Skip Brand is Founder CEO of Martini Media Inc. Martini Media is a digital media and content platform specializing in engaging the most affluent and influential audience online. Fresh off of a new round of funding, the company now looks to expand in all directions, including globally. Skip spoke to The Makegood about how Martini Media Inc. has done so well, and his future plans.
The Makegood: Congratulations on your recent round of funding! Martini Media Inc has come a long way over the past 5-6 years. Can you talk a little about the company’s beginnings and how it has matured over time?
Martini was founded as an audience network focused on reaching the affluent. The basic tenants of our humble beginnings were that this audience was moving from the least engaged on the web to the most engaged. Anytime a large consumer group demonstrates exceptional buying power and drives mass influence among its peers, it can lead to a very disruptive business. Over the past few years we’ve seen the direction of brand advertising move from traditional media to digital; and it has finally surpassed direct-response advertising online. The affluent audience, long considered one of the most valuable audiences for premium brands to target, was now online and engaged more than any other audience. As the early adopters of new technology, the affluent are connected on all screens, making a brand’s message a must for this audience with an incredible amount of disposable income. It was a natural evolution for brands to follow this audience from out of the home and into the digital world.
The biggest changes that have recently transformed the company have been the launches of premium programmatic marketplaces. This new way of buying media has been something we have whole-heartedly adopted. Another positive change to our business is the disruption and growth of mobile and tablet, which, as mentioned, is the prime way the affluent consume media these days.
Lastly, the biggest change that Martini has embraced is the rise of content marketing by the top CMO’s of Fortune 500 companies. This desire for content is driven by publishers wanting to be advertisers and advertisers wanting to be publishers. Martini has built a content and Native Ad platform that will drive all of our future business. After all, it is engaging content that consumers want when they are online, and advertisers need to know how to compliment this growing trend. We will help.
Martini has also re-positioned the company to focus on proprietary insights and data to deliver a one-and-only full-service resource for brands to truly understand how the affluent behave online, at work and at play. These insights will drive all aspects of Martini Media’s business.
The Makegood: Now that you’ve locked up an impressive amount of investment money, how do you hope to continue upwards from here? What is the next step for Martini Media Inc?
This investment allows Martini to scale our products and our engineering efforts horizontally, vertically, and most importantly, geographically and globally.
The Makegood: Your clients target more affluent customers – what are the inherent challenges in reaching that segment of the market and how have you been able to bypass them in such a seemingly easy way?
The challenge of reaching the affluent is that they engage with their passions at work and play across the long tail, niche sites where the mass population is less likely to go. Therefore, it is about finding the right audience, not the sites. The site-buying approach is not scalable; consequently, an approach to audience selling allows scale and high-engagement. A maniacal focus on industry categories like travel, autos and finance has allowed Martini to go deep in these verticals to find the perfect consumer for our clients. This includes leveraging offline behaviors and social activity to build a very reliable audience profile and find them where they prioritize their passions online. The funding and profitability is enabling Martini to go wide to new industry categories like B2B, luxury, retail and technology.
The Makegood: How has marketing to affluent customers changed through this multi-screen digital revolution and what has Martini Media Inc been doing to stay ahead?
The affluent audience surpassing 40 hours per week online emphasizes the importance of the tablet and shows the personalization that is needed on devices like the tablet and smartphone. The affluent market seeks relationship-marketing instead of simple reach-marketing. Relationship marketing is highly personal, enabled by social and is measured many times in brand measures, as opposed to direct response. The ability to master rich devices, rich media, content and measurement is key. The secret weapons that Martini has are its insights and its data in regards to such a powerful audience.
The Makegood: Where do you see Martini Media Inc’s ceiling? What are your long-term goals?
Martini Media today is only focused on the 58M American households and 50M Europeans who make the most. The affluent are just as important in other parts of the world, like Asia. Martini’s focus on insights and data, mobile and programmatic, as well as branding and tablet are just as important in other areas of the world as they are in the U.S. and Europe. An audience’s passions in the U.S. and Europe are similar to what the rest of the world wants, and Martini has grown through building, buying, and partnering to ensure we understand the affluent worldwide.
The Makegood: Thank you, Skip