MarTech Interview with Matthew Doherty, CEO of North America at EXTE

Uncover crucial guidance for aspiring ad tech and digital marketing professionals, emphasizing the importance of staying updated on trends, utilizing data effectively, and fostering innovation.
MarTech Interview

Greetings Matthew, Can you share with our audience a brief overview of your professional journey, highlighting key milestones and experiences that have shaped your career in the ad tech industry?
I’ve spent the last 15+ years of my career in AdTech and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience the wide spectrum of the media business first hand. In those years, I have worked for supply side platforms representing publishers and demand side platforms representing marketers. My experience spans all digital formats, from mobile web/app to CTV and streaming audio to DOOH.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to represent emerging companies and technologies just as they come to prominence in our industry; whether that was advocating for DMP technology back in the 2000’s or this little thing called programmatic in the early 2010s. Having had the opportunity to work for companies that were highly innovative and perhaps slightly ahead of their time has been my single biggest blessing professionally. It has allowed me to really learn and understand how products can serve both sides of our ecosystem at a conceptual level.

Through the years, it’s become easier for me to identify which companies and technologies might be the next “big thing” and most importantly, how to recognize where businesses can add value in the media supply chain.

As the new CEO of EXTE in North America, what personal strategies or approaches do you plan to implement to drive growth and navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of digital advertising?
At EXTE North America, there are a few core principles we live by, that inform every aspect of how we operate our business, both internally and externally. Those are:

1. Listen.
2. Be Additive. Don’t solve problems that already have a solution (unless we can do it better).
3. Only build products that create meaningful value. Justify our place in the digital media supply chain.
4. Always do what’s in the best interest of our client.

Salesmark Global

With your extensive experience in the industry, what advice would you offer to aspiring professionals looking to make their mark in the fields of ad tech and digital marketing?
Work hard. Make sure you are passionate about and enjoy what you do. It’s a bit of a cliche answer, I know, but when I look back at my own career, those are the two qualities that I can most consistently attribute to any success I’ve ever had. It’s not unique to digital marketing. Anyone who is willing to put in the work, has a good attitude and loves what they do is going to be successful in life. A former teacher once told me: “figure out what you love to do first, then find someone to pay you to do it.” I still think it’s some of the best professional advice I’ve ever received.

If you’re looking for something a bit more industry specific, my advice to anyone entering this business is: “be a sponge”. One of the greatest aspects about working in this industry is also what makes it so difficult. Everything is fluid and constantly changing: whether it’s policies, politics, hardware, compliance, or the software & technology itself. The only certainty is uncertainty. The beauty of this business is that there are so many brilliant people working in it, and for every seemingly industry-changing, unconquerable challenge (and there have been many throughout the years!), you can bet that there is someone out there coming up with an equally brilliant solution. The best thing you can do is absorb as much as you can and be a repository of information, so that you can be a resource to your company and your clients.

With things constantly changing, the landscape can be overwhelming and confusing at times, but everybody needs their “technology sherpas”. If you can be an expert at understanding how the pieces of our business fit together, that expertise will continue to be invaluable and in high demand.

What specific initiatives or innovations do you envision implementing at EXTE to differentiate the company and maintain a competitive edge in the market?
I don’t want to give away too much here just yet, but I will say that EXTE is uniquely positioned to transform the digital ad ecosystem as we know it. Obviously, AI has been a hot topic and a primary area of focus in our industry over the last couple of years, but we are just scratching the surface of what will be possible and how that technology can be leveraged to assist marketers and publishers. Back in the early 2010s, I worked for a company called TubeMogul, one of the industry’s first DSPs. We were launching a platform that promised a new & automated way of transacting media called “programmatic”. Even all the way back then, I knew that this technology would materially transform how our industry operated going forward. I have the same feeling now at EXTE that I did back then.

How do you plan to leverage EXTE’s existing strengths and resources to capitalise on opportunities for expansion and market penetration in North America?
EXTE has built an incredible business presence across Spain, LATAM and Continental Europe. There’s a lot that I will be able to borrow from that success, including leveraging the great relationships and work we’ve done with our existing global clients and tapping into several of the unique products that EXTE has built to support those customers. That said, our approach in North America will be completely unique and customized to address and serve the needs of this market. We understand that the needs of marketers will vary from country to country, and our approach at EXTE is to develop bespoke solutions to solve those needs. Our biggest strength is our ability to be flexible and nimble. We have the resources to build products quickly, and our guiding principle in North America will be to develop products that are complementary and fit a need rather than trying to retrofit a client’s needs into an existing set of solutions.

