Pivot, then scale with Matt Britton

Social Media Week Podcast Interview

Interview With Matt Briton

Matt Britton is a true pioneer in our industry, having built and sold a number of businesses, including MRY which he sold to the Publicis Group. In his current role as CEO of Suzy, Matt is building something truly unique in the marketing technology space. Featured in this episode, Matt discusses the most significant and impactful shifts in the industry, what inspired him to start his first company, how he pivoted Crowdtap and what he is planning to do with Suzy and how 5G is going to change the game for smart devices and video consumption in the near future. This episode is brought to you by Social Media Week London! (www.socialmediaweek.org/london/attend code: Leads2Scale) Follow Toby and Social Media Week! @tobyd & @socialmediaweek on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

Transcript Of Podcast:

Toby Daniels:                Hi, and welcome to Leads2Scale, a podcast on Social Media Week. I'm Toby Daniels. I will be your host. If you didn't get a chance to listen to our pilot episode, Leads2Scale is a brand new podcast that aims to provide you with practical insights and emerging trends in social media with the goal of helping you achieve your marketing objectives.

Toby Daniels:                Our first interview is with Suzy's founder and CEO Matt Britton. I've known Matt for the better part of a decade and over the years he's become one of our most popular speakers at Social Media Week. Back in April, he sat down with Joseph Rev Run Simmons of Run DMC fame to discuss the origins, current state and future outlook of celebrity influences at our 10th anniversary Social Media Week conference in New York City.

Toby Daniels:                Matt really is a true pioneer in our industry having built and sold a number of businesses including MRY, which he sold to the Publicis Groupe a few years ago. In his current role as CEO of Suzy, Matt is building something truly unique in the marketing and technology space. During our conversation, we talked about how he pivoted and rebranded Suzy. How he's scaling the business and what he sees as the most exciting emerging trends in the social media space. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Toby Daniels:                Welcome to the show, man.

MATT BRITTON:            Thanks for having me Toby.

Toby Daniels:                For the benefit of our listeners, and honestly, it's hard to imagine that anyone out there has not heard of you, or your various accomplishments. But for the uninitiated, tell our audience who you are and what do you do?

MATT BRITTON:            Well, right now I'm the CEO of an advertising marketing technology company called Suzy. I have been running this company for about two years. It was formerly called Crowdtap. Before that for about 15 years, I started and ran a marketing services firm called Mr. Youth, which became MRY, which is not part of the Publicis Groupe.

Toby Daniels:                You've had a long and rich and illustrious career in the advertising business. To a certain extent, over that time, you've seen I imagine some extraordinary changes and shifts happening in the marketing, media and communications landscape. When you look back and you think about the time that you've been in this industry, what are some of the most significant shifts that you've seen been important to you and various businesses that you've started and run over the years that have impacted in a significant way that have really shaped the way that you think about the business?

MATT BRITTON:            Well, I think I've probably seen and many of my peers, yourself probably included, seen more change in the last 15 years that we've been in business than most people probably before us have seen in a lifetime. When I first started my agency, Mr. Youth, the internet itself was just becoming a thing. My very first business had a college called the [inaudible 00:03:12] group, basically was working with some of the first internet companies that were publicly traded like Yahoo, and Lycos, and eBay. And then that went under when the dot com bubble burst in 2000.

MATT BRITTON:            By the time I started Mr. Youth in 2002, the industries were just rebounding from the dot com bubble. When I started the internet as a mainstream consumer media consumption habit was really just in its infancy. And then of course, in 2004, 2005, we were working with Facebook, with the founders, Mark and Eduardo when Facebook started. We were alongside with them for that entire crazy ride, which is still going on in terms of Facebook's meteoric growth, and really the growth of social media marketing.

MATT BRITTON:            Along the way, there's the rapid adoption of the iPhone and mobile computing and smartphones and smart cameras and all the changes that impacted the marketing advertising industry. Its just been quite wild to see these new inventions come about into the marketplace and how large brands really try to react or overreact to them and how incredible new startups are born as with all these changes.

Toby Daniels:                What was your big insight that led to us starting Mr. Youth in the first place?

