With the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA’s) adtech transparency study due to be published later this year, we’ve been taking a look at some of the broader issues that are likely to be mentioned in the report and sharing our approaches to tackling them.

In our first article we explored various aspects of media quality and how brands can make sure they’re buying the right inventory. Our second article took a deeper dive into total-path optimization (or TPO), which helps brands understand the value delivered by each element of their adtech ecosystem and ensure they are working with the right partners in the most efficient way.

For the third and final post in the series we’d like to discuss the nuances of various DSP setup approaches, a topic that is coming up more frequently lately and one that we expect to appear in the forthcoming ANA study.

Separate or shared DSP seats?

The setup of DSP seats is a subject that has been raised in the ISBA Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study undertaken in the UK by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

One of the recommendations in the original 2020 report was that “advertisers should insist their agency has a separate seat for each client, and that log level data be readily available. Advertisers could also consider operational changes such as direct contractual relationships with DSPs and strengthening (or developing) direct publisher relationships.” The latest report, published in January 2023, simplifies that statement: “advertisers and agencies should agree on separate DSP seats for each advertiser, to avoid the complexities of isolating data when multiple advertisers are combined within a single seat.

These recommendations are in response to findings that show relevant buy-side data from agencies and DSPs is not always readily available to advertisers and that some advertisers do not have access to the platforms being used on their behalf. As this issue has been raised in both ISBA reports, we feel the upcoming ANA report may well make a similar recommendation.

Advertisers typically have three activation options: Leverage an agency’s general/shared seats, request dedicated agency seats, or take on seat ownership themselves. Data isolation and partitioning is not a problem in any of these scenarios, but each option has pros and cons, which we discuss in detail with our clients to ensure they are leveraging the setup that best fits their objectives.

How to identify the best activation scenario for your brand

The conversation around seat ownership will usually involve two major decisions:

Who should own the seat? The Advertiser or the Agency?

A small percentage of advertisers choose to take on the DSP relationship themselves, granting them ownership of their historical performance data and complete control of the platform. This is particularly useful if a brand wants to implement activation or optimization in-house, or if they want to swap agencies without rebuilding campaigns and algorithmic learnings in a new seat.

Those major benefits come with major drawbacks. Advertisers must negotiate their own rates, which in most cases are much higher than agency rates, and take on all billing and administrative tasks including login curation, seat-level inventory selection, and brand safety management. These tasks often require training, office hours with reps, and lengthy newsletter updates to ensure seat owners are up to date on the latest aspects of their platforms. Most clients will also find that their level of platform service and support, roadmap influence, and makegood negotiation will suffer compared to the “white glove” standards that global agencies are able to maintain. Some DSPs even have strict minimum spend thresholds. Due to these factors, most clients will need to consolidate their buying power into a single platform partner, eliminating the flexibility and agnosticism that an agency can provide.

Bottom line: Only consider seat ownership if you have significant spend levels and internal bandwidth/expertise.

Does the Agency-owned seat need to be “Dedicated” to a single brand/advertiser/client?

Most clients choose to leverage agency-owned DSP seats to take advantage of their agency’s lower platform rates, higher level of service and influence, and administrative expertise. But once that decision is made there may be a need to discuss what type of seat setup your agency is utilizing.

Very few DSPs were built with multi-seat admin functionality in mind, so most agencies still operate out of as few seats as possible to maximize operational efficiency for all parties involved (rolling out beta features, curating logins and inventory sources, etc.). This situation is fine for most brands as their data is safely siloed at the advertiser level within these “general” seats. Reporting and log level data can easily be provided to clients or auditors without the need to grant UI access to a 3rd party (pending any legal terms that may be in place between client & agency). Lastly, as these general seats are usually already established and fine-tuned, a new advertiser can be set up immediately. This makes these seats a good option for new clients with tight launch deadlines.

That said, there are a few reasons why an advertiser would need a dedicated seat. Some want to be hands-on and need deeper access to a platform’s UI than can be safely permissioned in the general seat. This could be to conduct QA, to suggest optimizations, research audiences, upload CRM data, etc. Others are considering eventual in-housing and want to have the option to transfer ownership of the seat in the future, preserving their historical learnings and campaign assets. Keep in mind it may take a few weeks to get a new dedicated seat up & running and any existing campaigns that already live in a general seat will need to be rebuilt from scratch.

