PROFILE

Matt Schmitt

President, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Reflect

Matt Schmitt founded Reflect in 2001 with the purpose of providing businesses with solutions to power in-store digital media networks. Reflect’s software and services enable large, geographically dispersed organizations to share and disperse rich media content over distributed corporate networks. In his role as president, Schmitt leads the company’s efforts in its mission to empower consumer-facing companies, positively impacting sales and brand equity through the strategic use of in-store digital media solutions.

Prior to founding Reflect, Schmitt created and managed the emerging technologies group for Yahoo! Inc., where he worked with business units to develop and deploy rich media solutions to Yahoo! properties. Schmitt also managed several groups at broadcast.com, the pioneering webcasting company which had a successful IPO and was subsequently acquired by Yahoo! Inc. in 1999.

Schmitt is also an active member and committee chair of the Digital Screenmedia Association.

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  • Posted on: 08/10/2016

    Is it OK for brands to have emotions?

    Brands have always leveraged emotion. Increasingly, we're seeing a movement beyond "feel-good" messaging to "do good" positioning, with brands choosing to convey where they stand on issues. Coca-Cola may choose to mostly cover the well-worn path of conveying the athletic spirit in their "feel-good" campaign during the Olympics, while Nike is running a spot that tells the story of a transgender athlete's journey to winning a place on an elite running team.With messaging channels and mediums being so fragmented, it's likely that we'll see some brands tell their traditional "feeling" messages to older audiences, while they simultaneously announce their positions on issues or talk about the causes they support to Millennial audiences through targeted campaigns. Young consumers may indeed demand more from the brands they favor with their business. Perhaps they will "ask not what a brand can do for them, but what it can do for the world."
  • Posted on: 02/08/2016

    Who won the Super Ad Bowl this year?

    The Heinz spot generated a lot of water cooler buzz. But the Jeep spots were really well done, and are probably the best of the lot as far as lasting impact.

  • Posted on: 12/03/2015

    Will the new/old Lands’ End catch on with consumers?

    So far the new efforts by Lands' End appear to be mostly focused on the image and customer engagement tactics, while the product offerings seem to be much the same. If that's the strategy, then they'll likely focus on appealing to the old and new customer segments by targeting their messaging and brand media elements in a manner that allows them to speak to both crowds.

    In such a fractured media world there's no reason they can't find ways to engage the audiences with the right message. The question is, will the products resonate with the new audience they are trying to attract?

  • Posted on: 11/30/2015

    Are seasonal employees your saving grace or worst nightmare?

    I think the idea of "mini-orientation" workshops is one of the most helpful tips. But retailers are still going to struggle with the inevitable shallowness of product knowledge and lack of experience with seasonal staff.

    One thing not mentioned in the article is technology. Consumers are empowered with a lot of data and resources at their fingertips. If they are much more knowledgable and informed than the temp store staff, it can create frustrating interactions.

    Why not empower the seasonal staff with apps and product data (via tablets or smartphones) so they have quick access to "N + 1" data? This would encompass the most common data the shopper has ("N") and the "+ 1" being extra data and content the retailer makes available to give the seasonal staff an advantage when interacting with shoppers.

  • Posted on: 11/05/2015

    Is customer experience the new loyalty?

    Customer Experience is currently the new-new thing. This seems weird to many people because it begs the questions why hasn't this been the key focus all along, and what have retailers been focusing on, if not customer experience?

    It's easy to throw rocks and say that retailers got off track on CX, but to be fair the massive upheavals in the dynamics of retailing in the age of the customer certainly sent everyone into a dizzying and frantic dance of new tactics, initiatives, and experiments to navigate the new age of retailing.

    If Customer Experience is, as Gartner posits, the next great battlefield for marketers, what does this mean for brands tracking the effectiveness of CX efforts on customer loyalty?

    Putting aside the chorus of "hype-labeling" and skepticism, I think we should all rally around the reality and importance of brands paying attention to customer experience and the benefits of asking a simple question. Why do customers engage with the brand, and how can their experience be improved? Loyalty is a result of caring.

  • Posted on: 11/04/2015

    How can stores alleviate Millennials’ healthy choice dilemma?

    Retailers need to help customers cut through the noise. This means holding brands to a standard when they present products as health-smart (e.g. what does "natural" mean?)

