Tencil Talks: Matty Larkin

Matty Larkin is the Demand Sales Director at Smart AdServer.

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Paris, Smart is a fully transparent and vertically integrated ad-tech platform. In a shared-interest business approach, Smart enables brands and publishers to get their fair share of ad value, to act with certainty, and retain full control. Smart empowers premium publishers and advertisers to run programmatic campaigns across all digital formats and screens. The company has 250 employees working with over 1,000 publishers to serve leading buyers across 12 offices worldwide.

Over the past 9 years he has worked at the likes of Haymarket, Mozoo, Ligatus, Outbrain and more recently Smart AdServer.

Today we caught up with him on his career success to date.

Q. Talk us through your professional career to date?

ML: I’ve been fortunate enough to work for a number of different companies over the last 9 years which has helped my knowledge grow. From a traditional publisher like Haymarket to a full-stack ad tech platform with Smart.

I started at Haymarket in 2011 in an entry-level role selling classified ads in What Hi-Fi? Magazine, ringing up hi-fi shops around the UK trying to get them to advertise, so it was a lot of calling, pitching on the phones etc. which I really enjoyed. After about 18 months I moved into an agency focussed role, where I start looking after a number of London agencies across both Stuff and What Hi-Fi brands, so both their magazines and websites. Haymarket was a great place to start my media career, the culture there was amazing, the training set up was really good and there was plenty of opportunities to progress. In 2015 I then moved to Mozoo who were mobile rich-media exchange, running programmatic campaigns across mobile-web, so a massive change from a traditional publisher and my first step into programmatic selling, which I loved and learned a lot about different aspects of the industry. After Mozoo, I joined Ligatus who were a programmatic native marketplace, who were launching their product in the UK, which was a massive challenge, albeit an exciting one! After 14 months at Ligatus we were acquired by Outbrain and I moved over to there for 7 months on a contractual role before I joined Smart just before last Christmas and I’ve been at Smart just over 7 months now, which so far, has been a great experience and somewhere where I’ve been able to continue to learn new things.

Q. How does your first professional role differ to your current role?

ML: They’re massively different, from initially selling classified ads in a magazine to now working for an ad tech platform where there are so many variables. There have been a huge amounts of change over the 9 years I’ve worked in the industry and programmatic has been at the forefront of that.

Q. What excites you about digital marketing?

ML: The pace it’s moving at, there are always areas where you can grow your knowledge – As I mentioned before, the amount I’ve learned being at Smart in the last 7 months alone has been massive, and every day is a challenge. This industry definitely keeps you on your toes.

Q. Name one thing you would like to see change in digital marketing and why?

ML: I think one change I’d like to see is more diversity within the ecosystem, currently you’ve got  2 players that took over 60% of the global market share last year and that could continue to increase as we move forward, so if we could diversify that out to try new, different, high-quality partners I think you’d see a healthier industry.

Q. What advice would you offer an outsider who knows little about digital marketing?

ML: Do it! I’ve really enjoyed working in media – Continuous learning, good career opportunities and you meet a lot of good people. The advice I would give is to listen, ask as many questions as possible and work hard!

Q. Do you think that there are enough materials out there to educate young adults about our industry?

ML: I think it’s definitely getting better if you compare it to when I started out. You’re seeing a number of companies that have brought out training material, online courses, and industry information but there’s always room for improvement. One potential issue is not knowing where to locate the material that is available – Initiatives like this will definitely help put that information in one place, making it easier for younger adults to educate themselves about the industry.

Q. Our correspondents have heard rumours that you are a big fan of lunches – but what is your favourite restaurant and why?

ML: Ha! Who told you that!? I can’t say I’ve got a favourite but a few that I can think of off the top of my head that are decent are Blacklock, DePaolo’s, and if you’ve got enough money in the piggy bank Goodman’s on Maddox Street. All have lovely food and a good atmosphere. Saying that you can’t beat a good pub lunch!

Finally, we would like to thank Matty for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us earlier today.

If you would like to hear more information on opportunities that exist within digital marketing, then feel free to reach out to Joel.Williams@tencil.co.uk

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