Bottom line: All agency seats provide powerful benefits but consider requesting a dedicated seat if your internal marketing team requires direct UI access or if you want to eventually bring the entire seat in-house.

Regardless of the ISBA or ANA recommendations, it is important for brands to understand all the options and ramifications before they decide on the most effective DSP seat setup for their needs. It may also be necessary to revisit the conversation as the needs of the advertiser and platform capabilities evolve over time.

To find out more about the topics we expect to be discussed in the ANA report, and what we are doing to address them, take a look at our first article about ensuring media quality, and our second article about understanding value in the ecosystem through strategies such as total-path optimization (TPO).

Whether you’re settling into your first business role or you’re a seasoned pro, chances are you’ve come across the term “CRM.” CRM, which stands for customer relationship management, is the process by which organizations analyze and manage their interactions with current and potential customers.

A CRM system refers to the technology used to aid customer relationship management. Businesses use CRM systems to collect and store customer data in a central database. With this data, businesses can gain a better understanding of customer journeys to improve customer service, make more informed marketing decisions, and drive sales.

Why is a CRM system so important?

A well-built CRM system helps different functions across an organization stay aligned with each other. As the sole point of truth that different teams can access, a CRM system aids transparency, communication, and productivity. This in turn lends itself to more efficient project management.

In contrast, having customer data and other information stored across multiple places increases the risk of data discrepancies and makes it harder for functions to work together. It can also make it trickier to gain the big-picture view needed to properly plan and manage projects.

With that being said, let’s explore some best practices for implementing a new CRM system.

1. Identify your reasons, both short-and long-term

You should always make a note of current pain points and processes within your business that could be improved. Though a CRM system may not be able to instantly address every challenge, being able to prioritize any fixes and changes will bring added focus to its implementation.

It’s equally important to reflect on your organization’s goals to determine if a CRM system can support them. By doing so, you can better assess what key functionalities a CRM needs to have, along with what metrics your business will need to track in order to measure progress.

2. Introduce automation wherever you can

Cohesiveness isn’t the only benefit that a CRM system can bring to your business. The automation offered by most systems can significantly aid the productivity of different teams by minimizing redundant or time-consuming tasks.

For example, time spent on data entry can be eliminated by setting up real-time database updates. Automated reminders reduce the need for manual checks. Automated email routing can enable faster response times – for both internal and external requests!

By making automation a focus point of your CRM implementation, you can establish consistency while providing a more streamlined workflow for current employees, which will also encourage more people to adopt the CRM system for their daily work.

3. Prepare customized training and support

A CRM system can be a significant aid to a business, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that it involves a change in how your teams operate. In order to support this transition, training is essential.
This education can be offered in a multitude of forms. Live group walkthroughs, 1:1 hands-on sessions, and even online courses. Different functions might need to master different features as well. You’ll need to provide relevant training for each major specialism.

Remember that employees may still need additional support after training, even if just a quick refresher. New starters will also need a way to be introduced to the system. Consider how regularly you can run training events, and what other learning resources can be made readily available.

4. Always think ahead, even after adoption

When implementing a CRM system, it’s crucial to explore whether it will be able to adapt alongside your business. A scalable CRM system should be able to handle most changes in data volume, user numbers, and functionalities without having to sacrifice performance or significant internal resources.

Think about how you’d like to handle requests for system changes as well. Are you willing to enlist outside support to facilitate these? Or is your goal to manage most changes internally?

A forward-thinking approach will not only influence how you build out workflows but is a useful best practice for each team to keep in mind when setting up their own processes. Assessing a process’s feasibility at a larger scale can save time and effort in the long run.

In conclusion: commit, don’t quit!

Implementing a CRM system can seem like a challenging process, but it’s one that’s well worth the effort for businesses ready to take the next step in their development.

From selecting the right platform to supporting change management, it’s vital to put the proper care into your CRM implementation process. In return, this will help ensure that your investment will be returned with increased productivity, greater scalability, and a more successful business.

In anticipation of the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA’s) study into the digital media supply chain, which is due to be published later this year, we’re writing a series of articles about some of the key topics we expect to be included in the study’s findings. We’re also giving our own perspective on those important subjects and explaining our approach to tackling them.

Our first article examined the topic of media quality and how buyers can maintain this by avoiding unauthorized resellers, implementing brand safety measures, and factoring in sustainability.