MATT BRITTON:            I think the insight was and there was nothing new is it's just brands, especially with the advent of the internet, brands really needed help in understanding what that meant for targeting young people. All of a sudden, you have young people that are spending more and more time looking at computers back then, and brands had no idea what to make of it, because up until that point, the only thing they knew how to do is run print ads and take out television spots.

MATT BRITTON:            My whole goal sorry, Mr. Youth was there's more to life in terms of targeting young people then taking out television ads or running print ads, and basically helping brands understand and educate them about how to execute these, what was then non-traditional tactics. And then how to make those things drive our clients business goals.

Toby Daniels:                How did that over the life of the agency up until and even through the Publicis acquisition, how did that initial insight change and how did your thinking of all over that time, and obviously towards the end of your reign at Mr. Youth which obviously then became MRY, you published the book, Youth Nation, which was really a catalog of all of the ways in which you're thinking about. This space and youth audiences and how brands can connect more deeply with these audiences. But how did your insight evolve over that time and what did you learn through the process of actually writing the book?

MATT BRITTON:            That's a long questions. I'll try to answer it as succinctly as possible. When I first started Mr. Youth, my belief was that the best way to target teens and college students was through other teens and college students. This is before social media really existed, didn't exist at that point at all. We did that through building these nationwide student representative programs. Microsoft, for instance, very early on in 2003 hired us to hire 1,000 college students across the country to market Microsoft products.

MATT BRITTON:            Very short in that period, we created a piece of software which became Crowdtap, which became Suzy, where I am today. Everything comes full circle, which is ironic. And then with social media started, a couple of kids at Ivy League schools started to say, well, do we just have to market Microsoft on campus, or can we do it online through Facebook? I said, "Well, what's Facebook?" They told me what it was and I ended up getting in touch with Facebook by looking up in their domain registry, the phone number which I ended up calling and Mark Zuckerberg picked up the phone in late 2003, early 2004. We ended up becoming one of their first ever API partners through the first iteration of Crowdtap. I sold some of the first ads ever on Facebook. That started the journey from our company away from being this peer to peer marketing tacticians to helping businesses understand how to target college students on Facebook because at that point you had to have a .edu address to be on Facebook.

MATT BRITTON:            Then Facebook started to spread. The teens and other demographics and brands started to say to us, "Well, can you help us on Facebook and then soon to be Twitter actually reach all consumers, not just college students?" We're like , "Yes." Then we became tacticians in social media marketing. When I say tacticians, it was more about getting the message out. It wasn't really strategic at that point.

MATT BRITTON:            And then around 2009, 2010 I started to see how this whole game worked in terms of you get paid X amount to do, but you get paid a lot more and you can grow much bigger business if you get paid to think. I saw these other traditional agencies that were working with clients, and I just thought I knew the consumer and I knew this new landscape better than them. We started to reposition our business to being much more of a strategic shop versus just a tactician that can actually go and do stuff, because that would get us a seat at the table, that would get our agency record appointments and that would grow our business dramatically, which it did.

MATT BRITTON:            That really started a whole nother growth phase of our business of becoming a social media agency of record. We were one of Coca Cola's first ever social media agency to record and Microsoft's and the Olympics, et cetera. That was sort of the peak of MRY in terms of its growth rate. A lot of iterations. We've had to keep reinventing ourselves as an agency over time to remain relevant. We could have stayed as tacticians in the college space and peer to peer when we had a decent sized business. But I think our ability to quickly pivot and turn based upon the marketplace and our growth and expertise is really what led to our success as a business.

Toby Daniels:                You talk about going full circle with Suzy and I want to come back to that in just a second. But obviously, midway through your time at MRY, you started Crowdtap. Could you just come back to that and talk about what prompted you to spin out, what was essentially a marketing or martech based company? Why did you spin that out, what was the original vision? And then how did that evolve into what essentially Suzy is today?

MATT BRITTON:            The original iteration of Crowdtap was actually not even called Crowdtap, it was something called RepNation, but it was the same thing, which was software we had built to manage and measure college student ambassadors. When Microsoft would say, hire 1,000 college students. At first, we tried to manage them through Excel, which wasn't really effective. We built the software where they can log in and share reports of things they were doing on campus and communicate with other student reps, et cetera.

