Internet Conferences Archive

Matt McGowan – The Interview on 7 Glorious Years at Incisive Media and the Future

Exactly one year ago I wrote this.

A day later I called up Matt McGowan to get some advice (and a pep talk) and the guy was so generous with his time (and a free ticket to the SES digital marketing conference in San Francisco the following month) that that conversation has been etched in my memory ever since as a pivotal moment in me deciding to set up my own company.

I first met Matt in 2008 back in my Microsoft adCenter days at the SES conference in London and have got to know him, not just industry colleague but as friend. You know, that smart funny guy you make a beeline for across an expo hall at drinky time? That guy who’ll always make time to chat even though you can see he has a million things going on on the first day of a conference.

Today I’m kind of repaying Matt’s generosity that day we chatted after I’d been laid off from exactly 7 years at Microsoft, by publishing this interview with him about his recent amicable departure from the Incisive fold.

You see, Matt is one of the REALLY nice guys in search and social who has helped companies build their brands and individuals make names for themselves, but he’s always done it without so much of a toot of his own horn.

Always found rushing about at conferences with his phone clamped to his head fielding calls, fixing things, making connections and organizing great nights out after the expo halls went dark, he’s done it all with good humour and an endearing self-effacing nature.

When I spoke to him yesterday about his recent resignation from Incisive Media, he said he didn’t want to make a fuss. But I suggested that he’d touched so many careers in his tenure at Incisive that people would want to know what happened AND that he might have some advice for us all from lessons learned from his global business experience.

The resulting interview is below. Take a read, know he’s “all good” (as is often used to describe a positive outlook on like in the US of A), and maybe learn a few things….


So what’s the story Matt? 30th of June was your last day at Incisive? What happened?

After 7 years (to the day) Incisive Media and I came to a formal agreement that allowed me out of my day to day operational responsibilities at the company.  This development was triggered by my decision to want and try something new, and it fit well with Incisive Media’s mid and long term plans.  My decision to resign my role was not an easy one as my former team and the business I was responsible for are absolutely fantastic and extremely important to me.

The digital landscape has changed dramatically since I started with Incisive Media back in June 2006 and I plan on taking the summer and fall off to explore new opportunities.

So nothing sinister right? You’re leaving on good terms?

Only the best. Tim Weller, CEO at Incisive Media and who founded the business with James Hanbury and Nick Rapley, and his team and I are on fantastic terms – which was extremely important to me. After 7 years the team at Incisive Media feels like, is, family and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. 

And what about Search Engine Watch and ClickZ? They’re still carrying on their great work right?, and the global SES Conference and Expo Series are in the best of hands. It is sometimes forgotten by many in the industry that these brands have been under the tutelage of Mike Grehan, Publisher of Incisive Media’s Interactive Marketing Portfolio, and his team for much of that last year. Moreover, Mike has been with the company for over 5 years. It’s safe to say he knows the business intimately.

If you don’t know Mike? He wrote one of the first books on Search Engine Marketing (and currently writing his next), he is an expert on information retrieval, has been cited many times in mainstream and industry press, and speaks at many events including invite-only internal events at some the largest players in the space. I have the utmost confidence in Mike and his team’s skills and their dedication to excellence.  

What were the most valuable lessons learned from your 7 years at Incisive?

Tough question… though something I look forward to thinking more about it this summer as I take some time to decompress, understand what it is I have accomplished, what it is that motivates me, and what it is I want to do next.

Some early thoughts include and please remember its only been two weeks since I resigned my role as Managing Director of Incisive Media’s North and South America business and the global Interactive Marketing:

  1. Lead by example.
  2. Be honest with yourself, you team, and your clients/customers.
  3. Deal with problems immediately, before they snowball. 
  4. Ask lots of questions. 
  5. Leave you pride at the door (you can learn something from everyone, have the strength to listen).
  6. A clear corporate communication strategy is vital. 
  7. Believe in the work you do, your reputation is defined by it (that and how you treat others).
  8. Be good to people –> it takes a village.   
  9. Don’t forget to thank your family for their support, it is invaluable. 


Legendary night out in Macau after SES Hong Kong with Bill Hunt, Lee Odden, Aaron Kahlow and Brent Payne

What’s next?

It is an exciting world we live in.  Digital is quickly becoming ubiquitous, and with that opportunities abound.  I am looking more at those area’s that are in the state of disruption than those that are crowded and selling based on some optimization. In that vein, and in order to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground while I look for full time employment, I have accepted advisory positions with:

– The Online Marketing Institute, which is catering to the knowledge sharing and level setting needs of the online marketing and advertising industry (education and helping marketer’s do their jobs better has defined my career this last decade);

Web Congress, an event business that serves mostly a hispanic and latino audience, is dedicated to education, and is based in one of my favorite favorite cities, Barcelona;

BtoBeacon, a recently launched resource working to define and educate the BtoB marketing industry;

and of course…

Incisive Media, where I am now an advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors with no operational responsibility. 

Where can you be contacted if a reader wants to tap into your vast knowledge?!

If you have ideas for me or just want to talk marketing, advertising, and technology please do get in touch…

Twitter –> @Matt_McGowan

LinkedIn –> McGowan

Google+ –> Matt McGowan

Please join me in thanking Matt and wishing him every success in the next leg of his professional jaunt in digital!

