Matthew Kruchko, CEO – MCX Technologies
Each week, we interview proven leaders from our network, to learn from their experiences, and share their Talent Attraction and Candidate Experience stories with you.
- Our mission is to promote the accomplishments of our guests
- Highlight the companies where they work and the services, and products that they offer
- Share success stories from their experiences and, most importantly
- Provide strategies for job seekers and advice to talent seeking to accelerate their careers.
Matthew shares the story of her career progression and entrepreneurial success:
- Matthew started in Finance and was planning on a career on Wall Street
- He quickly learned that companies with better brand strategies had higher valuations and he became fascinated by story telling and brand development
- Curiosity and Data are his keys developing a meaningful career with non-stop learning
- For those beginning their careers, it’s imperative to develop: critical thinking, problem solving, writing, and curiosity.
- Lastly, Matthew shares a favorite case study from his rebranding project with Warner Brothers
Summary transcript of our interview below:
RON: Hey everybody. In the latest episode of the Focus on Talent Video series, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with my good friend and colleague Matthew Kruchko, President and CEO of MCX Technologies. As always, when Matthew and I talk about the subject of talent, we got into a very spirited and lively discussion.
Welcome to Episode 11 of the Bell Falls Search Focus on Talent video series. This is the Digital Marketing Edition.
I met today’s guest in 2016, when he had just moved to Northeast Ohio from Silicon Valley. At the time, he was the CMO of one of our first clients, a UK based software as a service company with headquarters in Northeast Ohio. He has developed extensive experience in marketing strategy, customer user experience design, data analytics and technology innovation.
He has both agency and client side experience, and his solution focus has ranged from startup companies to Fortune 100 businesses. Currently, he is the President and CEO of MCX Technologies, a digital transformation firm.
I am honored to welcome our guest today, Matthew Kruchko. Matthew, thanks and Welcome.
We really focus on the middle market and $50M to a $1B in revenue for our clients.
We have three divisions at MCX.
- The first one is focused really on digital experience, and that’s our subsidiary, The Collective Experience, which I run at as well. Think about that as a typical digital marketing agency layered with data science and modeling on top off of that. So it’s very data driven digital marketing agency
- The second division of MCX is focused around digital currencies. And so, of course, crypto is very trendy right now, but we’re not looking at coins or tokens and folding that on our assets on our balance sheet. What we’re looking at is the enabling technologies that are going to help and make it digital currency actually happen in the marketplace. And so a lot of stuff behind the scenes that people may not pay it, so you can think about it on the wireless side. You had all those wireless towers who is building the software, the hardware to make that happen. We all know about the phones. So we’re thinking about the back of the house.
- And the third is really around Blockchain, really thinking about smart contracts, transparency in those transactions, decentralized finance. We have over a billion people in the market right now that don’t in the world that don’t have access to a traditional bank. So how are we going to connect with them, those consumers to actually drive. And so as we look to go global in our marketplaces, we really need to look at differentiators and unique ways of actually having those transactions happen.
So that’s really about MCX Technologies at a high level.
So my background started off actually in finance. I went to school really thinking about being in finance on the stock market side of things, not the CFO accounting side, but more on the trading side of things.
I worked in Boston, for the Boston Company at the time. I’m going to age myself, was owned by Shearson Lehman Brothers. And so I really was understanding the finance side. And what was exciting about that is that I was able to work with a group around acquisitions. So helping clients hire companies. And as we are going through evaluations and, of course, looking at balance sheets and PE ratios and things of that nature, one of the things that my boss’s boss actually brought me in, was I started realizing is that these companies that had brands really focused on brand strategy…actually had higher valuations.
So I really started getting a little bit more intrigued on the business strategy side of the brand side. Less on the financial strategy side of the company. So after leaving the financial world, I actually started up a shop in New England. I lived in Maine at the time and started up an agency working with companies to help tell their stories. And at the time, brand storytelling really wasn’t even a phrase.
Fast forward to 15 year and I’m up in San Francisco. I owned my own agency. We had an office in San Francisco and Detroit, working with Warner Brothers, working with the Smithsonian Institute, Qualcomm, Sony PlayStation.
So I have a variety across the board. It was nice about that is we weren’t vertically focused. You see, a lot of people really dive into one vertical and they lived their entire career in one vertical. I was lucky enough to say, Hey, I can learn from wireless and apply that and biotech where I can learn this in Pharma and apply it at a Museum.
“Because at the end of the day, we’re all consumers, and how people relate to us as consumers is very common. You just got to think about what are those value propositions and drivers are going to help tell you that.”