In this second post we’ll take a deeper dive into the ecosystem and explain how fully understanding the value of each element – whether that’s an agency, a data partner, a demand-side platform (DSP), or a supply-side platform (SSP) – enables transparency and maximizes efficiency.

Predicting the talking points

Although Matterkind was not directly involved in the forthcoming ANA study, we feel it is important to share our perspectives on the major themes we expect to see in the report and clarify what action we’re taking to address those important subjects.

One recommendation we do expect to see is that buyers strive to increase the percentage of working media that ultimately gets paid to publishers by eliminating middlemen and reducing fees across the ecosystem.

We are aligned with the spirit of this recommendation as it mirrors our philosophy of total-path optimization (TPO). However, we would caution that each component of the ecosystem is valuable and deserves to be paid for the services it delivers. Advertisers should strive to gain a better understanding of their specific adtech ecosystem, and the value contributed by each individual partner by applying TPO principles.

What is total-path optimization?

TPO is simply a way of ensuring brands are working with the best adtech partners to reach their audience in the most cost-efficient manner. You may be more familiar with terms like supply-path optimization (SPO) or even demand-path optimization (DPO), but TPO is a one-size-fits-all approach to the entire map.

Employing TPO involves applying some basic principles to the entire ecosystem of services and technologies that sit between an advertiser and its audience. These principles are:

Let’s take a look at how TPO can be applied to different elements within the ad tech ecosystem.

Buying partners: Agency and network tactics, inventory, and audiences often overlap, resulting in duplicative buying. To increase efficiency, brands can analyze overlap across media plans, use self-service platform buying wherever possible, and audit managed-service partners to ensure they aren’t straying outside of their briefs.

DSPs: The DSP space is crowded and complex, but advertisers can create brand and even campaign-specific scorecards to compare platform capabilities. They can also allow DSPs to compete against one another to see which achieve the best scale and performance for relevant channels and KPIs, and consolidate their spend according to the results.

Exchanges and SSPs: DSPs are typically plugged into dozens of exchanges, each with different fee structures and business practices, yet nearly identical inventory. From the supply side, publishers are incentivized to work with as many exchanges as possible to maximize their chance of selling their inventory. This results in a paradoxical cycle of duplicative auctions and DSP bid throttling that is bad for everyone involved, including the end user. The best solution to this is to have a strong SPO approach in place (more on this later).

Data partners: Sadly, the data industry is plagued by reselling, opaque naming conventions, and methodologies that artificially plump up segments. To combat this, brands should only work with trusted providers and avoid off-the-shelf segments unless they are confident in what they contain and how they are modeled.

Publishers: To avoid fraud and brand sensitivity issues across digital media, brands need a robust brand safety approach including curated block and allow lists, third-party ad verification partnerships, DSP targeting filters, and human monitoring of post-bid reporting. See our first article on the subject of transparency in adtech for more details.

Our baseline approach to SPO

As outlined above, SPO is an integral part of cleaning up the ecosystem. But we want to take a minute to further explain our internal approach to optimizing the supply side of the equation.

Each year our dedicated, full-time team of experts undertakes an exhaustive audit of the SSP landscape, issuing RFIs to the major players and scoring the results across a variety of categories. These categories include supported formats, exclusive partnerships, optimization capabilities, quality, transparency, and their sustainability efforts. We also look at how prepared they are for a cookieless future and the scale they can achieve across all formats.

Once we’ve completed this auditing process, we assign each platform to one of three tiers:

We also offer custom supply-path analysis and optimization for clients interested in drilling down further into publisher and SSP combinations, based on their specific campaign needs and performance data.

The third and final installment in our article series about transparency in adtech will examine the subject of DSP seat ownership and outline the pros and cons of the options available to our clients. In the meantime, if you haven’t already seen it, why not take a look at our first article on ensuring media quality in digital advertising?

When it comes to celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe, we know our focus should extend far beyond Women’s History Month in March. We, as a society, have made great strides, but we still have important steps to take and more to learn and change.

As important as it is to honor and learn from women who made history and enabled little girls to imagine new possibilities for their lives, we also need to make space for recognizing those who are doing big things right now in their areas of influence. Here are the stories from women within our organization who are changing the status quo.