MATT BRITTON:            And then what starts to happen is some of the agencies we are working with on behalf of our clients started to say, "Well, now there's this whole new thing called bloggers. Can we license your software to manage bloggers or word of mouth marketers?" I started to think, well, maybe there's another business idea here. That's what led me to spin out Crowdtap into its own company.

MATT BRITTON:            A guy named Brandon Evans, who was the product manager of this product became the CEO. We spun out the company. Brandon and I went on the road show and helped raise venture capital back in 2009. Our lead investor was a foundry group who is still involved in the company today, and a great partner. But that was the impetus behind it. I would sit on the board of Crowdtap for the next seven years as I was building and ultimately selling our agency but remained fairly closely involved with the Crowdtap business. And then after the agency was acquired, and they worked for Publicis for a couple of years, the timing was right for me to come back and take over this company.

Toby Daniels:                Why did you come back?

MATT BRITTON:            There's a bunch of reasons. A, I owned a significant stake of this business. I basically had three choices. I could have stayed working at Publicis Groupe, or went to go work for a similar size larger business. I could have started something from scratch, or I could come to a fairly established business with investors who are friends of mine, which I already owned a significant stake of, and take it from say 10,000 feet to 50,000 feet. Versus taking a company and trying to get it off the runway. I thought that at this point in my career, I could drive a lot more value creation with the latter, taking a company that was already airborne and making it fly higher altitudes than trying to get a company off the runway, and that's what I decided to do.

Toby Daniels:                When you obviously jumped back in, a couple of things you did fairly quickly obviously. You pivoted for one of a better word and rebranded the company. Could you talk a little bit about the thinking around that, and then what is the vision for Suzy today?

MATT BRITTON:            Got it. It was a hard pivot. Basically, when I joined, what Crowdtap was, it was essentially a consumer platform where over a million people signed up to earn points for creating and sharing content. Basically, Huggies would ask a mom who had a baby to take a picture of her and her baby in a Huggies box and share it on Facebook. She would earn rewards for that.

MATT BRITTON:            I just thought that that model was in the rear view mirror because as you know, people every day aren't talking about toothpaste and Twizzlers and peanut butter on social media, they just don't do that. I just thought it was disingenuine. While at a certain point in the early iterations of social media, it was impactful, the algorithms of many of the major platforms had changed. I just thought that that wasn't a business model that could really scale.

MATT BRITTON:            However, I saw sort a diamond in the rough in this user base of over a million people because they were super engaged. Before a brand would allow them to take part in action, they would ask them a series of questions to qualify them and these consumers would answer instantly. I start to look back at my agency days and think of all the times when brand marketers would just guess or basically look at what we call now the, HPPO, the highest paid person's opinion of what they thought what color the logo should be, or what idea was a good idea or what celebrity they should partner with. All that was just subjective.

MATT BRITTON:            Now, we're in a world where everything should be data driven. I took my experience in the agency world and took what I thought was a very powerful always on audience to extract intelligence from, and I connected the dots. That's how Suzy was born. Basically, what Suzy does today is allow businesses of all sizes to leverage a self-service technology platform where they can essentially target a finite group of consumers, ask them a question in a variety different formats, and get answers back instantly in the same meeting there in, to help dictate decision making in ways that Google can't, in ways that an individual can't. Also, go back to those consumers who answer a certain way and retarget them or even pull them into an online focus group or get them to respond to creative.

MATT BRITTON:            You basically have the power of a million consumers in your pocket at all times. We're really trying to fill a white space in the market research market intelligence space that is currently unfulfilled, which is there are 3% to 5% of decisions that are heavily tested through long foreign market research, but that 95% plus decisions have no data behind it. Those little decisions that are wrong with no data behind it can add up to very bad big decisions, and that's the problem we're trying to solve.

Toby Daniels:                Give us an example of some of the brands that are on the platform and using it today and some of the ways that they're benefiting from the Suzy service.

