Navigating the World of Digital Marketing with Chris Madden of Matchnode

Chris Madden, Co-Founder of Matchnode.

This week’s podcast episode guest is Chris Madden, Co-Founder of Matchnode, a digital marketing agency that uses strategy and advertising to help established brands that are shifting to digital! Chris is an absolute expert in helping influential brands grow through strategic digital marketing

Chris Madden

Here’s a summary of key points discussed in the episode:

Founding Story of Matchnode

Chris Madden shared the founding story of Matchnode, which started organically after attending a Pearl Jam concert at Wrigley Field. He and his co-founder decided to start an agency, and over the years, they evolved into a paid social-first agency, focusing on driving revenue and clear ROI for clients.

Paid Social Focus

Matchnode’s core belief in driving revenue and focusing on conversion optimization set them apart from other agencies. They specialized in paid social advertising, particularly Facebook ads, which allowed them to provide clear insights and results to their clients.

Building Client Relationships

Matchnode emphasized building strong relationships with clients and industry peers. Andy Crest from Orbit Media played a crucial role in connecting Matchnode with the Gallagher Way project for the Chicago Cubs. Strong client relationships and word of mouth were key to winning business.

Niche in Sports Marketing

Matchnode found its niche in sports marketing, helping sports teams, including the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, promote their games and drive ticket sales. They also worked with financial institutions and other brands navigating the shift to digital marketing.

Challenges in Tracking ROI

Chris discussed the challenges of tracking ROI, especially in the sports industry, where third-party ticketing platforms like Ticketmaster add complexity. However, Matchnode’s expertise allowed them to bridge the gap between advertising efforts and ticket sales.

Proactive and Reactive Creative

Matchnode’s approach to creative content involves proactive and reactive strategies. Proactive creative includes planned promotions, matchups, and events, while reactive creative capitalizes on real-time opportunities, such as player performances or unexpected game outcomes.

Collaboration with Clients

Matchnode collaborates closely with clients on creative content, whether they provide content or Matchnode handles the entire creative process. Effective collaboration ensures that the content aligns with the team’s goals and audience preferences.

Scaling Creative Services

As creative services became more critical, Matchnode expanded its creative team, hired the right talent, and developed systems to manage creative requests efficiently.

They also defined clear guidelines for scope and fees to accommodate changes in client demands.

Relationships and Communication

Strong relationships with clients, built on trust and respect, have been instrumental in managing client expectations and responding to special requests. Effective communication through platforms like Slack helps streamline real-time interactions.

Passion for the Clients’ Business

Having team members who are passionate about the clients’ businesses, such as being fans of the sports teams they work with, contributes to a deeper understanding of the clients’ needs and enhances the working relationship.

Special Moments and Impact on Advertising

The conversation touches on special moments in sports, such as when the Black Hawks won the lottery and the rights to the number one pick, Connor Bedard.

This franchise-changing moment had a significant impact on advertising. When such moments occur, there is a surge in interest and engagement, leading to increased ticket sales and merchandise purchases.

Web3 and NFTs

Chris mentions the importance of an open internet and believes that customers will eventually own their data and share it with companies as they see fit. He sees a future where smartphones become more secure and cryptographic devices. 

Chris also discusses his experience with NFTs, including an NFT project that donated to Ocean Charities. He emphasizes that NFTs can be more than just JPEGs and can have diverse applications, including loyalty programs for businesses.

Pride in Employee Retention

Chris expresses pride in the long-term relationships with some of Matchnode’s employees, with one recently celebrating a five-year anniversary with the company. He values the ability to create a workplace where talented individuals want to stay and grow, emphasizing the dynamic nature of their roles.

Accelerating Agency Growth

When asked about what he would do to accelerate his agency’s growth if failure were not a concern, Chris mentions the importance of focusing on a select list of ideal clients.

He suggests building relationships with the top 300 companies they want to work with, even though their goal is to capture around 50 clients. The focus is on direct engagement with decision-makers to grow the agency.

“…the advice that we’re working on, we continue to follow and are continuing to do is take the list of the 300 clients you want. We don’t want 300 clients, we want like 50 ish, but the 300 companies that you most want and just do nothing in your sales and marketing, but try to talk to those decision makers…”

In Conclusion…

In this episode with Chris Madden, we discuss everything from how Matchnode leverages paid social advertising to drive ticket sales and attendance for sports franchises to the potential of Web3 and NFTs in digital marketing!

Chris highlighted the importance of clear communication, strong client relationships, proactive and reactive creative strategies, and a dedicated creative team to deliver successful digital marketing campaigns for their clients!

Visit Chris’ Matchnode website to connect with him, or follow him on LinkedIn! 

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