MindShare Search Ends With Kain

Sep 3, 2008  •  Post A Comment

When Matt Kain worked for an independent search company, he argued that dollars should move from traditional advertising to online, where they would result in higher sales.
Now, as managing director of MindShare Search, he’s got a somewhat different point of view.
“I think it’s now tempered by a broader understanding of what the client’s looking for,” Mr. Kain said. “There will certainly be times where search will perform better than other media, and we need to help the media plan devolve toward that, but there’ll be plenty of instances where it has a much more lowly place on the totem pole.”
MindShare is in the process of a reorganization that brings digital services, such as search, closer to the core of the agency’s structure and processes. Other media agencies are moving to better integrate their traditional and digital offerings as well.
For Mr. Kain, the changes at MindShare present a big opportunity as the organization becomes more media-agnostic.
“It’s quite exciting to me, coming from a specialist company where you’re fighting for that little bit of money that doesn’t go into traditional media, to be here in a truly integrated setting where we’re at the table and looking at what is the appropriate solution,” he said.
While Web video is a hot part of the video landscape, video search is still a work in progress.
“It’s been the year of video for several years now, and we still haven’t seen it take off just yet,” Mr. Kain said.
The trouble with video search is that most video hasn’t been indexed so that it can be found by search engines.
“Increasingly, if something doesn’t have an opportunity of coming up somewhere on one of the search engines, it largely doesn’t exist as far as the consumer’s concerned,” he said.
In addition to picking keywords and buying search ads, MindShare Search audits all of a client’s online assets—Web sites, podcasts, webinars, videos—to make sure they’re being picked up by search engines and syndicated to appropriate places.
“The broader goal is having as many paths to the client’s message as possible,” he said.
Mr. Kain’s own path started in Australia. He was born in Canberra and raised and educated in Sydney. He said he hopes someday to return to Australia.
He began his career as a performer in the music business, but he also opened a video and music production company. Some of its projects developed into multimedia digital productions, giving him a taste of the media business.
Mr. Kain sold his business and moved to the U.K., where he hooked up with a financial Web site, Moneyextra.com. Before the dotcom boom went bust, he helped the company create a new revenue stream derived from referring visitors on the site to credit card companies and other businesses.
“When the bottom fell out of the online ad market, it was a good thing we had done so,” he said. “The referral business became the lion’s share of the company’s revenues,”
Mr. Kain returned to Sydney in 2001, expecting to work for a Web analytics company, but was introduced to a startup called Decide Interactive, a search marketing company, He signed on as managing director. When the company was acquired in 2004 by 24/7 Real Media, Mr. Kain was sent to New York to head up 24/7’s search business.
He left 24/7 to join MindShare.
Most of Mr. Kain’s spare time is spent with his growing family. He and his wife had their first son in Australia four years ago; he was joined by a daughter 19 months ago. They’re expecting their third child in October.
They’ve decided not to be told what sex the new baby is.
“We figure we’ve got enough of whatever we need no matter what comes out, so we thought we’d treat ourselves to a surprise this time,” he said. “We’ve got enough things in pink and blue.”
Mr. Kain last week got himself a motorcycle license. He figures he’ll use the bike to get to and from the train station before and after work.
“I’ll be pouring cartons of milk down the sink so I can do little errands to pick up things every now and then,” he added.

Who Knew
: Mr. Kain carefully guards the fact that he was a lounge singer in Australia to make ends meet when he was growing up. But his secret eventually slips out wherever he works. The pattern is usually the same: “A discrete comment in confidence becomes a bit more widely distributed, and then ultimately I get called upon to do karaoke things,” he said. The CEO at 24/7 was a big karaoke fan, holding sing-along bashes for the company four or five times a year. Was that a reason he left 24/7? “It could be a contributing factor,” Mr. Kain averred.


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