MarTech Series Interview With Matt Schmitt, President and Co-Founder, Reflect Systems

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Today’s Out-of-home advertising and media plans need a strong digital backing and its integral that marketing and advertising leaders ensure they team the right technologies with proven best practices to achieve ROI. Matt Schmitt, President and Co-Founder, Reflect Systems, shares more in this chat:

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Tell us a little about yourself Matt…we’d love to hear about your role, a typical day at work?

I’ve enjoyed a career where I’ve always worked in media and digital content, from broadcast to internet, and in digital out-of-home. In my role at Reflect, I develop strategy for our company, our digital platform, and also for our clients’ digital media and content strategies. It’s great to collaborate across different teams, both internal and external to the company. I love getting to meet with partners on new technology developments and emerging industry trends, collaborating with businesses about their digital strategies, whether it’s an existing client or just someone who is trying to learn more and ideate.

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What are some top trends and martech predictions you’d like to talk about for the out-of-home digital media space?

There’s a growing importance for the digital out-of-home medium to be an informational channel. Out-of-home has long been seen primarily as an advertising or promotional medium. A few years ago, we began to see content strategies incorporating more entertainment and fun content into the programs. Now, there’s also a focus on ensuring that critical information and educational content is being represented in the content programs for things like health & safety messaging. Also, there’s a rapidly growing use of dynamic, data-driven content that is leveraging the benefits of digital channels to provide real-time content and messaging changes.

Can you share your thoughts on how some leading brands are revamping their OOH strategies to gain better traction today and thoughts on a few innovative technologies that are helping here?

Much like the trend we saw with retailers for an omnichannel strategy, we’re seeing consumer brands and lots of non-retail organizations working to use a more customer-centric strategy, leveraging digital technologies and content across multiple channels, including out-of-home. In a more holistic approach to digital marketing, brands are focused on delivering the applications and content to their audience at the right time and place based on convenience, relevance, and timeliness. Digital signage in out-of-home locations is programmed to integrate with mobile apps and messaging, with real-time content being updated on-the-fly based on locally relevant data and audience characteristics and needs.

Tell us about some of the top out-of-home media best practices that you feel smaller / medium segment companies should be following through on when they craft OOH strategies for the first time?

It’s important to recognize that out-of-home is rapidly shifting to a digital medium with unique characteristics. It’s not broadcast media and it’s not online digital, but it shares characteristics of those channels. It has mass reach and can be programmed like broadcast, but it also has the addressability and targeting capabilities of online. But it’s also a “glance medium”, with a lot of the audience interactions happening quickly in transit, whether driving in a car or passing by on foot. So, the media needs to be tailored to the medium, with short-form content that quickly establishes and makes connections to the brand, the message, and any key takeaways.

How can marketing teams today integrate their OOH strategies with their online plans in a more optimized manner?

Include out-of-home as part of the “digital” marketing plan, rather than having out-of-home broken out into a traditional silo. Also, consider and plan for the content needs of the various channels you’ll be leveraging for reach. Be sure to include creative aspects and messaging that will work well for a variety of audiences, as they are in different parts of their daily journeys including at home, on-the-go, in public venues, and programmed through a variety of digital touch points including online video platforms, social, and digital signage networks.

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A few takeaways for marketing and OOH leaders in 2021: top factors they should keep in mind as they plan for the rest of the year?

Get creative with the content and capabilities of digital. Be helpful. Don’t just advertise, but inform and provide utility and insights. Also try to lighten up your content – people need some fun during stressful times. And don’t get tunnel vision – things change. 2020 was a crazy year. If you adjusted heavily in 2020 based on everyone being at home, now is a good time to consider how to adapt to more of a hybrid environment, with some people being out and about now. It may call for unique approaches based on different markets and audiences, so be prepared to keep your strategy agile as you make plans for the year ahead.

Reflect SystemsReflect Systems develops place-based digital media programs that create meaningful connections between brands and people.

Matt Schmitt is the President and Co-Founder at Reflect Systems Inc.

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