Melanie Nelson
Account Director, Media Relations at Weber Shandwick
Maj. (retired) Army National Guard

Inspired by watching reporter Wolf Blitzer share stories from the field during Operation Desert Storm, I’ve been genuinely interested in communications since high school. From forensics to the student newspaper, I connected with the idea that communication was an art I wanted to explore. I fell in love with broadcast journalism studying it in college while simultaneously serving as a broadcaster in the Army National Guard.

I was fortunate to start a career in broadcasting immediately after college, and fortunate again to get an opportunity to advance in positions in marketing and advertising, and public relations. It has been remarkable to be involved in an industry that has transformed like it has, and I believe to stay in it, so must we.

I was 42 when I applied for graduate school, seeking a strategic communication degree from Concordia University in St. Paul. While most of my cohort was in their mid-20’s, I wasn’t the only late comer to grad school, Dave was also a communications director and a couple years older than me. The two of us were warmly referred to as mom and dad.

Just this year I was invited to join the Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Upper Midwest Chapter. I sit in meetings alongside Twin Cities journalists that I grew up watching, and others that I still pitch stories to today, discussing ways to keep broadcast journalism healthy and inspirational to talented young adults selecting their first career. The world of communications is a place to be inspired, to inspire and to never, ever stop learning.

Valentina Patino
Senior Associate of Addressable Action at Matterkind

As a woman in adtech, I believe there are no limits to what we can accomplish. Even though adtech is still considered a male-dominated industry and not all companies offer equal opportunities or are as diverse as others, by being part of this industry, I want to show and encourage other women that are afraid to be part of it, that they just need to believe in themselves! It is important that they are confident about their skills and what they can bring to the table.

I feel lucky to say that since I joined the team at Matterkind, I have never felt that my contributions to the team are less than my male coworkers. I work with amazing women on a day-to-day basis, mostly in leadership roles, which encourage me to keep working hard to rise to those positions one day. Additionally, I give credit to my male coworkers who make me feel comfortable learning and working together in an ever-evolving industry.

Eima Pandher
VP International Business Operations of Ad Operations at Kinesso

There’s always an opportunity to do more than what you are tasked to do. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. My experience has taught me that if you go above and beyond, you will find areas of improvement. You’ll think of how to work smarter and faster without changing the quality of your work. You’ll learn to prioritize your tasks to be more efficient, delegate, and take care of your physical and mental health.

I’m extremely excited to continue my passion in adtech as a leader within my organization. I hope this inspires all women and young women that they don’t have to settle for what’s given to them. Kick the closed doors, pave your paths, drive your own ideas forward. The opportunities are there.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is the auditor behind the landmark ISBA Programmatic Supply Chain Transparency Study, which was first published in the UK back in 2020, and was followed up by a second report in January of this year. So the news that the same company would be teaming up with Tag TrustNet and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to work on a similar adtech transparency study in the US was met with anticipation across the ecosystem.

It’s true there have been a few hurdles and delays since that news broke, with many interested clients finding it difficult to participate due to a limited list of qualifying tech vendors. But the data collection window has now closed with the final report slated for release in April 2023. Although Matterkind did not participate in the study itself, we feel it’s important to share our perspective on the major themes we expect to see in the report, and outline what we’re doing as a company to address those important subjects.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be posting a series of articles about transparency in the adtech ecosystem, including some of the issues we feel may come up in the ANA findings, and how these can be resolved.

As media quality is likely to be a central theme of the report, we’ll start by delving into three major aspects of this subject: avoiding unauthorized resellers, implementing brand safety measures, and factoring in sustainability.

Avoiding unauthorized resellers

It’s been five years (and five iterations) since the IAB Tech Lab released the ads.txt standard to combat fraud and arbitrage by allowing publishers to signal authorized sellers of their inventory. So, at this point there’s really no good reason for anyone to be buying from unauthorized resellers. But the ANA report may reiterate the importance of the role this simple technology plays in cleaning up the supply chain.

At Matterkind, 100% of our display, video, and mobile impressions are sourced from authorized direct or authorized reseller inventory. We only run on ads.txt-compliant inventory on the open exchange, and our Kinesso-generated allow lists use only ads.txt-compliant domains and apps.

While ads.txt taxonomy can vary from one DSP to another, most major players block unauthorized impressions by default and provide the option to block unknown or non-participating publishers. Likewise, all major SSPs should only be doing business with ads.txt-enabled publishers. Even so, it’s important to confirm that these settings are in place via manual reporting. On the rare occasion that we do find impressions going to unknown domains or apps, they are flagged to our team and added to advertiser blocklists.