MATT BRITTON:            Sure. We have a lot of major consumer packaged goods companies using it. Whether it be Procter and Gamble, or Johnson and Johnson, they're using it to uncover insights in terms of how consumers are looking at their products, what types of new products they'd like to see, what packaging designs do they think are best? We have a lot of companies that sell direct to consumer, whether it be wireless service companies like T mobile or Netflix as a content company that are using it to test their own content. We have a lot of large companies that are testing social media content before they're pushing it out. Again, testing packaging design. Asking consumers what they thought of the World Cup last night and getting that feedback instantly, which they can then use to frame how they're going to go to market with a certain promotion or a product launch, et cetera.

MATT BRITTON:            We have right now over 80 enterprise brands, major companies that are using the platform for a variety of different purposes. To be honest with you, I don't even know how it's being used because it's really not my business. We licensed the tool. We onboard our clients, we give them suggestions on how they can use it, but ultimately, we don't have access to their data or how they're asking consumers questions. We just want to make sure they're happy with it and we're continuing to build a product that meets their needs. Which is completely different than running an agency business.

Toby Daniels:                It's funny, I was going to ask actually because you started and ran these two businesses in parallel for a while, but obviously now you're singularly focused on Suzy, which is a fundamentally different business as compared to an agency. How has it been different? Has it been tough to make the transition? Without necessarily having to choose favorites, how do you feel in this-

MATT BRITTON:            I will definitely choose a favorite. By far being on the software side, I like so much more. Now, listen, I am blessed to have by circumstance and what I walked into in the great work that the Crowdtap team did before I joined, we have a great product that is a product market fit, that works well, that companies find value in. It's easy for me to say now that it's much better to be a software company because many people that run the software company don't have that luxury. They never get to a point where they have product market fit.

MATT BRITTON:            But once you have product market fit, it's truly a meritocracy. Meaning, I'm not being judged on anything, but how good is my product and how good it meets your needs. Where my largest client on the agency side, we're doing an eight figure revenue some every year, and then the CMO leaves and the new CMO comes in, and the next year we do 5 million in revenue and the next year we're completely out. I put my heart and soul into a business, and to no fault of mine, just because a new CMO comes in, the business evaporates. That's not a meritocracy.

MATT BRITTON:            A lot of big Madison Avenue agencies, they're golfing buddies. The CEO of Madison Avenue Agency is golfing buddies with the CMO of a big brand, then that's how their business gets done. Whether or not they really know where the consumer is headed or not. A lot of companies long term are going to suffer from that. But there's so much politics that go on in the advertising industry, and it's not a meritocracy. The best ideas don't win. What's on your business card, often outshines it at a lot of these large companies where, again, with our company, if our product is good, and it's meeting the needs of our customer, it's going to continue to be adopted. That is great.

MATT BRITTON:            I also love the transactional nature, where I can go in and talk to so many different companies, and meet so many different people and sell it in, and again, then let the product do the work for us. That's what I like a lot better about this business than the ad agency business.

Toby Daniels:                It's just an important insight that you just touched on in comparing these two types of businesses and business models. But I think what's really interesting is how it impacts the consumer at the end of the day. Because in the agency world, the best ideas don't necessarily always make it to the consumer because of the way in which the industry is structured, and ultimately the consumer-

MATT BRITTON:            I'd say 5% of all ideas that we ever presented. Because we were always non-traditional. We didn't make TV spots, we didn't make print ads. So much of what we presented just ended up on the cutting room floor, and we're just getting paid the right PowerPoint decks. Now, we have a real life product that's being used both by consumers and brands every single day. So, we are truly making an impact. That to me is what keeps me going every day and gets me so excited.

Toby Daniels:                Leads2Scale is brought to you by Social Media Week's next conference. SMW London. The UK's premier event for professionals in media, marketing and technology. SMW London is happening November 14th to the 16th at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Center in Westminster, and will feature over 60 talks, workshops and roundtable discussions led by leading thinkers at Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, the Economist, the BBC, BBH London, [inaudible 00:19:11] and many more.

Toby Daniels:                Listeners to this podcast can attend Social Media Week London by registering at socialmedia week.org/london. Use offer code Leads2Scale, that's Leads2Scale at checkout for an extra 15% off the current ticket price. That's Leads2Scale to save 15% off your pass. Okay, on with the show.

