For the average person, marketing is a fact of life – even if you don’t realize it. From the ads on our phones, social media platforms, web browsers, smart TVs and more, we’re receiving subtle and not-so-subtle sales pitches based on accumulated data. It might sound annoying at first, or even potentially scary, but if businesses step up to the idea of “conscious marketing” and target audiences with exactly the ads that they want, then the practice becomes not only profitable but also the best way for consumers to create their perfect brand experience.
Watch highlights from Honeysuckle's exclusive interview with Nancy Hall, CEO of Matterkind US, by Jeff Ragovin, Chief Commercial Officer at Fyllo!
What Is Matterkind?
Enter Matterkind (formerly Cadreon), the activation intelligence company that builds its entire mission on conscious marketing. As part of the global marketing technology giant Interpublic Group, Matterkind focuses on what it terms “addressable activation” – the ability to show that ideal ad to the right person at the right time – and engages some of the world’s most successful businesses as its clients. One of the few international brands led by a female global CEO, Erica Schmidt, Matterkind is also helming efforts to direct clients and content toward a wider inventory of BIPOC owned and operated publishers and sites, a move that’s encouraging greater diversity at all levels of the marketing industry.
Nancy Hall, CEO of Matterkind US, is an incredible example of that. Recently named one of the country’s Top 30 Changemakers in Partnership Marketing, Hall had years of experience as a digital marketing executive at various companies, but could never score a promotion to the C-suite due to the sector’s discrimination against women. (In fact, she recalled that her senior advisor in college told her “only six-foot-tall men are CEOs – that stuck with me as a motivator, being a five-foot-tall female.”) When she found Matterkind, which she sought out strategically for its diverse thought and practice, Hall knew she was home.
Matterkind, Fyllo, And Cannabis Consumer Data
Since Hall’s recent promotion to CEO, she has pioneered Matterkind’s impact outreach toward generating more marketplaces for BIPOC owned brands, publishers and audiences to converge. Moreover, Hall is interested in ensuring that brands and publishers from all walks of life can match up with the audiences right for them. It’s about representation of diverse lifestyles. She states that the company is always seeking dynamic approaches to audience groups and clients alike. That’s why their team has recently partnered with cannabis data and compliance firm Fyllo to explore cannabis consumers as an evolving marketing demographic and a new data source for their clients.
“We really like Fyllo,” said Hall, “because Fyllo is bringing cannabis to the digital marketing ecosystem in a way that is digitally responsible. We have a digital responsibility team within Matterkind in order to ensure that the partners we work with are those that are bringing ethically sourced opt-in data to us, and therefore to our customers. Fyllo passed this with flying colors because Fyllo has as its premise that cannabis data is an important data source, also [one] that is opted-in, ethically sourced, and compliant.”
Jeff Ragovin, Chief Commercial Officer at Fyllo, sat down with Nancy Hall for an exclusive interview in the Hamptons to dive into the possibilities of conscious marketing, the future of diversity and cannabis in targeted advertising, and their companies’ truly fantastic partnership.
Matterkind US’s CEO Nancy Hall Talks Conscious Marketing, Diversity, And Cannabis
JEFF RAGOVIN: Nancy, what was it about Matterkind that attracted you?
NANCY HALL: I love that Matterkind was and is a hybrid of an ad tech data and agency company, and that a company like that could do really great things for their clients and their brands. It's imperative today in the digital ecosystem to have a true understanding and practice within the ad tech and martech space.
Matterkind’s already doing a lot for diversity, but what needs to change in business across the board for women and minorities?
I believe that a diverse executive leadership team is important for business today, that trickles down to a diverse thought process. That allows for different experiences and points of view to infiltrate and become part of a company and their culture. That is how we see inclusive, strong businesses that are representative of the general population and are doing things for their clients that represent the world’s diversity.
What is Matterkind doing to further the mission of conscious marketing?
