NativeAdVantage 10-Q2BA:

(10 Questions 2B Answered)

What do you do best?
What makes you the best?
Biggest success?
What are your aspirations?
Most challenging moment?
Favorite Motto?
Favorite People?
Favorite Places?
Favorite Products?
Current Passions?

Featured NativeAdVantage:

Andy Weir: Author of "The Martian"

John Philipson: VP, Six Senses Resorts

Tom Sito: Chair of Animation, USC Film School

Elizabeth Wynn: Broker, Sotheby's RE

Leonard Greenhalgh: Professor, Tuck-Darmouth)

Ryan Blair: NY Times Best Selling Author/Entrepreneur


Featured NativeAdVice:

Shai Reshef: Founder of University of the People

Paul D'Arcy: SVP of Indeed

Susan Hatje: GM of Mandarin Oriental, NY

Dan Laufer: Co-Founder of RentLingo

Hilary Laney: President of Tri-Digital

Greg Marsh: Co-Founder of onefinestay

Omar Qari: Co-Founder of Abacus

Gabriell Weinberg: Founder of DuckDuckGo

Stacy Rauen: E-I-C of Hospitality Design Mag

Jon Gray: CRO of HomeAway

Joe Speiser: Co-Founder of

Ben McKean: Co-Founder of HungryRoot

John Boiler: Founder/CEO of 72andSunny

Wayne Pacelle: CEO of The Humane Society of the US

Tom Guay: GM at The Sagamore Resort

Dr. Alejandro Junger: Founder of The Clean Program

Rob Flaherty: CEO of Ketchum

Neil Thanedar: Founder/CEO of LabDoor

Andy Grinsfelder: VP of Sales/Marketing, Delaware North Resorts

Laura Frerer-Schmidt: VP/Publisher of Women's Health

Avi Steinlauf: CEO of

Kathy Bloomgarden: CEO of Ruder Finn

Gabriel Flateman: Co-Founder/CTO of Casper

Mark Bartels: CEO of StumbleUpon

Bill Hagelstein: President/CEO of RPA

Adam Singolda: Founder/CEO of Taboola

Jonathan Plutzik: Proprietor of The Betsy-South Beach

Jessica Scorpio: Founder/VP of Marketing at GetAround

Ralph McRae: CEO of Leading Brands

Warren Berger: Bestselling Author

Liz Kaplow: Founder/CEO of Kaplow Communications

Dave Girouard: Founder/CEO of UpStart

Dave Asprey: Founder of BullectProof Executive

Douglas C. Smith: President of EDSA

Val Difebo: CEO of Deutsch NY

Guido Polito: CEO of Baglioni Hotels

Doyle Graham, Jr.: CEO of Valencia Group

Oscar Farinetti: Founder of Eataly

Angelo Sotira: CEO of DeviantART

Ali Khwaja: CFO of Safecharge

Zach Erdem: Proprietor of 75 Main

Jim Beley: GM of The Umstead Hotel

Alexis Gelburd-Kimler: Proprietor of West Bridge

Elie Georges: Proprietor of Hotel San Regis

Kalen Caughey: Founder o VOKE Tab

Michael Friedenberg: CEO of IDG

Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

Edward Nardoza: Editor-in-Chief of WWD

Scott Dadich: Editor-in-Chief of Wired

Rhona Murphy: Former CEO of The Daily Beast

David J. Pecker: CEO of American Media

Lilian Roten: VP of Swissotel Hotels

Kenny Dichter: Founder/CEO of Wheels Up

Joshua Tetrick: Founder/CEO of Hampton Creek

Paul James: Global Brand Leader of The Luxury Collection

Dr. James Wagner: President of Emory University

Amy Thompson: President of ATM Artists & Management

Neil Gillis: President of Round Hill Music

Brett Matteson: President of Columbia Hospitality

Jonathan Reckford: CEO of Habitat For Humanity

Phil Harrison: President/CEO of Perkins+Will

Chef Bill Telepan

Tony Horton: Founder of P90X

Beth Weissenberger: Co-Founder of The Handel Group

Michael Fertik: Founder/CEO of

Dana Cowin: Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine

Bob Proctor: Chairman of Proctor/Gallagher Institute

Dennis Turcinovic: Owner of Delmonicos

Vittorio Assaf: Co-Founder of Serafina Restaurant Group

Shafqat Islam: Co-Founder of Newscred

Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

Bruce Rogers: Executive Chef at Hale & Hearty

Caleb Merkl: Co-Founder of Maple

Candy Argondizza: VP of Culinary at ICC

Neil Sazant: President of The Sagamore

Matt Straz: Founder/CEO of Namely

Terry Couglin: Managing Partner of Marta/Maialino

Andrei Cherny: Co-Founder/CEO of Aspiration

Ronen Nissenbaum: Managing Director of Waldorf Astoria NY

Patrick Godfrey: President of Godfrey Q

Sarah Berman: Founder/President of The Berman Group

Michael Schwartz: Owner of Genuine Hospitality Group

Stephan Aarstol: Founder/CEO of Tower Paddle Boards

Peter Shaindlin: COO of Halekulani Corp.