Toby Daniels:                So, let's transition a little bit to talking about how you're actually scaling the Suzy business. One of the reasons we started this podcast is because we wanted to able to share, not just insight into your products and the services you provide, but also offering the audience insight into the B2B marketing side of what you do. How do you acquire customers? How do you retain customers? What does the customer relationship look like, and how do you maintain and develop that over time?

Toby Daniels:                You and I are friends and we've known each other for years, I've always been incredibly impressed by you, not just as the leader of your organization, and not just as an entrepreneur, but also as someone in the industry who plays such an important role, and understands how to play the game in terms of how you scale your business. Whether you're acquiring new clients for your agency, or whether you're acquiring new customers for your product.

Toby Daniels:                Can you talk about that from a personal standpoint, as well as from the Suzy perspective, in terms of how you're bringing new customers to the platform?

MATT BRITTON:            I think first and foremost, it goes without saying that whether you're building a technology company or an agency, talent is everything. Our ability to attract and recruit talent that has a sense of urgency when they walk into work every day that believes in the vision, that cares about the company more than they care about themselves, that's going to think about the business when they're in the shower, it's very hard to build that. It's very hard to build a culture that facilitates that talent I'm wanting to work at your company and stay at your company. That's really the number one challenge, I believe is not only our company, but any company that wants to scale that's at our point.

MATT BRITTON:            But putting that aside, there's a bunch of things that we're focused on as a business. We're not just B2B marketers were B2C marketers because we have a consumer product that over a million people are registered for and use. On the B2C side, we are doing a lot of work right now rolling out new features, new functionalities, new products, so we continue to attract a diversified representative sample based. Because ultimately, our clients don't want to hear opinions just from one audience. They don't want to just hear opinions from males 18 to 21. They want to hear a weighted feedback. Some don't, some do, but we need to provide that. A

MATT BRITTON:            lot of work is being done in the B2C side. On the B2B side though, which is what's your question I'll focus more time on that, there's a couple of elements at play. First and foremost is relationships. My ability to build significant relationships with people throughout the advertising industry has been hugely impactful for us to drive the growth in the early phases. Because ultimately, trust is everything. If you are calling someone that doesn't know you or you're just an email address on the screen, I always tell young people, one of the biggest mistakes I've made throughout my entire career is sometimes only focusing on those people who I thought had helped me that that week or that quarter. If I see somebody at a conference, a company that I've never heard of before, or from a maybe another agency or something competitive, I wouldn't pay them as much attention as I would to the person from Coca Cola or Ford Motors.

MATT BRITTON:            I think that's a mistake for a lot of reasons. A, you're going to learn from these people. It's a long road, and those people are going to end up in places where they can help you in the future. You never know where those relationships are going to lead. I always talk about meeting an old client who is not in a place where they could help me for coffee, and her brother in law ended up being a CMO to a major company and ran into us at Starbucks, and she made the intro and that is how we got one of our big customers. If I wouldn't have taken that meeting, it never would have happened.

MATT BRITTON:            I think those relationships are super important. But that only takes you so far. You need to scale beyond your own relationships to build the type of company that we want to build. That's where you really need to build, and that's where you need to build, and what we do, which is a SAAS business, having a scalable marketing automation and demand Gen approach where basically it becomes one big math equation for every X amount of people we reach out to, we get X amount of demos. For every x amount of qualified demos we give, we get X amount of customers.

MATT BRITTON:            Really, it's figuring out what the unit economics are behind that outreach approach and making sure you can scale it in a way that continues to drive growth long term for your business. And then retaining customers, the product should do the work for you. If we continue to build the product and listen to the needs of our customers, and continue to iterate and make it a stable, reliable system, then you can really retain your customers for the long term, which really is the golden goose of SAS is customer retention, because that's how you get business that's [inaudible 00:24:23] every year, and you're really starting to get that hockey stick growth rate that we're looking to achieve.

Toby Daniels:                How important is your contribution individually in the early stages of scaling something versus later on as the business starts to mature? I mean that in the perspective of those relationships that you can't talk about.

