The former Head of Growth and Product Marketing at Tidal, Matthew Sandofsky, has just been named the Chief Growth Officer at Studio.
In your own words, tell us about your role at Studio.
I am responsible for all of the marketing operations, user acquisition and retention, public relations, brand development, and creative. As well as some things that a CRO might typically handle like monetization, globalization, pricing strategy, and conversion rate optimization.
How long have you been working in digital marketing and what do you like most about your job?
I’ve been in digital marketing since I graduated. Marketing nowadays at least, allows you to sit perfectly between creative and data. To me, that is just super exciting because I can sit down with my creative lead and come up with an amazing idea for a video, execute on that video and then iterate on that video. Eventually, we will have the data to know which iteration works best and we start to get inside of what the consumer actually cares about. So the next time we come up with a video we have that purview of what performing best. The data that informed the last round of creative just builds on top of each other. Some people think that data stifles the creativity or creativity isn’t compatible with that data and I kind of view them as one and the same.
What advice would you share with someone looking to enter the digital marketing field?
You have to be able to understand how data and tech are going to be informing the more creative side of marketing. My recommendation would be to make sure that you at least know how to use excel. If you’ve learned SQL that’s fantastic and if you know anything about predictive modeling that’s even better. Having good auxiliary data-based skills on top of whatever creative skills required for the job is becoming more and more important every day.
When it comes to user acquisition and engagement, what challenges do you face?
I think that the old saying, “Fifty percent of my marketing works. I just don’t know which fifty percent.” isn’t exactly true anymore. Typically, we have so much data on where a user is coming from and we can kind of get direction on what is actually working. Nowadays we run into the problem of knowing that fifty percent of our marketing is incremental we just don’t know which fifty percent. This data has created a whole new web of problems that makes us question every single dollar we spend. Can the appearance of a performance that we see in the high-level data really be taken for what it is? I think that is really going to be the big challenge in user acquisition and retention marketing. We have more information than ever before, and now we need to figure out what to do with all of it.
What strategies have you implemented to overcome those challenges?
I’m an adviser for a company called ClearBrain. Which is doing AI-based audience segmentation and user touchpoint predictions. They take your data and determine the specific user journeys that had the highest retention rate or the highest conversion rate to paid. For instance, the data could show that people who are 10% most likely to convert to paid typically engaged with an email on a Tuesday morning and opened up a push notification on a Wednesday night. ClearBrain’s insights are based off of an AI which develops propensity modeling which shows which parts of the user journey are most likely to impact conversion. They are really diving deeper into machine learning-driven insights. Which will help us figure out things that would be hard for your average marketer to do in an excel spreadsheet. I’m a firm believer in machine learning on that front.
Where do you see the mobile marketing industry heading next?
I think we are going to see consolidation. Especially in a couple of different areas. : I think as Facebook is continuing to grow and Snapchat is now adding an audience network, and Google has created their UAC black box. There are probably a hundred different DSPs you can work with and I think you’re going to see everything consolidate into less platforms. You are going to see the human element needed for optimization become less important as companies become better at building out predictive models. Really at the end of the day, the only thing that is going to matter is creative and it’s going to be creative informed by consumer-driven insights and data. Optimizing those creatives as much as you can to really differentiate yourself will be important. You will need to tell a story that is different while staying on brand and making sure that it’s supported by the numbers.
Are there any conferences or trades shows that you would recommend other Digital Marketers attend?
For me, MAU in Vegas is obviously the big one in terms of the mobile digital marketing space. They just cover such a wide breadth of topics. Such as, user acquisition, product marketing, retention marketing, and creative data incrementality that you could learn quite a bit at that one show. Outside of that, I am a big fan of the App Growth Summit events. They tend to be very engaging not focused on just bland powerpoint presentations that you might learn one or two things from. Instead, they provide an environment that cultivates fun and engaging conversations starters that really help you learn. You actually get to talk to people on a one on one basis.
VentureBeat Transform AI conference is a smaller event that only about 500 people attend. I had an opportunity to speak at that event last year and it was probably one of the coolest conferences I’ve ever attended. They spend a lot of time talking about how machine learning and AI is going to impact not only digital marketing but more of the world in general and how we engage with things from a consumer standpoint. It gets you thinking about what the role of a digital marketer might be five to ten years from now.
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