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Who to follow: Matt McGowan

@matt mcgowan

Matt McGowan is a successful business leader, marketing specialist, and family man of some note. He’s worked alongside executives representing many of the world’s best-known brands, agencies, and tech companies, and now spends his time as President and a member of the Board of Directors at Adestra, the independent Forrester and Gartner recognized leader in marketing automation and email service provider software.

Matt is the eldest of three brothers; his brothers  and  are in very different fields but are also at the top of their respective games (so is Matt’s wife Lisa!). The siblings grew up in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the sons of Vince, veteran and bar owner and Brenda, flight attendant.

After beginning his professional career on Wall Street, Matt made his move into the booming San Francisco tech sector in 2000 (just before the crash, he likes to point out). Matt has since gone on to build media, DTC, advertising, and MarTech businesses, and clearly loves what he does.

With bonafides like that, coupled with a keen eye for marketing insight and impressive writing skills, it’s easy to see why Matt McGowan has long been one of our phavourite phollows over here at Phrasee.



Now that we’ve established beyond a reasonable doubt that Matt McGowan is well worth a follow, let’s see what else this entrepreneurial maverick has to say…



Matt McGowan tale of the tape:

Favorite food: Chinese

Children: 2 Boys: Kallahan and Lachlan

Dream job as a child: Astronaut

Last big purchase: 2 family holidays (one for the holidays and one for my wife’s 40th). I like experiences more than things.

Guilty Pleasure: Pretzels

Pet Peeve: Lip service


An interview with Matt McGowan


For those who might not know, what is Adestra, and how does it make life easier for marketers and brands?

The independent Forrester and Gartner recognized leader in marketing automation and email service provider software for enterprise companies. We are the folks who trademarked Software And A Service®.


Where does email fit into a modern marketing strategy?

We could discuss this one for days!

That said, I believe email should be the lynchpin to online identification. It’s also the channel enterprises use to manage loyalty and retention.


Do you think brands pay enough attention to loyalty and retention, or is too much focus put onto acquisition?

I do think there is too much focus on acquisition. 90%+ of marketing budgets are allocated to acquisition, including retargeting (which is not a loyalty strategy).

Why? Because the ad and media agencies have done a good job selling to marketers and the MarTech players are playing catch-up. Email CPMs are in single digit dollars and lower while YouTube and Facebook can charge 10x that.


Are brands making the most of what marketing automation has to offer, or are there ways it could be deployed that we haven’t recognized yet?

Brands, for the most part, are in their infancy with respect to marketing automation. Barriers abound with data flow and management. That said, real progress is being made and companies like are working hard to ensure marketers know what is available to them.


How has the relationship between brands and consumers changed in the past few years?

Consumers expect personal and relevant communications from brands. Screaming from the rooftops still works, but this approach is seeing diminishing returns. Consumers have a voice now, and they know how to use it!


What changes to the email marketing game do you expect to see that brands and marketers need to be prepared for?

Increased automation, based on machine learning algorithms. Marketers will lean into the “right message, at the right time and place” strategy, rather than “batch and blast”.


How should email marketing be deployed to augment a brand’s social media marketing/advertising strategy?

Marketers need to think holistically. Organizationally, silos need to be broken down. Operationally, campaigns need to be launched in tandem across channels. It’s more than just social and advertising but TV, radio and OOH too.


What’s your favorite thing about working with email?

Mostly the focus on retention and loyalty. That said, I do very much love watching a marketer have that aha moment, when all the coaching and training finally sets in and they finally get it. That’s the absolute best!


What’s the most exciting thing going on in your life today?

We sold Adestra to Upland Software in December. We will finally be able to offer robust cross-channel solutions to our clients. Resources available to our team and our clients just grew exponentially. The future is bright!

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