Conscious marketing is intentional purposeful marketing with the consumer at the center. That [marketing] takes into consideration the way the person who receives the message will feel. [It’s] showing them a relevant message at the right time, in the right place, that's convenient for them on the right device. And considering the amount of times that they will see that particular ad from that particular company, it is creating a bridge between a brand and a consumer so that the consumer has a positive feeling and engagement with that brand.
Matterkind is at the forefront of the conscious marketing movement. We're one of the leaders and a proponent. It is the core of everything that we do. And it's not only about messaging to a consumer, that conscious marketing is a part of, it's also about the ethos of an organization. It's about working with partners who are digitally responsible and data companies, like Fyllo, who have privacy compliant and ethically sourced data. And that is an important part of Matterkind's mission and the way we operate our business.
What’s the most effective way to activate conscious marketing?
That depends on the consumer and their journey. When we put on our consumer hats, we think about the fact that we utilize devices when the time is right. And it's convenient to us, our phone on our commute in the morning, the iPad at night before we go to bed, a TV when we're relaxing. It's really not about the device. It's about the people. So ensuring as a brand that you can showcase the right message and consistently storytell to a consumer across all of those channels is a critical part of marketing.
We’re in a time of public mistrust. There’s so much misinformation around privacy rights and people using data in the wrong way. How should society in general think about the way their data is being used?
Education of the public is critical. The data’s anonymous and it’s being used to inform messaging and to make sure that people receive relevant ads… For example, if I’m planning an all-inclusive vacation to a warm climate, it’s important for me to see messaging from cruises and hotels and resorts that I can consider as part of my vacation planning. That only happens with targeted data, anonymous data that’s used to inform a brand about me and what I’m interested in. That is how we build up advertising in a way that people can relate to and people can learn about brands. If we do it in the right way, when we employ concepts like conscious marketing, we’re able to build relationships and trust between brands and consumers.
Right. I’m an avid fisherman and I get ads all day long for lures and rods. I also cook, so I get a ton of ads for cutlery, specialty foods, and gourmet items, which I love. If I get ads on things I don’t love, it’s going to be annoying. That’s part of the public discourse where we need to better educate people. Most people are operating on hearsay and think, “Oh, they’re using my data against me.” How do we let most consumers out there know that this is the way that data should be used?
I think the same way that brands utilize data and these concepts for marketing to sell their products, their goods and services, we should be utilizing data in order to run ad campaigns to educate the consumers, the general public, on the states that have passed privacy laws about conscious marketing and about good use of data. And when consumers understand, I think they'll be agreeable to the way we market. And when they understand that many companies are digitally responsible and that the data that's being used is only opt-in, they’ll feel good about it. But if they don’t know, it’s hard to get to the point where they want to [do that].
At Matterkind, you place a high value on addressability in marketing. What is that?
Addressability is the ability to show messaging that is data-driven, people-first, not channel-first. It is the way to utilize data, to inform messaging, to ensure that that right and relevant message is shown to a person at the right time in the right place. That is the way to market well to consumers, so that you can ensure that people are seeing that message that they want to see, and that is intentional and purposeful to that point in time for them.
What does that mean for audience interaction with your brands?
There are different audiences the brands would like to reach, [and] utilizing data as an input to ensure that we know who the people are, is important. That is the way that we message to consumers on behalf of our brands to drive that positive brand experience. There are underserved communities and audiences today that brands have not typically been reaching, and that is an area that we believe is really important. The ability to understand and utilize data and inventory [of] publishers that are BIPOC-owned and operated is a way for us to deliver reach and amplify that reach for our brands to those underserved communities and audiences.
How do you create impact for minority-owned brands and sites through addressability?
By ensuring that you’re reaching the right group of consumers through data and through BIPOC owned and operated publishers – those websites that are owned and operated by the BIPOC community. They have reached those different audience groups; it’s a way to deliver that messaging and reach to those audiences.
