Martech 360 Interview With Brian Kim, CEO, Relo Metrics

What we do at Relo Metrics is provide actionable data in a manner that it can be used as a leading indicator, wrapped with insights, best practices, and peer validated success stories.

Hi Brian, could you tell us a little about your journey and where it all started for you?

I’ve spent the last 15 years in a variety of roles around digital marketing transformation.  Through that time, I’ve had the privilege to see the growth in online marketing through the lens’ of some special companies (Yahoo!, ReachLocal, GumGum). A consistent thread I’ve seen across all these companies I worked for was the desire to push the boundaries of what can be done and be innovative and transformational.

It’s always been a passion point of mine to work in sports, and one of the challenges I saw early on was that sports sponsorships have not changed with the times and grown from a technology and data perspective. Sports sponsorship is still mainly focused on hospitality, relationships, and quite frankly, the vanity of seeing your own logo on TV as measures of success.

I believe that sponsorship is one of the most underutilized and undervalued channels of marketing. Helping brands understand and grow by giving them a standardized way to measure the value of campaigns is something I’ve seen other marketing channels accomplish. I want to see sports sponsorships follow in the same path.

I think we’re in the early stages of this transformation and it’s really exciting to be a part of something like this, helping an entire industry to innovate and change. You have sports teams who in their early years relied on ticketing revenue as their main source of income. In the last 15 years, that has shifted to be driven mainly by content rights deals, and in the next 15 years, I think it will be driven by the monetization of data and content. On the flip side, brands continue to try to optimize and maximize how they get the right message in front of the right person in the right content, and live sports is still one of those channels that can solve all three components of that problem effectively.  I’m proud that the team here at Relo Metrics gets to play a pivotal role in it and I’m excited for what the next 5-10 years will bring.

How has the pandemic affected your team and your productivity?

Even prior to COVID, we were a pretty dispersed team across Santa Monica, Chicago, London and New York, so while we did have offices and now work in a completely remote environment, I wouldn’t say that the pandemic created a 180 degree change in environment for our team members.

From a productivity standpoint, we’ve seen no drop off or change from the pre-pandemic period and so I think our employees are enjoying some of the flexibility that they’re now given while working 100% remotely.

As the CEO, and someone who thinks a lot about culture, I continually work on fine tuning how you define culture and create some of that office environment with a remote workforce. There is a level of bonding and intimacy that gets fostered when you’re together in person for 8+ hours a day that is hard to replicate when on a Zoom. So, it’s finding that balance of allowing employees to enjoy the flexibility of being able to work their own schedules and from wherever they need to be, but also creating a DNA and identity that sticks across employees and goes deeper than employees’ roles and responsibilities.

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What sets Relo Metrics apart from competition?

I would say our employees’ focus and desire on making data accessible and actionable to our customers is what sets us apart. An analogy I typically share with potential customers is that data needs to be both timely and actionable to a customer for it to be meaningful. If you only receive a report card once or twice a year and your grades go from a C to a D, you only have a lagging indicator that your performance has degraded. However, if you’re receiving weekly feedback of what you’re doing well and what you need to improve, you can set the appropriate goals and leading indicators that will enable you to take your C to an A even when your goal might have been to get to a B.

What we do at Relo Metrics is provide actionable data in a manner that it can be used as a leading indicator, wrapped with insights, best practices, and peer validated success stories. So when we’re working with our customers, our goal is to not just deliver them the data they need, but to also work with them on how they can best incorporate this type of data into their business processes and enable them to drive towards their goals.

Our typical success stories are when a sports team tells us how they’ve been able to renew their largest sponsors or increase their yearly sponsorship revenue by 25-30%. Or when a brand tells us they’ve been able to double their sponsorship budget for next year by getting incremental budget or how they’ve optimized their portfolio to perform better and eliminate poor performing partners. Then, we know that we’ve properly integrated our solution and improved how our customers manage their day to day jobs, helping them achieve their goals.

How do you see Relo Metrics contributing to the metrics development for analyzing sponsorship effectiveness evolving over the years to come?

I think more and more customers are looking for a one-stop solution to understand and measure value. Particularly now, with the content itself becoming so fragmented, putting together 3-4 different solutions to solve their problems is becoming increasingly difficult. So, I think the most important priority for Relo Metrics to continue to play is to ensure our customers, and future customers believe that we can and will continue to be the best and most comprehensive single solution out there in analyzing sponsorship effectiveness.

As a business leader, what are your thoughts on how ROMI and its use as a metric to define success?

Having now spent the last 5 years in the sports industry, I am still shocked at the amount of times I hear that ROMI or the ability to have answers tied to ROMI are still not at the top of the priority list.  Like I mentioned above, I think it truly does a disservice to the value of sponsorships and what can be achieved in our industry.  When you see the amount of advertising that is spent on platforms – like social media, websites, etc. where it is so hard to grab a user’s attention – and compare it to sponsorship, where you have such a committed fanbase and an opportunity to be on multiple content platforms across social media, linear TV, OTT, you would think the dollars would be equitable but they are magnitudes off. Over the next 10 years, I absolutely think that will change and solving this piece of the puzzle and providing a standardized way to measure ROMI is going to be one of those fundamental building blocks to get to this future.

Top 5 apps that you use for business?

Too many to count but here are a few:

  1.  Zoom
  2. Hubspot
  3. Salesforce
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Gong
  6. Outreach
  7. Slack

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a business leader?

It’s a bit cliche, but I would say: never give up. You’re going to hear “no”, “sorry, next time”, or “it doesn’t fit what we want” many many more times than you’re going to hear “yes”, just like an athlete is told they can’t become the best or make it to the NBA, Olympics, etc. That’s why you need passion and the grit to overcome every obstacle and prove the doubters wrong. Once you find the first couple of people who say yes, then it’s a matter of time and focus before you find the rest.

Your top pick for a book on leadership that everyone should read?

A Promised Land by Barack Obama was a recent one that I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed. I’m looking forward to the next volume coming out some day.

Could you name one person that you would like to see featured here?

I saw some other interviewers that had mentioned their companies use Gong, so I would love to see Amit Bendov featured here.

Thanks Brian!

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