We also leverage private marketplaces (PMPs) and addressable guaranteed deals wherever they make sense for our clients’ strategy and KPIs, and especially in emerging channels such as connected TV (CTV) or digital out-of-home (DOOH) where fraud standards are still taking shape. The ANA report will likely recommend leveraging these buy types wherever possible due to their role in increasing publisher revenue, enabling supply-path optimization (SPO), and improving brand safety.

While we generally agree with this viewpoint, we also believe that the open exchange continues to play an important role in driving cost efficiency, and that finding the right balance for each campaign is the best practice.

Implementing brand safety measures

Brand safety remains a hot topic across the industry, and there are a growing range of controls advertisers can implement to minimize risk, increase their comfort with digital media, and ensure ads don’t end up associated with content that could damage their brand. Continuing with the quality theme, there’s a high likelihood the ANA report will recommend advertisers have a robust brand safety strategy in place, including the use of a third-party ad verification (3PAV) vendor.

We fully support this view, and we apply comprehensive brand safety settings to campaigns for all clients. At the pre-bid stage these include US-wide universal exclusion lists as a first line of defense, in addition to brand-specific site, app, keyword, and contextual category inclusions or exclusions to ensure that our impression delivery aligns with brand guidelines. We also use any custom settings offered by individual DSPs.
At the post-bid stage, we ensure 3PAV reporting is monitored frequently and optimized by real people to ensure block rates and viewability are meeting our Matterkind standards, as well as any client benchmarks.

Factoring in sustainability

Sustainability may not be a new topic in the wider world, but it’s a relatively recent entrant to the digital media quality conversation and is something that may possibly be highlighted by the ANA report. Put simply, the more addressable auctions that are run, the more power is used, the greater the resulting carbon emissions, and the lower the sustainability of the entire process.

We already have an inherent level of sustainability baked into our standard operating procedure due to the overlap and duplicative auctions reduced or eliminated by our total-path optimization (TPO) and SPO approaches, which we’ll discuss in more detail in our next article.

Kinesso Marketplace is working closely with carbon emission measuring partners to have a full understanding of Matterkind’s addressable campaigns. We are working on building solutions that can help capture and reduce carbon emissions. Our first offering is the Carbon Neutral marketplace, that offers PMPs that will measure and capture the amount of carbon emitted, this will be done via highly durable carbon credits. We will continue to explore new partners and opportunities, like IPG Mediabrands’ partnership with Scope3 and Green Media Products, as sustainable media becomes an integral part of digital campaigns.

Making progress in media quality

Transparency in adtech and improvements in media quality are goals we are all working towards and, with the measures outlined above, we feel that significant progress is being made. Indeed, the latest ISBA report has (in its own words) “revealed positive and welcome improvements”. It will be interesting to see whether the ANA report supports this view and whether these measures are being adhered to across the industry.

In the meantime, look out for our next article which will focus on understanding value throughout the ecosystem through TPO.

The adtech industry has been a very unique space for women from various backgrounds. Women in tech have been driving companies forward with new and innovative mindsets, supercharging their careers, and taking on executive-level and leaderships positions at tech and Fortune 500 companies.

When I began my career in the adtech industry fifteen years ago, women had already started positioning themselves into manager and executive-level positions. However, there was a visible gap. The “employment gap.” A 2020 report from McKinsey found that of the 25% women in the tech industry, Asian women make up just 5%, while Black and Hispanic women accounted for 3% and 1%. Diversity and inclusion should be part of a company’s DNA if we want to see performance increase, better talent, employee engagement, and retention.

I am part of that statistic. When I landed my first tech job in San Francisco, I was hired as the second and only female in the company. When she left the company shortly after I joined, I was the only female in all male company. I learned the meaning of “locker-room environment” hands on. Speaking only on behalf of myself as an Indian-Asian woman, the challenges working in a tech industry didn’t end there. You had to prove yourself to your family as well. Taking on the stereotypes of being an Indian, and a woman, you have to jump over a lot of hurdles. My parents didn’t know anything about the tech world. They didn’t know how to explain my job to their circle. It was always washed down and simplified so by the time it was explained, it made my job seem under appreciated.

We were still a minority in the heavily male-dominated industry, but we were part of the female tech pioneers driving ourselves forward. You had to stay relevant and educate yourself to keep up with the industry. We faced many challenges in an already difficult space to own. You had to be far smarter, far faster, and bring far more quality to your work than the expectations going in.

