic data into actionable sales information and provides deep media sales workflow to gives you the exact information needed for prospecting, managing, evaluating and closing business. Over 500 media customers use Matrix Solutions’ CRM, data normalization and analysis, and reporting functions as their platform of choice for their sales people and managers to get a 360 degree view of their opportunities and accounts
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.