Annalect’s CMO Explains Why New York Beats Silicon Valley

A chat with Erin Matts


Who Erin Matts

New gig CMO, Annalect, Omnicom Media Group’s new data marketing tech team

Old gig Svp, chief digital marketing officer, Glam Media

Age 36

What is Annalect anyway?

You can’t open an email newsletter or do anything in this industry without Big Data. And we’re all claiming to have figured it out. It’s a very daunting subject in our industry. [Annalect] is for marketers by marketers. It’s really about how they perceive and how they go about solving problems—unlike big consultants who come in with recommendations but haven’t changed the intelligence or the processes.

What’s the best way to describe your team’s potential impact?

The most interesting question we answer is “Where can I best spend my next dollar?” A practical application of data, where you can optimize KPIs on a daily basis. What we’ve been seeing over the last couple of years is, you couldn’t be in a business pitch without a dreaded dashboard. It makes you want to kill yourself. We’re more about helping you see which data is important. The problem is, a lot of people are ignoring the inputs. They just look at click-through rates. We want to tell you something meaningful. It’s important to note though, this isn’t an agency. We have marketplace software.

How else can you help the industry understand this stuff?

My campaign for mayor would be, Jargon Free by 2014. We can’t keep using the same language. In the early days of digital, you’d be so frightened as a marketer, you’d almost agree to whatever it was. Not anymore.

Why have another group within an agency holding company? You have trading desks already, right?

There are two sides to what we do. There’s the tech stack for processing data, visualizing data. If I’m not an Omnicom client, and [there’s the] prospect of hiring a consultant like McKinsey but it’s too expensive, this may be a solution for them.

You have agency, client and media company experience, having been at OMD, InBev and Glam Media. That has to give you some unique insight.

I’ve been in meetings where I’ve literally sat in everyone else’s shoes, and I’ve thought, “Oh my God, do I really sound like that?” You start to hear your own pitch because we’re all trying to pitch each other. But it does give you a much better sense of how best to frame things for that other party. The things I thought as an agency person were important don’t even affect me as a client. As a client, advertising isn’t about solving ad problems. It’s a byproduct of your business problem. On new business pitches, as soon as I walked in the door, I’d be thinking, what story is going to play well in that room. As a client, it was, I’ve heard that story before.

So, was working for Bud awesome?

It didn’t suck. I mean, there was a bar in the office. That being said, it was an enormous company. It’s hard to get things done. I got to visit different regions of the world. It was like three very large companies in one. I still love beer—almost every one that I was forced to drink.

What was your take on Silicon Valley where you were working while at Glam?

It is very vibrant. We are happy we did it. It was an adventure. But my husband and I realized we are wired for New York. There’s no sense of urgency. Everyone goes home early. I did definitely eat my way through San Francisco, though. Lots of food trucks.