There’s always an opportunity to do more than what you are tasked to do. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. My experience has taught me that if you go above and beyond, you will find areas of improvement. You’ll think of how to work smarter and faster without changing the quality of your work. You’ll learn to prioritize your tasks to be more efficient, delegate, and take care of your physical and mental health.

My team has been working on how we can be smarter and more efficient through AI, specifically through RPA (robotic process automation), a software technology that makes it easy to build, deploy, and manage software robots (bots) that emulate human actions interacting with digital systems and software. To take this forward, we’ve tasked ourselves with documenting the entire journey. We’ve also deployed a dashboard so we can capture data for efficiency and time saved. Automation is paving the way in the adtech industry and we’re just scratching the surface with AI.

I’m extremely excited to continue my passion in adtech as a leader within my organization. I hope this inspires all women and young women that they don’t have to settle for what’s given to them. Kick the closed doors, pave your paths, drive your own ideas forward. The opportunities are there.

If you’ve been on the internet recently, chances are you’ve heard about OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This AI tool has seen a massive rise in popularity following its release in November 2022, with over 100 million users and counting.

This is, in part, thanks to its ease of access. ChatGPT is free to use, though you might not always get instant access when the site is at capacity. A paid subscription plan currently being rolled out promises constant availability, faster response times, and priority access to new features.

However, the main attraction of ChatGPT is in its capabilities.

What impact could ChatGPT have on marketing?

ChatGPT’s ability to interpret questions and carry out natural conversations is a far cry from the awkward, limited chatbots with which most people have experience. Additionally, its ability to generate content – from copy to code snippets – can make it seem like a miracle solution for departments with skill gaps and other resourcing issues.

This newly-invigorated interest in AI from businesses has raised concerns about the threat that technologies such as ChatGPT pose to working professionals, particularly those within creative fields. This isn’t without justification—Image-generation tools such as DALL·E 2 face heavy scrutiny about the legality of using existing art to inform their creations.

Can ChatGPT really replace creative roles?

The creation of engaging content needs to be informed, driven, and reviewed by humans. ChatGPT can only draw from existing data—this means it’s always pulling from the past. Relying on such a tool to create something unfamiliar or exciting isn’t likely to work out, as it will steer towards tried and true, resulting in an output that plays it too safe to stand out. Fresh and innovative approaches will still require the human element.

Additionally, ChatGPT isn’t actually an expert in the subjects it covers. It’s a tool trained to recognize patterns in data and present probable answers. It can present you with two completely different “solutions” to a question posed – and both could be completely off the mark.

This is something that Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO, has stated plainly himself:

ChatGPT is incredibly limited, but good enough at some things to create a misleading impression of greatness. it’s a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now. it’s a preview of progress; we have lots of work to do on robustness and truthfulness.”

“fun creative inspiration; great! reliance for factual queries; not such a good idea. we will work hard to improve!

So, how can ChatGPT benefit creative talent?

Sam Altman’s second point is also excellent guidance for how ChatGPT should be viewed as an asset to be given to creatives, not a system for replacing them. By understanding the tool’s limitations and strengths, marketing functions can use it to support creativity, conversations, and collaboration.
For example, ChatGPT can generate creative prompts for graphic designers, or even automate repetitive tasks such as resizing images, freeing up designers to focus on other tasks.

Similarly, copywriters can turn to ChatGPT for inspiration with paraphrasing points or analyzing conciseness. Video editors can use the tool to help with restructuring scripts. Community managers can get assistance with proofreading posts and responses.

Ironically, some of the most exciting possibilities of ChatGPT only emerge when it’s approached with creativity. Tedious tasks that demand a disproportionate amount of time for their overall impact can be alleviated (or at least partially automated) when the tool is led by experts who understand the oddities and complexities of their field.

A forward-thinking future

Ultimately, ChatGPT has helped fuel necessary conversations about the role that technology will play in the workforce. And while it’s important to recognize the challenges it could introduce if implemented carelessly, it’s equally crucial to consider its positives.

As an industry, we all stand to benefit from an improved understanding of the many professions and areas of expertise that come together to make outstanding work. With tools such as ChatGPT, we have an opportunity to highlight how many skills can’t be replaced, but can certainly do with a bit more support.

And on that note, ChatGPT, care to close out this post?

