Creative All-Star: Erica Schmidt

Erica Schmidt, Global CEO, Matterkind

Erica Schmidt has led Matterkind, Interpublic Group’s activation intelligence company (previously Cadreon), for the past six years and continues to break barriers as global CEO, focusing on introducing the industry to a people-first approach to engaging audiences and driving brand growth regardless of channel on a global scale.

She has been the executive sponsor of the company’s Impact group since its inception, and watched it evolve from a women’s employee resource group to one that supports all underrepresented groups. Schmidt also has spearheaded efforts to develop an Impact Marketplace, which drives investment to BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color)-owned businesses.

Under her stewardship, Matterkind works to let brands engage with audiences in an addressable manner in a way that is kind and conscious of those on the receiving end as well as the data and activation experts in the Matterkind family.

There is tremendous inefficiency in the digital programmatic ecosystem. And fragmentation across platforms, browsers and publishers results in over-saturation of the same audiences. Programmatic advertising generally fails to achieve the best outcomes for advertisers. Equally as important, those on the receiving end of the digital experience are rarely treated with respect and kindness.

Long ago, Schmidt came to learn that “it takes very little energy to exhibit kindness to others,” she tells MediaPost. “Ever since then, I have tried to be as kind as possible. I feel privileged that in many circumstances people find me to be empathetic and compassionate, and this goes all the way back to my childhood.”

Matterkind’s unusual approach in addressable marketing was formed in early 2020 at the height of the pandemic when marketers, advertisers and consumers were undergoing extreme shifts. Schmidt, the former CEO of Cadreon with over 20 years of digital data and technology experience, was an obvious choice to steer the new organization. Still fueled by data, technology and the innovative heritage of Cadreon, Schmidt and her leadership team looked for a better, more responsible and sustainable way to addressably reach and engage audiences rather than programmatically.

Matterkind also works with clients to examine their first-party data and to find ways to use advertising to grow their databases in a way that represents the actual population. “This ensures that our audiences feel heard and understood,” Schmidt says.

“Even seemingly small things, like our words, make a big difference — so we fight micro-aggressions and don’t say Black and White lists, but instead Block and Allow. It really takes a holistic approach across all aspects of an organization to make change, and I am proud that we are able to bring responsible marketing in a way that is truly sustainable.”

Such work has paid off. This past July, the Business Intelligence Group named Matterkind Organization of the Year in the 2021 Sales and Marketing Technology Awards program, also known as The Sammys. The Sammys honor organizations and products helping to solve the challenges companies have connecting and collaborating with prospects and customers.

Schmidt is passionate about her team of specialists and has put people at the center of a technology-heavy industry. Alongside Matterkind’s business endeavors, she is deeply committed to building a best-in-class culture. She serves as a board member of IPG’s Women’s Leadership Network, and executive sponsor of Matterkind’s Impact Group, a network championing women in advertising technology across the United States.

Prior to joining IPG, she spent eight years in London working on the global development and rollout of Dentsu Aegis’ search offering iProspect, as well as its programmatic trading offering.

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