MATT BRITTON:            Early on your first 25 customers, it's a herd mentality. If we call an auto company, they're going to ask what other auto companies you've worked with. The only way that you could break that cycle of having the first one dive in is to really get incredibly lucky or lean into a personal relationship. For our first say, 15 to 20 customers, my personal relationships were incredibly important. But now that we're at 80 and heading towards 100 customers, it's less important and it needs to be. Because me running around and selling is not scalable. I need to train our team to build their own relationships and build an engine that can scale the product in a way that's much bigger than me.

MATT BRITTON:            That's another big difference between a software company and an agency. When I was running an agency, I could sell myself. I was at every major pitch, personally. The same way you look at a vein or media. Gary's done an amazing job at selling his own personal brand that gets people in the door and done a masterful job of transitioning it to other people in his organization, because he can only be at so many places at once.

MATT BRITTON:            Well, you can do that a lot easier when you're running an agency because even the largest agencies might have 25, 30 clients in an year. But a software company might have 300, 1,000 clients in the year, then it becomes impossible for you to sell yourself. You need to scale as a team. That's really my focus has shifted a lot in that direction. Obviously, I continue to make intros and be at key meetings, but we have 18 people on our sales team now. And they all have their own quotas, and they have their own relationships. My goal is to motivate them and inspire them and give them the tools that they need to succeed.

Toby Daniels:                when I think about the last couple of years from a social media standpoint, you've obviously represented and you've been a speaker at numerous conferences. You've not just been a personal favorite of mine, you've been a favorite among all of our audiences. The value and the contribution you've made, I think to the conversation and the extent to which you've impacted people through the talks that you've given has been significant.

Toby Daniels:                But one aspect of that which I think is really interesting, which speaks a little bit to how you position yourself as a leader is that not on one occasion did you ever get up on stage and actually talk about your business. Or you talk about your product, or you talk about your clients. It evolved into ultimately, a sales pitch disguised as something else. It was always focused on sharing an insight. Something that you felt very deeply about or something that you're excited about or something you thought would be really relevant to our audience. Talk about why you approach it in that way. And then how you see the benefit to your business by approaching it in such a way so that you're not actually selling, but instead you just creating value?

MATT BRITTON:            Well, you need to create value to build trust and to get people to listen to you in this world. If you're all about taking, taking, taking, you're going to be much less successful, period. Whether you're always asking people for money or favors and you never give back. For me, I actually get value, and a tremendous personal value out of inspiring people, and out of making them think about the world in a different way. Regardless of if it translates to business or not, it's just something I love to do. And you always get such a diverse audience at Social Media Week events, you're going to be able to go on stage and just get the feedback that I've been able to get via Twitter, via people coming up to me after the fact. That to me makes me feel so good regardless of if I ever get business out of it.

MATT BRITTON:            However, at the same point, businesses shop for services and tools and consultants the same way that mom shops at Walmart, she buys from brands she knows. So, she will pay $2 more for a tie versus a private label detergent, because she trusts it. If I continue to be able to deliver value on stage and extend that value into putting out a ton of content on social media, which I've invested heavily in the last couple years, I become a brand that people know. And then when I reach out to them, and I call them a year later, six months later, whenever, they're much more likely to return my call because they've heard of me before, and I'm not just another person that's reaching out to them.

MATT BRITTON:            Ultimately, that's how it pays off, is I'm building myself as a personal brand. Behind that personal brand is somebody that's knowledgeable, trustworthy, energetic, authentic. If I continue to be known as that and more and more people know me, then I'm going to be able to get in front of the people that I need to when I need to get in front of them and that's exactly why I do it. Versus, if I just sold my product on stage. Then I'm just another salesperson. I'm not adding value, I'm not building my brand. They don't come to your conferences to be sold products, they come to your conferences to learn. So, why use an opportunity to force yourself on them? That will not pay off in the long term. It might pay off in the short term, maybe you'll get one customer that happens to want that product that one point and buy, but over time, you won't be asked back to speak at conferences and you're not going to build the value you want to build.

Toby Daniels:                Amen. I love that. I really do appreciate that kind of perspective. Honestly, we've shared your talks with so many of our paying sponsors over the years, as just a best in class kind of example of how to approach and how to create value. Value that obviously you can extract from at some point in the future.

