Consulting activity around marketing technology continues to gain steam, with interest coming both from small boutique firms such as Unbound Company and Freestyle Consulting (both established by former Mediabrands executives) and large established advisory companies such as Deloitte and Accenture.
The latest company to join the fray is Concept Corridor, a one-man consulting play founded by serial agency and ad tech CEO Matt Spiegel. Spiegel was most recently SVP, GM of the Americas for MediaMath, a position he assumed when the demand side platform (DSP) bought his previous startup, mobile and video ad server Tap.Me, in November 2012. He stayed on with MediaMath for a year, first running its OPEN Partner arm and later its revenue operations in North and South America.
Before that he was instrumental in building Omnicom Group’s answer to the audience buying trend, first as CEO of Omnicom Media Group Digital and later as head of its trading desk, Accuen.
The vision with the new firm is to advise marketers trying to figure out what they need to get from their “marketing stack.” On the publisher side, he will help media and technology companies speak the language of agencies.
“Over the last six to 12 months, the word ‘programmatic’ has become something people at least know,” Spiegel said. “Now is a good time to help marketers try and figure it out in a way that gets them ready for the next generation of marketing – the idea of addressability.” Spiegel spoke with AdExchanger.
What are you up to?
I’m one of the few guys in the industry who has lived it from various sides. I have a lot of experience from the buy side on programmatic and search. The early part of my career is ad sales, and the last little bit has been in ad tech. I’ve always been in the technology and data driven side of the marketing space. As programmatic becomes more commonplace, I view the world as becoming fully addressable, marketers are doing lots of stuff, but they’re struggling to understand what it is they’re ultimately doing.
On one hand I act as someone who can help the marketer put together that technology stack that understands how to get that true view of the customer, how to connect the marketing docs, how to think about what their team looks like, what skills they need, how they create new business processes.
On the flip side, I work with guys on the sell-side, be it media or technology companies, who don’t really understand in depth how marketers and agencies think, what they need, and how to speak that language. So it’s translating interesting features and functions into a story that has true benefits for marketers and agencies. It’s “Help me package my solutions and sell them to agencies.”
Do you have any partnerships or relationships on the platform side, where you earn revenue by reselling solutions?
No. There will be a host of technology companies that will be clients of mine. As part of my work, will I be helping them connect with either agency buyers or marketers directly? Obviously, yes. But my mission is to be an independent advisor, not a reseller for X, Y, or Z company.
Is there a systems integration piece?
Any marketer needs way more than one technology provider in the space right now. The stack is not complete for any one solution. Whether I’m doing “systems integration” depends on how technical that term gets. There will be times when I will work with guys I know in the space to do more technical implementations. But a lot of my work will be much more on the marketing strategy side. A lot of companies have internal resources and IT teams that can handle implementation. It’s more a question of: How do I ask the right questions of partners and how do I make sure I’m building a scalable and flexible solution? It’s understanding what they’re doing that I find is more often the challenge than having the resources to do it.
Are you taking any funding?
Not taking any investment. It’s just me. I haven’t hired anybody, and don’t have immediate plans to do that.
That destroys my conspiracy theory that Concept Corridor is part of MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki’s world domination plan.
I can confidently tell you that I’m not part of the ecosystem that is the MediaMath network.
What’s the profile of your ideal client?
My core passion is working with enterprise marketers. Retail and CPG will probably be two big ones. I’m looking to work with Fortune 1000 brands.
You’re moving away from a management role. Will you miss that?
My career has always had some back and forth – some pendulum swinging. I’ve started a company from scratch and certainly do enjoy building teams and mentoring people. I’ll miss that. But I also really enjoy being able to get a little bit of distance to offer perspective on the big things that matter. There are so many moving parts in this industry that we can get lost in the woods. The idea of being able to keep my head up rather than down is exciting to me.