“When ChatGPT’s sophisticated technology is combined with the vision and imagination of creative professionals, they can push the boundaries of their work and achieve truly exceptional outcomes.”

Not too bad, right?

As you may know, TheEngine+ is IPG’s innovation and entrepreneurship competition. Built to foster creativity and innovation across Acxiom, Kinesso, and IPG as a whole, TheEngine+ enables talent from all levels to positively impact the future of our business. Through this platform, teams across the IPG ecosystem are formed and pitch their novel concepts to a panel of executive-level IPG judges.

We recently sat down with our top-rated team, ConsentMatrix, members, including Kyle Holloway, Dustin Raney, and Christiane De Carvalho to talk about their experiences in TheEngine+ competition thus far, the challenges they see looking ahead, and the promising future of their concept.

Tell us a little bit about your application experience and how you came to develop your idea as a team?

Kyle Holloway: “The application process was organic in that we saw internal communications, and we’ve seen previous Engine+ competition submissions and results. We definitely already had an understanding of the process and intended to submit once it came time. We got connected because we all work together—myself, Dustin, and Christiane, all work at Acxiom within kind of the identity space.”

Dustin Raney: “Yeah, we came to the point of feeling like TheEngine+ was the right avenue for getting this idea through the IPG enterprise. We knew it was going to be able to gain the exposure it deserved and give it the chance to be adopted by the organization. Given our backgrounds, it was a natural fit for us to innovate in this area. We see some common trends across the industry that we wanted to get out ahead of, and felt like, you know, this would be an incredible place to start, especially if it relates to media with IPG’s influence.”

Where do you see the biggest points of excitement over the next year as you work on your concept?

Christiane De Carvalho: “The industry is going to change a lot over the next year, as it always does. We have this product, and the solution we are creating has so many moving pieces. So, while one of the biggest challenges is going to be fitting into the ecosystem, it will also be an area of great excitement—building something that will support the industry at large in a meaningful way.”

Dustin Raney: “Turning our concept into a reality. From getting to work with engineers in areas that maybe we wouldn’t have had access to before, to building the user experience application layer, it’s all going to require a lot of steps in order to get to market. Then ultimately, I think it’s the ability to make an impact on the human experience and how we consume content. That’s always been a passion of ours, to bring something to the market that we want to experience ourselves.”

TheEngine+ process can feel very long—what has been the best part of the early stages for your group so far?

Dustin Raney: “The best part of the experience so far with TheEngine+ has been the exposure to different people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work with and learn from. It’s amazing to meet just an incredible group of dynamic innovators from all across the organization ecosystem, and people who are as passionate as we are about transforming the industry. We’re used to working with mostly people from Acxiom a lot of times, so it really opened some doors for us.”

Kyle Holloway: “Yeah, I would certainly econd that! The opportunity of being provided mentors from different areas of the business, not just Acxiom but actually across IPG, was really critical. It allowed us an opportunity to validate our concept and also get valuable subject matter expertise.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is interested in entering TheEngine+ competition?

Christiane De Carvalho: “Just start! It may seem overwhelming, but taking that first step is the hardest.”

Kyle Holloway: “I think someone that wants to start with TheEngine+ needs to really look at their own circumstances, where they’re engaged in the business, and what they’re seeing within the marketplace, and look at where there’s an opportunity. Look for pain points or where you may see some open spaces between offerings and lean into that.”

TheEngine+ initiative enables employees from all seniority levels to participate in something truly special—the opportunity to make a difference. Excited to see what TheEngine+ team has in store for us? Stay tuned for more announcements later in the year, or learn more about TheEngine+ here.


Black History Month means looking at Black contributions throughout American history while also acknowledging and uplifting the Black Excellence of the future. Black leaders in media, communications, and advertising have jumped incredible hurdles throughout history. While the video above shares many more examples of Black excellence, the Black creatives below are shaping the industry in meaningful ways. These trailblazers of both past and present deserve amplification for their contributions, and we’ve compiled the stories of some powerful leaders below.

Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr.
Dr. Jesse J. Lewis, Sr. has made history more than once, and continues to still at 97 years old. While perhaps most well-known for opening one of the first black-owned advertising agencies in the United States in 1954, he is also a World War II Veteran, College President, Author, Advertising Executive, and Newspaper Publisher. The agency Dr. Lewis founded, Jesse J. Lewis and Associates, was quickly followed by the founding of The Birmingham Times in 1963, a weekly, black-oriented newspaper that still exists to this day. Dr. Jesse J. Lewis’ entrepreneurial spirit has continued to serve him through many successful ventures throughout his life and continues to amplify Black voices nationwide.