MATT BRITTON:            I think none of the people are patient. They're just like, I need to sell three deals from this conference. If they look at it that way, the short term thinking and you're going to get short term benefit, you have to be invested in the long term. I think that's ultimately what it's all about. You have to be patient.

Toby Daniels:                Let's talk about some industry trends that you're excited about right now. Obviously, there are a number of things that are fueling how you're developing the Suzy products and services, which I'm sure relate to big macro level trends that you see in this place right now. But can you talk about some of those as they relate to Suzy, but also outside of that, what else are you looking at that you're excited about in terms of trends?

MATT BRITTON:            I think one of the main things that's becoming evidently clear is that most of the Fortune 500 is facing a mountain of trouble ahead of them because they do not have first party customer data. You look at the most popular brands in the world traditionally, whether it be Nike or Coca Cola, or the Procter and Gamble brands, you name it. Traditionally, all they had to do is go to Bentonville, Arkansas and get more shelf space at Walmart and then the product is going to sell, that's it.

MATT BRITTON:            But now, you have more younger people staying in cities, and most importantly, more and more people ordering products over Amazon. In order for you to sell direct to consumers and build those direct relationship, you need first party data. Companies don't have first party data. With Suzy, we give companies the ability to make up for their lack of first party data to gain instant insights. Because if they had it, they wouldn't be as valuable to them.

MATT BRITTON:            I think that one major trend outside of Suzy, I think, it's going to be interesting to see how the biggest advertisers in the world really evolve their models. You see Dollar Shave Club being bought for a billion dollars, why? Because they sold to consumers directly in a category that traditionally sold via retailer. I think you're going to see that over and over and over again. I think it's going to be very hard for these large companies to pivot because they have legacy infrastructures, legacy thinking, and they're still relying way too much on traditional retail channels to drive their business in the short term, but in the long term, it's really going to bite them. I think that's one major trend I'm saying.

MATT BRITTON:            I think something like 5G, which is not being talked about nearly enough, is really going to change the game just in terms of smart devices, video consumption, the speed of way faster than what we know today as Wi-Fi on every person's device is just going to change the way they interact with digital content in a way that I think most people can't even comprehend.

MATT BRITTON:            Obviously, voice, I think voice is going to have specific use cases that are going to change the game. In other ways, it's not going to be as big as what people think. But in the ways that it saves people time on an everyday basis, mostly search, I think Google is really going to have to reinvent themselves. Because in a world where the iPhone or Android devices are in everyone's hand when people are going to search. Sure, with Android, Google is going to be able to win, but with a huge iOS penetration, Apple now can dictate who delivers the search results.

MATT BRITTON:            I think it's going to put a lot of pressure on Google from a search standpoint, and obviously television, which is I've talked about a lot at Social Media Week events, still 80% of most large clients' budgets are going towards running television spots, despite the fact that more and more young people and people really of all ages are cutting the cord. Young kids 10, 11, 12 years old have no idea what a TV network is, they just don't know even what it is. Yet, so much money is still going to TV networks.

MATT BRITTON:            When that becomes quite decentralized and content continues to become proliferated everywhere, not just on major TV networks, I think that there's going to be so much business opportunity that's opening up as a part of it, and that's something else that I continue to be fascinated with.

Toby Daniels:                A couple of things that you just mentioned I'd love to touch on. First of all, like today, Facebook and Google are winning, the duopoly, the control is just a huge percentage of digital marketing spend, at the very least. They realistically will continue to win and dominate in the next few years. Who do you see as the potential winners in the future that either are starting to develop and evolve, and start to break through. That exist outside of the [inaudible 00:34:54] even outside some of the other known players in this space.

MATT BRITTON:            Sure. I look at a company like Brandless, who is selling high quality products for $3. I think that they are really onto something there where I think consumers in a barbell economy where you're going to have people who are super wealthy and then people who really are not and not much in between, which obviously has already taken place in many areas around the world. But now is accelerating for better for worse in America. I think they're hitting on both sides of it, where people want quality ingredients, but they also want to overpay for brands. They are building ultimately an audience directly in a world where most of their competitors or products they sell don't.