Given your background in founding and launching companies, how do you foresee your entrepreneurial experience influencing your leadership style and decision-making at EXTE?
It will be critical. EXTE has built a formidable business overseas, but we are really launching a brand new company here in North America. Despite being a huge business globally, I view this project as a start-up. We will need to be decisive and adaptable as we enter this market. We have created some unbelievable products, and I am so excited to be building again. In terms of leadership style, I’ve always preferred to move quickly and make mistakes over taking too long to deliberate a decision, which could ultimately be the wrong one anyway. This industry simply moves fast. So, to summarize, I’d say we are going to move fast and build meaningful, customized products on behalf of our clients that are tailored to the precise challenges they are looking to solve.

In your opinion, what are some of the most significant challenges and opportunities facing the digital advertising industry in North America today, and how does EXTE plan to address them?
There are many challenges, and thematically, to me, it boils down to inefficiency. The US market is especially crowded. There’s a lot of redundant technology, with too many companies seemingly able to do all the same things. I empathize with marketers and publishers now more than ever, because in my 15+ years in this industry, I don’t think it’s ever been more difficult to sift through the BS and truly understand how some of these technologies can best be utilized to help their business. The entire media process has become so convoluted and complex and it needs to be simplified. The irony is that this is a vast departure from what all this technology promised to do in the first place, which was to simplify the process and make things easier.

At EXTE, we are building solutions that get back to that promise. We develop technology that streamlines the ad ecosystem and all its component parts (creative, ad format, ad placement, publisher, screen, outcome etc.) in a way that is structured, informed by real-time data and can be completely customized to fit how your specific business operates.

With the increasing importance of data privacy and consumer protection regulations, how does EXTE ensure compliance while still delivering effective and personalised advertising solutions?
It’s no secret that the increased sensitivity and focus around online consumer privacy regulation in recent years has forced the entire marketplace to adopt new strategies that respect the user’s privacy, while still attempting to keep ads relevant. There’s been a lot of noise around this topic and most of the industry is addressing it by either:
A) Attempting to develop alternative identity resolution strategies / offerings
B) Shifting to a contextual first approach
C) Some combination of A&B

Again, I don’t want to give away too much, but I personally feel the best compromise here for the publisher, the marketer and the consumer is to strike a balance where privacy is being respected but there is still some level of personalization to make an ad relevant to the person who is seeing it. Virtually every study shows that more relevant ads lead to better user experience and improved brand perception.

The challenge is being personalized enough to be relevant or endemic, but not so much that it is considered invasive or creepy – and of course, to remain legally compliant. The solutions we have built at EXTE elegantly solve for this dynamic in a way that will drive increased results for our partners, while still being sustainable and legal long term options as compliance tightens and further regulations continue to evolve here in North America.

Finally, what are your final thoughts or key takeaways for our audience regarding EXTE’s vision for the future of digital advertising in North America and beyond?
Our vision is to be a change agent in the world of digital advertising. We are doing this by applying a unique and customized approach to product development and client strategy, and using that strategy to inform the technology that we build so that it can be sophisticated, flexible and solve real problems. We have an opportunity to meaningfully affect the digital media ecosystem as it currently exists and make it better. If we can accomplish that – and I sincerely believe we will – then we’ll have created new value for our customers. And that is our goal. The word I keep coming back to since the day I started at EXTE is “transformative”. If we execute our vision properly, I’ll sleep well knowing we lived up to that title.

Matthew Doherty, CEO of North America at EXTE

Matthew Doherty most recently served as SVP, Sales for Teads. In five years, he helped scale the US business to a team of 100+ and revenues of $200M+ Prior to joining Teads, Matthew led the agency GTM sales team at Adobe for Ad Cloud DSP, a business of $100M+, where he was responsible for all commercial functions including rollout and adoption of the platform for net new Adobe customers. Prior to Adobe's acquisition of TubeMogul, Matthew spent 4 years leading East Coast sales and also served as Connected Device product lead at TubeMogul. As one of the first East Coast hires, Matthew was responsible for scaling revenue from zero to $90M+ in his first three years. An industry veteran with extensive experience and relationships across the adtech landscape, Matthew's career also includes stops at independent DMP Lotame as well as VoIP tech platform Vivox. He is the co-founder of Silicon Alley Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and enriching the NYC tech community through charitable work and philanthropy. An active voice in media & adtech, Matthew can be found regularly speaking and participating on industry panels at SXSW, Programmatic I/O, MMA, Brand Innovators, 212, Videonomics, and Digiday, among others. Matthew splits his time between New York City and Miami and spends his free time skiing or golfing, depending on the season. He is passionate about music, dogs, and red wine and is a fervent supporter of all Boston sports teams - try not to hold that against him! LinkedIn.
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