Della Reese
With a career spanning more than seven decades, there are few who haven’t heard of this entertainment icon. Della Reese was an American jazz and gospel singer, actress, and ordained minister, who was not only one of the first Black talk show hosts, but also the first Black woman to host a national television variety-talk show in history when starring on The Tonight Show. Della Reese passed away in 2017, but her legacy as a top Billboard artist, TV star, and entertainer lives on.

Robert L. Johnson & Sheila Johnson
In the last 40 years, Black Entertainment Television (BET) has gained national recognition as the first TV station “that allowed Black people to see themselves, their stories, and their culture on television,” according to BET President Scott Mills. Since its foundation, BET has honored the rich contributions made by Black people throughout the generations by elevating and uplifting Black voices, talent, and excellence. As of 2015, more than 75% of American households receive the channel.

Oprah Winfrey
As potentially the most well-loved talk show host of all time, Oprah Winfrey needs no introduction. Despite an incredibly challenging upbringing, Oprah Winfrey has been named the most influential woman in the world, the richest Black woman of the 20th century, and a beloved household figure to millions. She has won many accolades throughout her decades-long career, and continues to inspire Black voices across the world.

Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones is not only the first Black woman to run a cable news network in history, but also well known for her award winning journalism, being an Emmy-award winner, and having been named one of the “Most Powerful People in New York Media”, in addition to a multitude of other awards. Rashida Jones is definitely a woman to watch in coming years as she excels in her media career.

Matterkind is committed to uplifting Black voices and amplifying under-represented groups. IMPACT, our employee led organization, works to promote and represent inclusion and diversity in our community. By addressing the challenges and opportunities for under-represented groups, through the lens of the adtech industry, we are determined to change today’s statistics and realize a truly diverse and inclusive world. Learn more about IMPACT here.

At the core of advertising is the human element. In order to reflect a wide range of individuals, advertising must honor the diversity of the world around us. This is not new information, but it has never been more important than it is right now.

We are finally moving toward a world where people can be accepted and respected for who they are, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, or abilities. Advertising can encourage diversity to not only be accepted, but expected in our society. People want the brands they use and love to be socially responsible, morally ethical, and altogether trustworthy. If we are truly going to change the industry we love, we need to look at DEI in all aspects of our advertising—here are four reasons why brands need to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion in their advertising.

  1. Diverse Advertisers Get Two Thumbs Up
    Perhaps the most obvious benefit is also the simplest: people prefer advertisers that prioritize diversity. Our survey found that some people favor brands with representative advertising. Some people will go as far as to completely disassociate from ads that fall short, with more than a third (36%) going as far as to boycott a brand because of issues with diversity and representation in their marketing. Conversely, 50% of respondents said that if an advert is diverse and representative, it’s more likely that they will recommend the product or service to their friends and family members.
  2. Younger Audiences Care
    Those under age 55 are almost twice as likely to recognize the importance of reaching a diverse audience, and are also far more likely to boycott a brand due to issues with representation. Those aged 25 to 44 are the most likely to purchase from a brand that upholds these standards and given that group makes up a huge percentage of the active, purchasing audience, it’s vital to hear their voices on these important issues.
  3. Ads Featuring Diverse People Perform Better
    Diversity yields stronger marketing results than any other media, and this was found to be true across all demographics. In our research, we found that people who are more responsive to advertising are also those more likely to feel that promoting DEI is important. Diverse ads allow everyone to feel included in the messaging and allow brands to achieve better outcomes.
  4. If You Aren’t Ahead, You’re Behind
    Over the last few years, organization have come to recognize the true importance and value of diversity in advertising. More than 90% of the advertisers we surveyed said that reducing bias and discrimination in marketing and advertising is now a priority, with 44% saying it’s a core focus, and 49% at least a secondary focus. People are demanding real change and action, and if your brand hasn’t seen the light yet on this topic, then it’s time to start now.

As the conscious marketing movement marches on, we believe all brands must demand marketing that is relevant and respectful to people, while still delivering successful outcomes. Download our full white paper, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion In Advertising: A Holistic Approach, to learn more.