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TechBytes with Mark Gorman, CEO, Matrix Solutions

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Mark Gorman, CEO, Matrix Solutions

Tell us about your role at Matrix and the team/technology you handle.

My role as CEO at Matrix Solutions is actually connected through my work with Main Line Equity Partners, which finds technology or technology-enabled companies in which we see potential to invest and help them grow. Matrix Solutions had an impressive footing in linear broadcast, especially at the local level, but I saw the potential to enhance its functionality among the non-linear media industry and in both the national and international playing fields.

In these efforts, my role is to spearhead the push behind maximizing the output and utility of Matrix’s global ad platforms to serve the needs of media industry organizations. Our technology provides them actionable sales data to inform their business strategies and more efficiently execute their advertising workflow. The technology empowers customers to fully digest insights from their media sales activity, which they can use to fine-tune their approaches in order to best monetize content and generate ad revenue.

How does your technology empower Sales and Marketing teams to work with their media inventories?

Our flagship platform Monarch is a one-size-fits-all CRM platform with in-class analytics, sales intelligence, budgeting, forecasting and reporting tools that media sales teams can employ for a comprehensive window into their organization’s ad sales workflow. It can pull and normalize data ingested from a media company’s revenue reporting and traffic systems, which can be used to help understand which advertisers are driving the most revenue and offering them valuable business as a content house. Thus, our technology empowers media companies to take a closer look at the state of their ad sales activity and determine where value is coming from and subsequently determine how this activity can be modified to best sell inventory as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Which technologies help amplify the ‘monetization’ index of any media asset? What roles does Matrix play here?

I think sales and/or business intelligence analytics might be the immediate answer to which specific technologies are amplifying the ability to better monetize media assets, but it’s much greater than this. Analytics and traffic activity reports give media companies a download of their workflow and a breakdown on which customers are buying inventory, where they’re doing so and how often. Matrix’s Monarch platform is able to normalize this information to help media companies fully digest these insights and see where the value is truly coming from, and based on this, adjust their ad sales strategy to ensure the optimal plan of action is set to best monetize their content.

Why did you choose to publish the Matrix Ad Churn Report now? Do you think it would have amplified more if it came in the first six months of 2018?

At its core, Matrix Solutions is a company with a mission to empower media companies with the best resources and insights out there to really look at their ad sales activity and figure out how they can best monetize their channel(s). There are many factors that impact the relationship a media sales team has with advertisers and agencies and how business between the two is managed. In our efforts to illuminate how our customers can best evaluate these relationships in ways that will generate the best value out of their prized inventory, we recognized advertiser churn as one of these factors impacting bottom line in various ways.

Our report shows which media channels are most likely to experience churn, which categories of industry are privy to and not privy to returning business and even which specific brands are the most and least likely to churn, plus the amount of ad dollars afforded by churn in these respective instances. This track record is valuable information that media sales teams can operationalize in their continued efforts to revamp sales strategies, source new business opportunities and manage relationships with current customers. I don’t necessarily think the time of year impacts the weight of this data. These insights should be kept in mind throughout ongoing business development and relationship management processes.

How do brand safety standards disrupt ad sales performance? What impact could GDPR-like regulations have on ad sales performance?

It’s true brands are becoming increasingly more careful over which media companies receive access to their data pools containing the personal information of their customers. So in this regard, we could see more brands being particularly possessive and more selective in where they purchase ad inventory. But above all, GDPR-like regulations will likely limit the output of media content, putting control over this matter into the hands of a select few. As far as sales is concerned, there will be few that leave happy and many that’ll leave with nothing in their pockets.

What does your product roadmap/Content Marketing technology blueprint look like for 2018-2022?

  1. Advanced AIML – Currently, Matrix is working on (i) advanced segmentation (delineating and analyzing ad buyers by behavior and seeking to identify inflection points that indicate shifts in buying behavior are coming); and (ii) advanced forecasting.
  2. Single Pane of Glass – Seeking to bring forward 1st and 3rd party data to the right person at the right time as they begin and work through the sales process with an advertiser from beginning to end. Our objective would be to blend linear, non-linear, OTT, events, sponsorships, etc., into one system for one seamless level of planning, procuring and executing.

Could you elaborate further on national versus local ad churn findings? What lessons should sales teams take from this finding?

There are many variables that affect advertiser churn rate and some of these are directly tied to the nature of the national vs. local media landscapes. The report found churn rate at the national level was higher across all media platforms — broadcast, radio and digital broadcast — than at the local level, so in other words, brands that advertise with local media outlets are more likely to repeat business.

There are a couple of reasons behind why this is. First, the price point of national ad spots are about three times greater than that of local, which for some advertisers is enough reason to not return business. Next, regional prioritization can affect churn rates as well. Many brands are likely to return business to local markets where their sales have historically been strong, steering them away from purchasing national inventory. The data doesn’t say media sales teams should always prioritize local inventory or the brands that covet these spots. Rather it’s another variable in solving the equation wherein media sales teams get the most value out of their customer relationships and where it makes sense to exert resources in prospecting and maintaining business that will generate the best yield.

How could sales and advertising team better leverage Data Management Platforms (DMPs) and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) to build a more efficient ad sales pipeline?

Data from ad spend can come at media sales teams from different directions and in varying forms, and every combination of these could provide useful insights. Platforms as such can take chaotic streams of data and translate it into actionable sales insights that sales teams can operationalize to refine strategy with an approach that will yield the most profitable outcome. In terms of our platform, Monarch is the only data platform designed to fit the unique ad sales workflow of today’s media companies.

Possessing a bird’s eye view into these processes of a media organization illustrates exactly what’s going on as it relates to ad sales which can be broken down into the insights AEs need to inform their day-to-day activity and successfully close deals. The sum of it all benefits the performance and profitability of the team. Additionally, Monarch is an open architecture, with the ability to ingest multiple data sets (first and third party) normalize the data and provide value at an account level.

Your advice to the industry on ad churn performance.

Advertiser churn is inevitable across all media platforms and in all categories of industry. The takeaway for media companies here is to realize that churn exists and that there are ways sales teams can best work around this inevitability and better position themselves for success, while preventing losing thousands of dollars in ad revenue. They should consider insights from this report as a framework of how they can best prioritize certain platforms and industries as they carry out and revamp their business development strategies. There are many ways to either increase the value of content or maximize channel potential, and keeping a pulse on advertiser churn as depicted here is a way to generate success.

Thank you, Mark. Hope to see you again on MarTech Series.

With over 20 years of professional experience and leadership, Mark Gorman is leading 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.

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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

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