Chris Paquette is a technologist and innovator who serves as CEO and Co-founder of DeepIntent, an AI-powered marketing platform. With a background in machine learning-based systems, Chris built DeepIntent with the mission to become an efficient programmatic marketplace in the industry with AI at its core. DeepIntent is headquartered in New York City. Previously, Chris applied natural language processing and AI technologies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center through textual analysis of medical records, exposing correlations in certain diseases and outcomes. Since the start of his career, Chris has approached complex domains through a creative lense, designing technical solutions with far-reaching impact. Most recently, Chris led his team at DeepIntent to an acquisition by Propel Media, within a year of the company's inception.
How did you get into the industry?
I worked in search advertising for my first job out of college and became familiar with the industry that way. I was part of a small data science team that built the algorithmic bidder for the company. After I left, I went to work at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where I helped build out the Data Science team. We focused on building algorithms that analyzed text within patient medical records and aimed to predict outcomes and identify patients at high risk of surgical site infections. Inevitably, this experience made me think of the applications back in advertising of understanding patterns in text and linking it back to “performance.” DeepIntent was inspired by the work we did in healthcare.
Any emerging industry trends?
What we see happening, like many others in the industry are predicting, is a convergence of martech and adtech. It’s quickly becoming impossible to talk about one without talking about the other. Conversations and topics related to this are identify graphs, data onboarding, 1:1 deterministic audiences, personalized messaging, all together comprising what we call Intelligent Programmatic, which DeepIntent is building.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
For programmatic teams, it’s been a challenge to find value in building highly niche audience segments for two reasons: first is scalability, and second is that niche audiences require a lot of human effort and a level of knowledge and transparency into marketing data sets that simply doesn’t exist in the ecosystem. Many ad ops teams are used to simply checking boxes off and buying data sets from third parties without asking questions about the fidelity and quality of the data. We think this is a big problem. Additionally, when you begin to layer many datasets together from multiple data sources, there’s significant loss in scale due to issues with the process of cookie matching. (Typically DSPs can only match 30% of their data).
Since DeepIntent built a holistic, integrated programmatic stack (an AI + Data Management Platform + Demand Side Platform all in one), we develop interest profiles primarily from our own first party data (and only when absolutely needed we can combine it with second, and third-party data) to build highly niche, complex audiences with a few keystrokes on our platform. We have a 100% match rate with our own DMP, which means we have the maximum amount of reach on these audiences.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
As we are engineers by trade, DeepIntent’s founding team sat in a unique position to see the technical and business challenges to building what is ultimately a marketing platform combined with a DSP - the first platform that truly integrates the most advanced marketing and advertising technologies and practices. Our platform can source data from CRMs, email lists and then enrich the data set with our own first party interests/affinity data in addition with third party datasets. We use our data to build highly granular look-a-like audiences in order to expand upon these known customers and add additional scale and reach.
For those advertisers who have an idea of their customer persona(s), we can easily translate these personas into programmatically targetable audiences. This is because our AI can understand up to 30 million individual concepts and sentiments, so DeepIntent can get very specific when building very complex audiences that represent varying levels of detail in their personas. For example, we can target users who are interested in specific car models and place considerable interest in fuel economies.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Our company is growing 30% month over month and, having been acquired only 15 months after we first entered the market, we have plenty of resources to support hiring and building our vision of an integrated platform. We’re directing considerable resources to our data science team and investing heavily in natural language processing and computer vision as our core data sets.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
We’ve invested considerably in building the various components of programmatic media buying, which has given us a unique position to work with partners in numerous ways with our data and media buying. We maintain a global vision that focuses heavily on the client’s needs and building a platform that is intuitive and simple to use.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
Organization charts don’t exist for early stage companies because everyone needs to play multiple roles and be an expert in multiple areas of the business all at once. Businesses are complex systems that are composed of many team members, all of whom have varying types of personalities, strengths and weaknesses. There are times when we’ve had the mirror held to us that’s forced us to evaluate ways we can be better. For any company going through a period of high growth, it’s vital that the CEO and management can construct an environment that allows employees to self-learn and self-organize in a way that’s maximally productive to the mission of delivering value for our clients.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
At DeepIntent, we deliver frictionless service. Our goal is that our services are delivered without stress and our customers find delight in the simplicity of working with DeepIntent.
How do you motivate others?
I’ve always maintained that the easiest way to earn motivation is to build an environment that correctly aligns talent with projects and roles that challenge and force people to learn new skills. When combined with keeping members of the team as close to the client as possible, the team at DeepIntent sees their own growth and the value of their work reflected in the value they’re delivering daily to our clients.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Never settle; always keep learning. If you’re in sales, expose yourself to the tech side. If you’re in tech, learn what motivates the clients. You can always apply learnings from various parts of the business to your current role.