Our Founders: Matt Britton, Founder and CEO of Suzy
Matt Britton is a prolific new media entrepreneur and America’s leading expert on the millennial generation, having consulted for over half of the Fortune 500 over the past two decades. Matt’s unique ability to connect the dots between the new consumer culture of today and the business trends of tomorrow is what separates him and offers unique value for his clients.
Matt’s best-selling book, titled YouthNation — which debuted at #1 on Amazon’s business book list, has created the modern-day roadmap for corporations large and small alike to approach a generation with power and influence unlike any other emerging demographic in history.
“Take the initiative. Don’t ask for permission, and if you know you can add value then you should.” — Matt Britton, Founder and CEO of Suzy
Tell us about Suzy and why you started the company?
In 2016, I joined a company named CrowdTap as its CEO. CrowdTap was a company that I had incubated while at MRY, my first company, which was acquired by Publicis Group in 2011. By 2017, the management team and I decided to rename Crowdtap as Suzy.
Through Suzy, a consumer intelligence platform, we’re able to bring the voice of real consumers directly to brands at scale and the speed of culture. Suzy helps companies like Netflix, Coca-Cola, P&G, J&J, Citibank, Verizon, Nintendo, & Nestle, among others, validate critical assumptions so they can focus on creating compelling new products, developing effective marketing strategies, and validating direct offers that increase conversion, improve path-to-purchase, and drive growth.
What’s been the most important milestone for you and the Suzy team (besides launching at SXSW in 2018)?
It’s hard to pick one milestone because there are so many, and the business is evolving every day. For example, our official launch in 2018 was a significant milestone for the team, and our first 100 customers a year later was another milestone worth noting. There are so many, as we’ve had tremendous opportunities over the past few years.
Suzy supports over 200 brands, including American Express, Chobani, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, and Starbucks. What’s your advice for securing enterprise customers efficiently?
When I think about customers, it’s important to understand how they work, find a champion internally, and sell the use cases of your product. Most importantly, the product has to deliver against the customer’s needs. Once you’ve landed the customer, you still have to keep up the relationship and grow it over time. At a high level, you focus on positioning the product, onboarding, customer success, and upselling.
You recently launched Suzy Home for in-home usage testing. Can you tell us more about this product?
Suzy Home is an opportunity for us to provide meaningful insights to our customers to meet the demands of a changing world. This is a complementary service to our Suzy product, where clients are able to follow-up on in-home usage testing with quantitative and/or qualitative testing and can then revisit the same consumers in the future for follow-up research. From conducting an unboxing to testing package appeal to journey mapping the customer experience with real consumers, Suzy Home will help brands test, validate, improve and launch new products with confidence.
Culture is important to Suzy and you were named one of Inc. Magazine’s 2021 Best Workplaces (congrats). You also made the decision to go completely virtual after COVID. How has that been working for the team?
Before COVID, we were looking for a new space, and we took the opportunity to avoid the cost of a new lease and go completely virtual. The shift has been remarkable for the team. We have accelerated our talent development beyond the core of New York. We have also made efforts to connect virtually and in-person where possible. We are now operating in 20 states, and we are looking for an office as a “tool for collaboration”.
What do you need to know before becoming an entrepreneur?
It’s hard to learn how to become an entrepreneur. You’re either an entrepreneur, or you’re not. If you’re selling baseball cards in elementary school and promoting for clubs in college, then you likely have it in your DNA. I would add that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re not an entrepreneur. Some people make significant contributions inside a company, and they are not entrepreneurs. Those contributions are important as well.
Our TVP Founders tell us there are so many lessons in entrepreneurship. What’s the biggest lesson from your Suzy journey?
I’ve learned to follow my instincts more, and I’ve had the support of my board and investors in doing so. You often know deep down inside when you’re making the right decision, and I’ve learned to listen to that voice without second-guessing myself.
What’s your advice on what an entrepreneur should look for in an investor?
There should be alignment on what an investor expects from the company. You should discuss the timeline for selling the company, a shared vision, and establish mutual trust early on. This will serve you throughout your relationship.
How do you deal with failure or setbacks as you build a startup?
You learn from your failures and mistakes and learn not to make the same mistake again. Ideally, you want to understand whether the issue was unavoidable versus something that occurred as a result of flawed decision-making.
How do you balance being a CEO with everything else in your life?
Everyone defines balance differently. I find it best to understand your macro goals and supporting goals. After you’ve determined what those are, you have to be intentional about everything you do. This is how balance becomes easier because you prioritize everything with that understanding.