MarTech Interview with Jeff Fagel, CMO at MadHive

Far too many marketers today work within a marketing ecosystem that is too fragmented; Jeff Fagel, CMO at MadHive shares a few pointers and practices that can help prevent this from being a roadblock to future marketing ROI and goals:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Jeff, what made you venture into marketing and how has your journey been so far?

I started my professional career media training physicians. I had no formal experience, besides the fact that I suffered through yearly sinus infections and my father was a physician. Not the type of résumé that would jump out and suggest “hire this guy,” but there I was, educating highly trained specialists on the secrets of conducting a successful interview. 

Fast forward 20+ years, I’ve since presented countless ideas, built thousands of presentations and launched many products and initiatives—some nascent, like the first shoppable video on Facebook, and others attempting to save dying categories (margarine) or broken brands (Kmart). 

In this time, I’ve observed that the best marketers leave room for possibilities. They’re open to new ways of thinking and aren’t afraid to champion ideas, often against a stiff headwind of opposition. 

Now more than ever, we have to continuously improve our message. How do you break through the clutter?  We’ve been in an “attention economy,” and that’s only been exasperated by COVID. There’s a good quote from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix — he’s famous for saying that sleep, not HBO or Hulu or Amazon, is his biggest competitor. So how do you get people to pay attention, to care, when so much has shifted dramatically within the past few years?

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Tell us more about your new role as CMO at MadHive?

I joined MadHive at a key inflection point in the marketing industry. The traditional way of thinking has evolved to give CMOs new ways to orchestrate and prove the impact of their ad spend across a growing list of complex channels. Our end-to-end digital TV platform allows advertisers to achieve national scale with local precision.

MadHive has scaled its business quickly, helping the nation’s largest broadcasters transition to streaming with an unparalleled modern OTT operating system.  Major broadcast partners include Fox, Scripps and TEGNA’s Premion.  We’ve expanded our offering to Fortune 500 and brands, including McAfee and Bob’s Furniture. We have a 90 percent renewal rate, and we’ve tripled our revenue since 2019, while growing our employee base by 75 percent. 

This new role presents an opportunity to shift the marketplace conversation, re-imagining what’s possible and driving the industry towards more targeted and accountable solutions.   I’ve said to my team — how do we invite marketers to challenge what’s possible in their marketing? It’s human nature to need a map.  If you are brave enough to draw one, others will follow.  I’m big on drawing maps. 

What are some of the foremost priorities you’d address or that you feel any new incoming CMO should address in their role?

I see 3 key foundational areas no matter the industry or role. 

  1. People: Build a high-performing team and recruit best-in-class talent. 
  2. Process: Ensure the team is focused on the right priorities to drive growth, including, prioritizing plans across clients, prospects, verticals and solutions  
  3. Accountability Drives Success: Build a healthy balance between strategic brand developmental areas and immediate revenue acceleration needs.  Too many senior marketing roles are focused simply on driving leads. I look at the mix 50% Revenue, 40% Strategy and 10% what I call “Poke the Box,” which is a fancy way to say, try stuff out and be willing to push out of your comfort zone.

How do you feel today’s B2B marketing teams need to be structured to help draw better value from martech stacks?

A lot is dependent on the size and scale of the organization, but there are fundamental truths that are always consistent.  For starters, there needs to be a clear marketing strategy with alignment on priorities across the executive team. This often is easier said than done, especially in mature organizations with multiple lines of business.  Alignment on the strategy helps guide resourcing both from a staff and program spend.  For example, for an organization heavily weighted toward demand generation there is a definite need for a data strategy, along with an experienced marketing operations team working closely with sales and revenue operations.  

Also, as organizations and revenue scale, balancing between more general marketing expertise and specific experience like product marketing, PR, analyst relations and content marketing is essential.

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Can you talk about some of the most interesting B2B marketing trends you’ve been following closely and those that you feel will redefine the market in 2022?

Tools like Uberflip are enabling easy ways to scale and personalize content marketing initiatives, and can be used by both marketing and sales teams. Beyond account-based marketing (ABM) tools, platforms like 6Sense are helping uncover anonymous buying behavior, allowing teams to prioritize accounts and market to buying teams with personalized campaigns. This customized approach to building marketing experiences is going to play an integral role in the future, and is reflected in TV via the emerging trend of ‘local at national scale’.

A few martech – OTT tools you feel should be on every marketer’s radar?

Marketers today face a very fragmented ecosystem. They are looking for ways to connect the dots across screens and understand the impact of their campaigns, but the system is more complex than ever. As audiences continue to cut the cord at record pace, advertisers are looking for solutions that allow them to execute cross-screen, targeted campaigns at scale.

MadHive is an enterprise software that helps advertisers connect the dots and reach granular audiences at scale across the US. We are built on local DNA and have unrivaled coverage of the OTT local universe. We cover 100% of OTT markets, and we have the underlying technical ability to reach hyper-targeted local audiences at scale across the US.

Another challenge advertisers face today is opacity in the supply chain. While most ad tech providers offer narrow solutions that solve for one point in the supply path, MadHive offers a truly collapsed tech stack with no hidden fees or ad costs. We plug directly into supply, meaning advertisers can rest assured they won’t encounter additional hidden fees on our platform.

Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital marketing and martech tips and best practices before we wrap up!

Constraints breed creativity, and COVID was a swift kick-in-the-pants challenging all to re-think, shift and push ourselves to think outside of the box. 

I’d say no matter what industry, level or role, challenge yourself to think differently, challenge your beliefs and consider something new. This can be as simple as being open to speaking to new partners, join a like-minded  industry community – and consistently participate – or leave your current role if it falls short of your values, rip the band aid off and find a role where you can thrive, in an environment that values you.

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MadHiveMadHive is an enterprise software platform that provides brands, agencies, publishers, and technology companies the infrastructure to power modern media.

Jeff Fagel is the CMO at MadHive

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