Matterkind is a proponent of utilizing an inventory of BIPOC owned and operated publishers and sites. We ensure that a certain percentage of [a brand’s] media is dedicated to those BIPOC publishers and sites. In some cases we create marketplaces for a particular community, for our brands to utilize those BIPOC sites so that they reach the audience they intend.
With those sites you’re creating general and sub-marketplaces. What’s the difference between the two, and how is the strategy different for brands in those marketplaces?
General marketplaces could be anything. It could be reaching auto intenders [people who are seeking to buy cars]. But those sub-marketplaces where we’re aggregating the BIPOC inventory, those BIPOC owned and operated sites ensure that we’re reaching, for example, auto intenders from those certain audience groups or underserved communities. That allows us to reach those audiences and amplify the reach so that we can scale out a program for a brand.
It’s all about utilizing consumer data in a thoughtful, targeted way, which is what we do at Fyllo. And we work with Matterkind specifically when it comes to consumer data. How does access to data help minority-owned businesses?
Access to the data allows us to execute on precise marketing. Reaching that specific group of people in the right place at their right moment that is convenient to them.
At Fyllo we’ve spent a lot of years getting people over the hump on cannabis data. It’s a very specific subset of data we’ve never had access to before, but it’s another mechanism for us to reach people. How do Matterkind’s clients feel about cannabis?
Our clients are within a number of different verticals, so there's not a one-size-fits-all approach to the way they feel about it. Some utilize cannabis consumer data as an input because it is relevant to their consumers and therefore it is a way for us to know and to show relevant messaging to those particular people.
It used to be that we couldn’t talk about cannabis, because it was seen as a drug. Now cannabis is looked at the same way we’d look at cocktails. From Matterkind’s perspective, how are you implementing that into the business?
First, we’re talking about cannabis consumer data, or cannabis networks or publishing sites. As a company, we don’t have a stated corporate policy – at least not yet – toward cannabis usage. We do have clients that have a customer base that they want to reach [who consume] cannabis. Therefore, utilizing cannabis data informs us about who these people are, what they like, what they like to do. That allows us to show them relevant messaging and ensure that we’re reaching them in a way that is important to them. That is the way to build bridges between brands and consumers, showcasing that brands know them. It’s conscious marketing.
How are you working with your clients to destigmatize cannabis?
As a business, our role is not to destigmatize any topics. Our role is to advise our clients, the advertisers, on how to precisely target and reach their consumers with the right message. When cannabis is an input, it is one that we talk to our clients about and give them an understanding of the data source, and how it’s digitally responsible and ethical. We’re utilizing it to truly understand their consumers and to message to them in a way that is meaningful to that person receiving the ad… There are obviously many different uses and use cases for cannabis data. And when it is relevant to our clients, we will advise them that we would like to utilize it and that we think it is the right input for them, for that particular campaign.
We’ve been touting at Fyllo that cannabis consumers are one of the most dynamic groups out there. How do you feel about that?
We see all consumer groups as dynamic. That’s our business and that’s how we have to operate for our clients. We are, as a business, agnostic across partners and data sources, and that is a benefit to our clients. It’s also agnosticism across different data types, but we want to hone in on the data that’s going to inform in a very specific way so that our messaging is really relevant. The dynamic nature of it comes in utilizing data sources that are new. Cannabis data sources are new. They’ve evolved and are becoming a more mature type of data source, and the usage of it is interesting and new for our clients.
To that end, Matterkind and Fyllo have a fantastic partnership.
Our business and the way we operate it is about innovation. Sometimes that’s a test and learn approach, and sometimes it’s about bringing something new and exciting to our brands that can deliver different types of targeting. Utilizing Fyllo data allows us not only to understand consumers in a different way, but it allows us to utilize a different data source to target and reach new customers for our brands. That’s always the key, reaching new people you might not have reached before.
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Featured image: Matterkind US CEO Nancy Hall in East Hampton (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture