Q&A with New President of BusinessOnline, Matt LeeCategories: News
BusinessOnline recently announced the promotion of Matt Lee to President, after serving as Senior Vice President for the 6 years prior. Matt originally came to BOL with a technology and engineering background, and has been instrumental in making analytics and data-driven marketing a focal point of BOL’s offerings. Shortly after his promotion, the BOL marketing team had the opportunity to sit down with Matt and ask him about his new role, how marketing agencies have evolved, and what recent marketing trends he’s observed.
BOL Marketing Team: Congrats on the promotion Matt! Can you tell us a little bit about how your role will be changing as you take over as President?
Matt Lee: Thank you! While many of my responsibilities will carry over into this role, I’d previously been heavily focused on existing clients and our core service offering. In my new role, I’ll have an increased focus on new business, new clients, and BOL’s marketing efforts. We have a phenomenal team of account managers and digital marketing professionals that will continue to focus on our existing business and service offering, which will allow me to focus more on growing the agency.
BOL: How do you feel marketing agencies have evolved throughout your time at BOL?
ML: When I first joined BOL, there was a strong need for a digital agency to serve as a niche provider of specific services like paid search and SEO. Now, clients want an agency that can put marketing as a whole first, and serve more as a marketing partner and extension of their team. As a result, we end up having to act more like consultants and less like outsourced production shops, as there’s an increased demand for us to help clients better understand how their marketing efforts are truly impacting their organization. So we’re still an agency, but in some ways we’re like the marketer’s consulting firm—and I think that’s why guys like Deloitte and Accenture are getting into this space too, because they see it as a huge growth opportunity.
BOL: What are your thoughts on some of the recent marketing and analytics trends you’ve seen?
ML: One of the most worrisome things we’ve observed is the fraud and lack of transparency in advertising. We’ve seen companies as big as Facebook report incorrect tracking of key metrics, costing companies millions. I just don’t understand how things like that can happen. We’ve always prided ourselves as an agency on operating under the highest ethical standards, but these kinds of events cast a shadow on the industry as a whole.
BOL: What excites you (or scares you) about the direction agencies are going?
ML: Recently, different kinds of competition have emerged, as big tech companies in particular seek to diversify their offerings. Lots of small agencies are being created, and ad tech firms are expanding to compete with agencies as well. It’s not worrisome to us, and we see it as sort of a natural progression as digital marketing continues to grow. There’s always going to be a need for smart marketers that can provide a unique perspective on how to be successful with your marketing efforts, and that’s what we provide. While marketing technology will continue to grow and support the initiatives of organizations, no technology can replace what we do.
BOL: What do you believe makes a great client?
ML: The best clients are the ones that have realistic expectations about what they can accomplish given their brand and market—and a willingness to listen and trust us, and make a concerted effort to implement the things that we recommend. They want data, use data, believe in data, and are willing to put themselves out there and try something new if there’s a strong business case for it. If you can do that, you’re awesome.
BOL: What do you see as growth areas for BOL as we move into 2017?
ML: I think there are still tremendous growth opportunities in the areas of analytics and data management consulting. Marketers are constantly trying to prove the ROI of their activities, and only with strong data-driven analysis can this be achieved. I also still see media as a growth area, despite everything that’s going on, as there’s definitely an opportunity for us to grow and refine our media practices and capabilities.
BOL: Before we wrap things up, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you enjoy doing outside of work?
ML: There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my wife and my two boys, who are 5 and 8. I love BBQing on the weekends, and take advantage of any opportunity I can to go hiking or mountain climbing.