I had the opportunity to go to client side. We wee based in Manchester, England. Software. We sold software in 72 different countries, 14 different languages. Average company is probably about $10-$15M in revenue, 18 month sales cycles. So how do you take the learnings from the agency world to the client side to the corporate world? And you find out very quickly that corporations have not spent a lot of time educating their employees on the value of how they impact the brand and how they impact the stories throughout the lifecycle, what they’re dealing with. So I had an opportunity to rebrand and refresh a British company. Global company. As you said, Ron, we had US headquarters here and ran to global marketing and global strategy for the company.
RON: I appreciate you sharing that with my audience because it’s one of the most unique, I guess, career progression I would describe in the digital marketing or digital transformation space, especially with the finance, in the application of data, almost everything you’ve ever done. I just find that fascinating. I can’t wait to talk about that a little bit more.
MATT: Yeah, definitely. I’ll just add on a little bit. I think whether you’re a biologist at a biotech or you are an engineer at a wireless firm or you’re an account executive at an agency, I think there’s opportunities to think about what your where your sealing is for that role.
I always remember my grandfather talking when I was a young age. He’s like, “Don’t dress for the job you have dress for the job you want.”
Well, there’s also the aspect of becoming educated and learn what you need to do to get the job you want. And sometimes that job’s in the company you’re in. And so you need to understand what that career path to get there is. And I think that’s an aspect of working in the agency world. I was pretty blessed And understanding is I had to constantly relearn things. I had to constantly become a mini expert in a new industry or new vertical so I could actually have strategic conversations with the executives.
And I think that curiosity aspect of being in the agency world, I think, is a key component that I’m trying to push here at the company that I’m, the CEO of, is curiosity. I think so many of us stop being curious. And when we stop being curious, you stopped learning and you stop progressing.
And I mean, if you look at our young kids when they’re 4-5-6-7-8 years old, they’re always asking why and what and so forth. And for some reason, we get to our thirties and forties or to fifty, we stop asking that. And I think that curiosity component is something that I’m trying to entrench into our organization and give that white space for people to learn.
I think that’s a key thing also, data. I think everyone needs to be a data scientist. And what I mean by that, you’re not going to be writing modeling necessarily, but you need to understand the value of data science. You need to understand what those insights are.
And you hear a lot of terms like, this is a data driven solution. Well, I disagree with that, because if it’s a data driven solution, you’re allowing the data to make all the decisions. I think you need to be I think we as an employee base whether you’re CEO or you’re right out of college, you need to have the data inform you’re thinking and data inform strategically where you want to take things.
So we’re trying to take more of a data informed approach. And I’m trying to get the people I work with, whether it’s our employees or it’s our clients, take the strategy. You’re the one who knows where you want to take the company, How’s this data going to have you adjust. Do you have to pivot completely, or is it just a little bit of adjustment. And I think so. I think everyone needs to think about being, I don’t say an expert, but I appreciate the data and how it impacts your job. Whether you’re a biologist, an engineer, an account executive, whatever it may be.
RON: Okay. Case studies. Do you have a case study or two that you’d be open to sharing?
MATT: So there’s a couple that I’m proud of participating in. And I think that’s the thing is that we are participants in this journey and we have different roles along that journey. Sometimes you’re leading it, sometimes you’re supporting it. And I’ve had the pleasure of being on the pendulum on both sides of that. I would say one of the things I’m really proud of is we’re working with Warner Brothers and doing the refreshment.
We all know Warner Brothers. We all have seen the Warner Brothers logo. I would say a majority of people don’t know who Warner Brothers is, and that’s okay. Warner Brothers is the largest entertainment distribution company in the world. People think about friends being an NBC property. It’s actually a Warner Brothers property. It was filmed on the back lot of Water Brothers.
So I would say of everything you see in TV movies, commercials is shot on the Warner Brothers back lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s made by Sony or made by Paramount or made by another company. It’s shot on Warner Brothers. And then I would say about 95% of all scores / audio music scores are done at Warner Brothers music understanding that side of things. So we came in for a project, and it was to rebrand the Warner Brothers back lot tour.
And so in sitting there and having a conversation with them in Burbank, California, I kind of throw out a question that and I tend to try to push people to think differently. Sometimes sometimes I throw out questions to really want to know the answer. Sometimes I throw out questions to say, I don’t agree with you. I’m like, Why do we need to re brand a tour? Like, do people really care about a tour? And they’re like, Oh, this is really important. Like, no, no, seriously, who in the world knows that you guys have a tour?
