At GMR, growth is born of a healthy tension between vision and focus

Matt Carle, GMR's Vice President of Growth, outlines the value and opportunity in continually adapting to change

par India Fizer , AdForum

GMR Marketing
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Matt Carle
Vice President of Growth GMR Marketing

Utilizing science, data, and understanding, GMR takes a people-centric approach for providing impactful results. Matt Carle, GMR's Vice President of Growth, walks us through how change can provide valuable insight and expand value when leveraged properly.

When searching for growth opportunities, how do you determine what is the right fit for the agency?

At GMR, growth is born of a healthy tension between vision and focus.

Vision: We pursue likeminded clients that are excited about working with GMR to share, collaborate, cooperate, challenge, learn, evolve, and ultimately co-create the most memorable and effective work. We ‘future proof’ by remaining insatiably curious, continually investing to see and learn, and then apply that knowledge to evolve our capabilities — pushing the boundaries of our work and the industry into fresh and effective directions.

Some evaluation points:

  • Are we excited and confident in our ability to uniquely solve for the challenges that an opportunity presents?
  • Can we make a true commercial and cultural impact that goes beyond a headline or press release? 
  • Seeking to show up as people-centric, rather than just brand-centric, can we create and evolve culture rather than just respond to culture?
  • Are the opportunities purposeful to both GMR and the brand?

Focus: By saying no to numerous opportunities, we're saying yes to deploying GMR’s best and brightest to serve current and potential clients with complete devotion and excellence, which earns a confidence that results in growth.


What does exponential growth look like for your agency? For example, project work vs AOR pitches, geographic, interdisciplinary, etc.

Interdisciplinary, exponential growth with existing clients is ideal. It proves that we’re delivering valuable results and being presented with opportunities to expand the value that we’re trusted to deliver.

Our longevity with clients is an outcome of delivering excellence from the first moment, and then going deeper to uncover new ways of delivering impact, affecting culture, and influencing audiences.

GMR serves through five core disciplines – Behavioral Intelligence, Experience Design, Sensorial Technologies, Powerful Partnership and Connected Activations. It is infrequent that a client will leverage all services at once, which offers a clear opportunity to expand our value.

But also, there are times when we earn an inordinately large new client scope. We’re well practiced in leveraging GMR’s expertise, diversity, global footprint, and structure to quickly add infrastructure and serve those new opportunities that deliver a sizable burst of growth to the agency.


What are the key challenges and / or opportunities for brands in today’s marketing economy?

Today’s greatest challenge is also the greatest opportunity: UNDERSTANDING. Without it, budget is at risk of being misdirected or under-leveraged, resulting in suboptimal outcomes. With it, insightful and effective strategies can be developed, implemented, monitored, and enhanced throughout the campaign’s lifespan, resulting in commercially and culturally impactful outcomes.

If our memories are a string of lights, sensory immersion, contextual relevance, and intensity of engagement determine which bulbs burn brightest. GMR stays on the bleeding edge of the science around this String of Lights Effect® by continuously collecting data on how consumers experience brand activations of every shape and size.

"String of Lights" GMR Marketing

In 2022, GMR measured hundreds of brand executions across sporting, music, and cultural events from both the consumer and marketer perspectives. The outcomes inform our GMR Brand Experience Index® and allow us to understand how activation characteristics contribute to memory creation and influence consumer and shopper choices.

As we design brand experiences for our clients, we apply data science tools and practices to this data and leverage the resulting insights to fine-tune our strategic and tactical choices. We call it SOLE Science®.

Change often results in confusion, but through understanding, change serves as fuel for insight and opportunity.   


Given the uncertainty of the past couple of years, are there any trend predictions you have about where the ad and media industries are headed?

2023 will return to a more measured, deliberate approach. Sustained brand building will be prioritized over quick-hit sizzles that win the press release but do not continually advance the needle.

Inclusive marketing is here to stay, and purpose-driven work and influencer alignments will continue hyper growth. Diversity is a core human truth and should be reflected across campaigns and in partnerships. It is widely recognized that brands integrating DEI throughout their campaigns is a huge opportunity, but only a handful of agencies have demonstrated huge leaps in evolving organizational vantage and diversified human inputs.  GMR is leading the industry, with proof of commitment to progress outlined in our DEI Manifesto and Annual DEI report

Individuals will take a harder look at what’s important in their lives. The economy will play a major factor, but also the environment, mental health awareness, ethical consumption, active goal setting, etc.  Habits and increased levels of introspectiveness built over the past couple of years will show up in how we live our lives and how individuals respond to brands and products.