    Give customers a filter (labels, certifications, tools) to quickly cut through the clutter.

  • Posted on: 11/03/2015

    Why is Amazon opening a brick and mortar bookstore?

    Why a physical store? Because customers like them. Why enter a market that they helped destroy? Because the traditional physical bookstore brands had trouble with logistics, pricing pressure, and margin controls. Amazon believes they have these things figured out. So give the people what they want. Digital and physical. They're now a complete retail brand.

  • Posted on: 11/02/2015

    ‘Brand content doesn’t have to suck’

    Instead of just creating content, brands should also try "finding" content. People are telling stories through many channels and platforms (YouTube video, Instagram photos, Medium written word). If brands find content, they can then amplify compelling stories that will resonate with consumers.

    Let the users tell their stories, then bring these stories to more people.

  • Posted on: 10/05/2015

    Has mobile created a new marketing moment of truth?

    Google's research is good, but it is also self-serving (duh!) in that it reinforces the idea that consumers are going to use a path of research and decision making that is more web-centric and somewhat abstracted from direct brand connection. It may very well be true that consumers want to search, review, compare, etc. across brand and product options. However, what about those moments where the consumer knows (and likes) a particular brand and is looking to engage directly with the brand as they navigate these moments across channels and touchpoints?

    I believe there are opportunities for brands to do much more to engage consumers, whether these are brand fans/followers or potential customers who have yet to be solidly "sold" on the brand and products.

    Be it online, on-the-go, or in-store, brands should create micro-moment opportunities for customers. If the content and easy access to information are curated and facilitated by the brand, the experience can become richer between brand and customer. Otherwise, the brands will be further abstracted and removed from the customer journey.

  • Posted on: 08/19/2015

    Multi-channel marketing campaigns still not a reality

    Storytelling is great and it is definitely important to campaign strategies. But what about planning for effectively reaching the intended audience? The Hotwire study had a large percentage of respondents unsure of what the appropriate marketing channels are to use for a campaign. Seems like there needs to be a more pointed focus early in the planning for identifying the effectiveness of particular channels to yield results.

  • Posted on: 08/17/2015

    Should Sephora be in subscription boxes?

    We're likely to see an array of subscription services from retail brands emerge over the next few years. Consumer interest is high. Convenience and a craving for "bring it to me" are rising, and there is a big opportunity to create the personalized and curated approach that has often eluded many retail brands.

    Beyond Sephora's new program, I wonder if we'll see more health and beauty subscription services. Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Walgreens, CVS?

    I'm looking forward to seeing how these efforts may (and may not) work across types of products and brands.

  • Posted on: 07/28/2015

    All the news that’s fit to read with coffee

    Howard Schultz has always been keen on connecting Starbucks customers with content, from newspapers to CDs. The new partnerships with the New York Times and Spotify are part of a logical strategy to jump from analog to digital distribution.

    Starbucks is leveraging its highly valuable brand equity, and the focus on attaching the loyalty app to content partners and to services like Lyft are indications of a very active and concerted effort to keep the Starbucks loyalty program at the top of the heap. Let's hope other retailers are not just paying attention, but taking action to innovate in the area of loyalty programs and customer experience.

  • Posted on: 07/28/2015

    EBay scraps same-day delivery

    I don't believe eBay's exit from same-day delivery services is an indicator of the market not being viable or sustainable. eBay is at a crossroads. As they are spinning off PayPal into a separate company, they are being forced to evaluate a number of their initiatives in order to cut down and focus on a core strategy going forward. Exactly what that focus will be remains to be seen.

  • Posted on: 05/18/2015

    Google now testing ‘buy’ button

    Google, with its "Buy" button, is aiming to minimize the friction associated with mobile purchases, including the fragmented browsing and ordering processes currently experienced by consumers. Shoppers may embrace this, especially for impulse purchases of products they know they want. However, in the mid/long-term, retailers may be more removed from the flow, with consumers and product brands engaging in more of a direct engagement model.

  • Posted on: 05/07/2015

    Whole Foods announces plans for new value-price concept

    This should be accretive and positive for them. Many young people are likely "locked out" of the existing offerings because of price. They'll likely put a lot of effort into presenting a launch with a strong focus on lifestyle branding and an experiential shopping design with a big focus on connecting customers through technology. I'm upbeat on this, and excited to see it.

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