And really, what it came down to is no one ever took the time to tell people who want a brother is they start to get a tour of their back lot. But who is Warner Brothers? There’s a financial KPI that they wanted to hit a certain amount of dollars they want to hit in their tour. But at the same time, they never really took the brand and elevate it to a consumer level. It’s been a brand that production companies and entertainment brands know intimately. But you and I, as a viewer, only saw the logo at the beginning of a movie. So let’s tell the story. The story starts with three brothers, and the vision they had. What we did is actually create that story about who warner brothers is.
And then how do you apply it to the tour? How do you apply it to the movie division, the TV division, the music division, and so forth. And one of the things we came up with: “This is where Hollywood is made,” and people didn’t really think about that. Hollywood is made in the back lot of Warner Brothers. So we created an entire brand strategy. We say brand strategy at the highest level is, “how do we position ourselves in the marketplace?”
- What is your promise to your customer?
- What is the messaging?
- Actually, we draft a narrative. We had a story that we wrote. But then how do you apply that? And so how do you make that into marketing?
- Touch points?
- How do you make that into advertising?
But probably one of the coolest things we did is actually, how do we go back internally? And how do we share the story with employees and what that means for them and what they’re part of? And then how can they participate in that story to add to it and add value?
And so we did an entire internal communications and employee strategy to help really drive that. So I would say that was one of my favorite engagements. I had the pleasure of being on the back lot every week for about two years. And I got to see a lot of cool things change in music, how movies are made, but you get to see how the sausage is made, so speak.
RON: Can we talk about talent a little bit? What advice would you give that that group of individuals right now as they’re thinking about coming out of school, especially as it applies to marketing, digital transformation, kind of, that whole bundle?
MATT: Well, I would say I’ll step back. I was coming out of school. We were probably on the tail end of we had family members who worked at IBM or a company like that for 25, 30 years. And they work for one company And the progression was, Hey, I’m going to be safe, and I’m going to work for one company and I have a pension.
Well, that got blown up in the 80’s pretty bad. I was going into school and thinking about, Where am I going to go work because I can’t work at one company more for 25,30 years. We’ve swung the pendulum completely now, and I think we havepeople who work at five to ten places in their twenties. So I would say, for an entry level person, I think the key thing is here is finding what going back to curiosity. We gets you excited? What wakes you up in the morning? School doesn’t wake people up in the morning. I totally get that. But you need to have real world examples of what things happen.
So I would say the school teaches you how to think Learn problem solving skills and critical thinking Get involved somehow. Join groups, critical thinking, problem solving and writing. So many people do not write well. I try to tell people if you write well, you’ll find yourself up. Because if you can’t translate your thoughts into words, you’re going to hit your ceiling. It is going to be pretty low. The reason why executives get executives so very often, they’re able to share what they’re trying to think, what they’re thinking, what they want to do. I would say in College, internships. Aggressively find an internship and not necessarily in digital marketing. I mean, you’re going to have competition saying, Hey, everyone’s looking for that social media digital marketing internship at the Cavaliers were here in Cleveland.
Right. Good luck. I think it’s the business. Understand business. You might want to be a digital marketer. You might want to be a social media strategist, brand strategist or a creative director.
That’s great. Understand business.
And I think you understand business by working in a business. And so if you’re an intern in the sales division and you’re helping field rest, do research on customers. Because when you get into the real world, you got to learn how to do research. That means you have to write a draft, a memo, what you’ve found to work in the accounting division. Understand how money is moved work for the CFO, work anywhere in a business.
And I think that’s the opportunity that I think kids don’t look at. They want that sexy, really cool internship when they’re in College. Good luck.
I would say leverage your family’s relationships. Don’t be shy to ask your uncle, your aunt, your next door neighbor who is an executive at a Fortune 1,000 company. “Can you help me get an internship?, Can you write a reference for me? Who should I go talk to?” I think that’s another thing that I see a lot of for entry level people. They don’t ask, Build your network now. And when I say build your network now appears your own age, get a relationship with 60, 70 year old men and women who have a lot of experience.
Find a mentor. I think that’s a key thing. Find a mentor. When you are looking for a job, though, it’s I’ll use an analogy of like baseball, your utility player. You might say you want to do X, but you should be able to be comfortable in learning how to do A through Z, because you might thought you want to do X, but after you start doing X, you really didn’t like it.
So what are you going to do now? So I think that utility player would be open to learning. I think that’s a key thing. I think Secondly, as people are, you and I grew up looking for a career that’s very rare. So go ahead and be curious and work in different environments. But to be a really great marketer, you need to have a great relationship with finance. You have to have a great relationship with HR talent. You have to have a great relationship with sales, a great relationship on strategy, great relationship with product.
“So to have those relationships, you need to understand intimately what those job functions are.”
Stay tuned for part two…
June 17, 2021