August Cardona: Founder/CEO of Epicurean Group

Nick Kenner: Co-Founder of Just Salad


Matt Williams: CEO of The Martin Agency

My NativeAdVice:


As the fifth CEO in the history of The Martin Agency, Matt Williams really knows how to command a room. Guess it doesn’t hurt that he’s 6'3". He’s an avid cyclist, father of two and has a calming presence that makes any goal feel within reach (though that may also be due to his large wingspan). Matt joined the agency in 1991 as an account executive, but quickly found his niche in strategic planning, leading U.S. and global development for GEICO, Discover Financial Services, Nespresso, UPS, Saab, Credit Suisse, and Bank One. In his role as CEO, Matt oversees the agency’s work for prominent brands including GEICO, Benjamin Moore, Walmart, Mondelez and TIAA-CREF, among others.

Matt holds a marketing degree from The College of William & Mary as well as an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management; he is also a contributing author to the best-selling book Kellogg on Branding. He speaks regularly on advertising and marketing topics around the country and has even consulted on communications strategy with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Defense. All this from a man who made it through college as the lead singer of a band called Flannel Animals.

How did you get into the Advertising industry?

Pure nepotism.  My dad was a very senior client, so I was around advertising all the time growing up.  I wasn't drawn to the client side but all his agency friends were fun and smart and seemed to like their jobs.  So he got me an interview with one of his company's ad agencies.  Shocker--the client's kid got a job.  I loved it and two years later moved to Richmond to work at Martin where, happily, my Dad has never been a client.  That was 23 years ago. 

Tell us about The Martin Agency. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?

The idea began 50 years ago when our founder, David Martin, set out to prove that an ad agency could do great work outside of NY, Chicago or LA.

Our vision:

Be one of the top 3 creative agencies in the world--do work that grows our clients' businesses, impacts culture and is recognized in our industry.  

Build a global presence--we opened an office in London last year and want to expand into Asia and South America soon.  To attract the best talent and most interesting opportunities we have to look beyond the borders of the US.  

Create a community that enriches the life of everyone it touches--our company has to be a positive influence on the lives of our employees, our clients and the cultures in which our work appears.  If you're not making things better, what are you doing?

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to The Martin Agency's success?

There are so many disciplines and specialities in our business, nobody can be great at all of them.  So the ability to find the right partners becomes a strategic necessity.  I can't name any one partnership that's been key to our success, but I know our ability to partner with multiple companies in an open, collaborative way has been a key factor.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

There have never been more ways to bring great ideas to life than there are now.  We have to be creatively ambidextrous—able to think in terms of big brand ideas, then transition to be craftspeople who can make that idea come to life beautifully in multiple media and disciplines.  The best people in our business can shift between huge conceptual ideas and the detail of craft.  Find those people, help them do the best work of their lives and you'll be successful.

Life Motto?

Don't be a jerk.

The Martin Agency's Motto?

Good and Tough.  Good to each other, tough on the work

Your greatest success as CEO of The Martin Agency? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

I've been in this job a little over 2 years.  I screwed up a lot in my first year because I was so nervous about... screwing up.  I was tight.  Uncomfortable.  And it affected the energy of the people around me.  As I've gotten more comfortable in the job I’ve realized that my greatest successes come when I loosen up and let the joy that's the signature of our company at its best, come out.  It makes people more willing to experiment and take chances.  That makes our work better and it makes this crazy, stressful business a lot more fun.

Your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Be skeptical of advice from anyone who's never started a business.  Like me.

Describe the ideal experience using The Martin Agency.

Bring us a brand that's lost its momentum and a CMO with big ambitions for reinvigorating it.  We'll tap into new energy and reignite that brand.  And we'll do it with a big, enduring brand idea brought to life in multiple communication disciplines.  It's what we've been doing for 20+ years with GEICO, what we did with the UPS "What Can Brown Do For You?" campaign, and what we're doing now for clients like Mondelez, Benjamin Moore, Discover, Walmart and others.

How do you motivate your employees?

If we create an environment where our people can do the best work of their lives, they motivate themselves.  It's a wonderful, virtuous cycle.  My job is to keep the culture healthy, the opportunities coming and the environment positive.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

That's a trap.  We've got too many food and beverage clients to choose just one of each. Okay,I won't cop out...  New York Strip and cabernet sauvignon.

What literature is on your bed stand?

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.  Ad agencies can learn a lot from what he and his team built at Pixar.

Role model - business and personal?

Personal: my wife.  The kindest, strongest, most decent person I've ever known.  I've got a pink ribbon tattooed on my arm in her honor.

Business: John Adams and Mike Hughes.  The pair that made our agency what it is.  They're proof you can build a great business without compromising your standards, integrity or sense of humor.

Current passion?

Cycling.  I love the escape--it's a great way to clear your mind and break a serious sweat.  And the sport has a wonderful community.

And I've been playing in rock bands since high school.  I'm still in one and love our monthly bar gigs.

Favorite travel destination?

Home.  I'm traveling home on a plane right now and I'm more excited than I would be for any vacation.

What's next for The Martin Agency?

Become a global creative micro-network.  Attract more global brands and talent based on our work and our culture.  Keep getting better and tougher.