SMX Advanced in Seattle – Meet One of the Brains Behind Bing!

If you enjoyed the Beyond 10 Blue Links Video I shared this week, you’ll enjoy coverage from SMX Advanced in Seattle in a couple of weeks because Derrick Connell, one of the many ace minds behind Bing, will be keynoting at Danny Sullivan’s conference.

This is my first SMX Advanced – I’ve been to their events in London, Stockholm and elsewhere, but I’m looking forward to forcing my grey matter to work harder as I attend sessions such as “Hardcore Social Tactics” and “Doing Mobile Search Ads Right.”

Also thrilled to be catching up with Danny Sullivan who’s showcased in Pioneers of Digital, right around the time the book goes to press!

I’m told by the fabulous Akvile Harlow that the conference is sold out but that there are still tix left for workshops and networking, so follow @MSAdvertising and see you in a couple of weeks!

4As Transformation 2011 Blog Coverage #Transform2011


My boss and close colleague, Jenny and Kaila, have been Tweeting it up in Austin Texas at the 4 A’s and have captured an incredible amount of coverage from the conference.

Take your pick from this extensive list of advertising insight and delight:

ANA President and CEO, Bob Liodice, on FTC’s Do Not Track Proposal

The War for the Living Room is On at Transformation 2011

Social Media Fanatics Share Social Marketing Tips at Transformation 2011

Boomers Game as Much as Teens – Jeffery Cole on Boomer Insights at Transformation 2011

Transformation 2011: Fareed Zakaria, TIME Editor and CNN Host, on Globalization

Transformation 2011: Brand Building with Killer Content

Interview: Keith Lorizio on Agency Relationships at Transformation 2011

They even found the time to throw some photos up on Flickr: Transformation 2011

Looking forward to being on the ground at this fab event next year!

New Windows Phone TV Ads from Microsoft plus Stephen Fry

New from the US, these Windows Phone ads really sum up how my wife feels about me and my device.

Here’s hoping I can start living my life again…..

BTW – I was at the launch of the phone 7 on Monday.

As Ashley Highfield said on stage, it was “high risk” having Stephen Fry show up, but it seems to have done wonders to draw attention to the wider smartphone/tech ecosystem, especially as Stephen’s all about “biodiversity” in the technology space.

Listen to this excellent Guardian Tech podcast from the event by Jemima Kiss and Charles Arthur

And he most definitely didn’t get paid!!!

Here’s a link to my photos from the front row of the Windows Phone Launch and my fave below:


Advertising Week 2010 Video & Links

Really proud of the team this year!

Awesome job on the ground and Cherry, our video crew were amazing!

Here are some links to all the great content we created!

Navigating the Future of Digital Marketing Video–Advertising Week 2010

Stephen Kim on Digital Creativity at Advertising Week 2010

Blake Mycoskie from TOMS Shoes interviewed at Ad Week 2010

Video: Interview – Charles Johnson on Microsoft Mobile Advertising & Windows Phone 7

Doing Deals with Devil: AOL’s Content Play at AdWeek 2010

Kinectimals Demo for Xbox 360 at Advertising Week

AdWeek 2010: Defining Value and Driving Conversations on the Facebook Frontier

Navigating the Future of Digital Marketing at Advertising Week 2010

The Power of Positive Impact: 10 Billion Impressions, 0 Media Budget – AdWeek 2010

Doug Sweeney, Levi’s VP of Brand Marketing: Revitalizing Levi’s Brand and Rebuilding America – AdWeek 2010

Consumer Adoption of New Technologies and What it Means for Marketers – Advertising Week

Video: Interview with Carolyn Everson at Advertising Week 2010

Video: Interview with Rik Van Der Kooi at Ad Week 2010

Video: Kinect for Xbox 360 Demo at Advertising Week 2010

AdWeek 2010: Attracting Generation Luxur-Y

Have You Checked in Yet? OMMA Panel on the Future Fortunes of Mobile Location-Based Services at Ad Week

D. Costolo, Twitter COO: Brands, Monetization and Why Twitter Isn’t Competing with Facebook – AdWeek 2010

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO: The Web is Being Rebuilt and Marketing is Part of the Solution

Video: Talking Kinect and Me TV with Mark Kroese at AdWeek 2010

David Moore, IAB MIXX 2010 at AdWeek: Online Has Arrived and It Is Unstoppable

Designing an Agency for the Digital Age – Part 2 at Advertising Week 2010

Video Highlights from Day 1 at Advertising Week

Carat Research: It’s A New (Digital) World for Shoppers – AdWeek 2010

Designing an Agency for the Digital Age – Part 1 at Advertising Week 2010

Video Interview with Darren Huston at Advertising Week 2010

Brand-building Jedis: Influence Beyond the Q Score at AdWeek 2010

Digital Affluencers: When to Wrestle With the Pig at AdWeek 2010

Our Advertising Week 2010 Kick Off Video

TV for Me at IAB MIXX 2010 at AdWeek NYC 2010

Seth Godin Opens IAB MIXX 2010 at AdWeek in NYC

Beyond the Banner at Ad Week 2010 with Microsoft Advertising

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