James McDermott of Lytics

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with James McDermott, the co-founder and CEO of Lytics, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Lytics – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Lytics was born amidst a growing crisis in digital marketing, as personalized experiences became a necessity, not just a goal for many organizations fighting to stay relevant and interesting for their customers. I met my co-founder, Aaron Raddon, at Webtrends, a Portland, Oregon based analytics and optimization company. He was running research and development and I was running business development. While interviewing customers, we learned that they were all having similar problems around wanting to use the data they were collecting to run campaigns based on an individual’s behavior and interests. Traditional analytics tools aggregate data for reporting and the companies we talked to wanted to create personalized experiences using the data they had about customers’ interests and activities. That was the beginning of customer data platforms (CDP). We wanted to build a customer profile with online and offline data so marketers could use that aggregated view to deliver personalized experiences. We recognized a huge opportunity in the market to deliver a new kind of data platform that marketers could use to derive insights about people and then execute individualized or personalized marketing campaigns at scale.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

We knew we had to invest in machine learning from the start as the insights and the prescriptive recommendations we provide would be our differentiator, which was a lot of work. Also, focusing on integrations to improve usability for marketers was key. The upside of investing from the beginning is that Lytics has been built from the ground up to help marketers deliver better user experiences to increasingly demanding consumer audiences.

What does the future hold for Lytics?

Customer expectations around brand engagement and experiences are different now, and Lytics is constantly evolving so that we are building for the future. The MarTech stack is changing and businesses are moving to a best-in-breed environment, so it’s critical we continue to provide the most complete view of the customer while providing insights and prescriptive recommendations that allow the marketer to focus on what they do best – creating personalized experiences that allow customers to meet their objectives.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Portland?

We are proud to be a part of a growing entrepreneurial area like Portland, and we are grateful for the consistent inspiration and support that this innovation-focused community provides.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

The most important thing is to identify the problem you are trying to solve, and deeply understand it before creating a business around it. Start with the problem and then build the solution.


For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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