MATT BRITTON:            I think that's going to be super impactful. I think that the notion of a lot of large companies like IKEA buying TaskRabbit, is I think something that you're going to start to see more and more of. For example, if you look at platforms like Glam Squad that come into people's homes and do makeup for them, I think that if your Revlon or L'Oreal or Maybelline, you're going to want to buy a company like that, because that's distribution into the home. That's first party data.

MATT BRITTON:            I think any company that can create services which have consistent interaction with the consumer and gets into their home or gets into their place of work is going to be able to build tremendous value. Because most of the companies whose products that you're using in the home don't have that access. I think ultimately, the biggest disruptor to all this, which is creating opportunities, is obviously, Amazon. It's just, Amazon I read 50% of all eCommerce is going to be over Amazon by end of this year. And they're just going into every single category.

MATT BRITTON:            Ultimately, we talked about advertising, but the very end of the advertising funnel is people buying stuff. Almost everything now is being bought online and almost everything right now is being bought on Amazon. I think that is the biggest driver of disruption ultimately in the advertising and marketing industry is the very bottom of the funnel and how it's being disrupted by Amazon. That's going to create tremendous roadkill and it's also going to create tremendous opportunity.

Toby Daniels:                One of the talks that you gave, I think it was in Chicago, spoke to this very specifically and talked about death of the brand. Can you talk about that? Some of the folks who are listening to this may or may not have seen that talk. But I just think it was just so interesting and this insight that you provided around the evolution of the brand, and in particular why brands are becoming less important today and why they will become less important in the future. Can you speak to that a little bit? I think it builds on that previous point nicely.

MATT BRITTON:            Yeah, I'll try and summarize it. I think right now, if you look at the top 10 most valuable brands in the world, you don't see Hershey chocolate, or Nike or Tide or Ford or BMW, or those tried and true historically great brands. They are nowhere to be found in that list. What is in their place is Verizon and Microsoft and Samsung, and obviously Google and Facebook.

MATT BRITTON:            The reason why is that those brands are utilities to consumers. They solve problems for them when they wake up at six o'clock in the morning, or when they're putting their kids to bed at night, or when they need to be entertained. They are utilitarian in nature. I think those are brands that matter to consumers. On the flip side, though, brands that allow consumers to tell a story about themselves, like I'm going to wear these sneakers and become a better basketball player, or I'm going to drive this car and enjoy my ride in the countryside better than the other car. I think that consumers are starting to see that there's a very little delta between one brand and the other. Every car is great. Every chocolate bar is great. Ultimately, consumers in the past had no choice but to buy into these brand stories that they saw on television, because they had no other way to access information.

MATT BRITTON:            But now consumers are smarter and they can compare and they can get reviews from other consumers. Because of it, for brands that are all about building that brand story, it's becoming a race to the bottom. It's really hard for these companies to differentiate. That's why you see private label creeping into supermarkets and for things like detergent and shampoo, more and more consumers [inaudible 00:39:16] I think that ultimately is going to continue over time, and it's going to put pressure on a lot of these brands. They're going to have to redefine themselves as utilitarian in nature to make consumers lives easier. Not just make them feel like by having this brand it's going to make them feel differently. Because they think that's just not the case anymore in this world where content is so decentralized, and there's so many brands and there's so much competition and the barriers to entry in so many categories is so low.

Toby Daniels:                It's just a perfect way to end the show. We're out of time. Matt, thanks so much for joining and participating in this conversation. It has been fantastic. For the listeners, where can they find more information about you specifically and of course Suzy?

MATT BRITTON:            Yeah. Me, it's pretty easy mattbritton.com M-A-T-T-B-R-I-T-T-O-N.com. All my past speaking engagements including some of the ones that Toby spoke about, Social Media Week is there, as well as thought leadership posts, things like that. And then about Suzy, go to Ssuzy.com S-U-Z-Y.com and you can find out what we're working on at Suzy.

Toby Daniels:                Fantastic. Thanks again, Matt, much appreciated.

MATT BRITTON:            Thank you. Yep, talk soon. Take care man.

Toby Daniels:                This has been Leads2Scale brought to you by Social Media Week. For more information on how to get involved with future events visit socialmediaweek.org. If you have a moment, please rate, review and subscribe to Lead To Scale wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks so much for listening.