How directors master their domain

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It can be overwhelming for directors to get their arms around the market while managing a media department. What strategies help you manage the world of information from various vendors and fully comprehend the marketplace?

Lisa Ingersoll
Managing director
Ingersoll Media Consulting

Media is a meeting place between brands and customers; both are highly dynamic. In addition, media itself is constantly changing. Publications at the top of everyone's plan yesterday are suddenly anemic today. New media emerge. It's critical to stay current with the brand, as well as the media matrix. Directors must work closely with agency account people and clients. We must attend meetings and participate in the brand discussion. We need to stay informed on media options by networking, listening to publishers' presentations, and reading industry publications and attending industry meetings. We need to find out what's happening in the world beyond pharma media. Viral, event, experience and mobile marketing may never be chosen for the next brand on the market, but that knowledge may lead somewhere else. It may provide an edge in an increasingly crowded and competitive market.

Robert Enos
Media director

The best resource for directors is their staff, offering multiple sets of eyes, ears, hands and minds which are exposed to industry resources daily. Elevating each member to a level of expected, equal contribution to a collective database helps sustain info flow. Assigning areas of investigation based on individual as well as group developmental needs will help staff prioritize their efforts and avoid duplication. Some best practice suggestions are: 1) having staff take turns attending lunch-and-learn sessions or industry events followed by writing contact reports with application statements that can be shared; 2) scheduling regular department meetings where individuals can share insights; and 3) creating a database, assigning every investigated vehicle key attribute for easy sorting and cross-reference.

Amy Levinson
VP, group media director

Running a media department requires staying abreast of new media, new channels and new ways of breaking through the clutter. Given the rapid evolution of these channels, this cannot be accomplished by occasionally reading a newsletter or research report; it's a daily undertaking. Only with this effort can a media leader provide optimal recommendations. As channels evolve, it's simpler to define my job to my clients: “If you can put an ad on it, in it or around it, it falls under my domain.” Traditional print vendors are asked to quickly hit the highlights and leave time to discuss what's emerging. Even though they have been expanding into new territory, given where I believe the future of our industry is headed I spend most of my time meeting with e-business vendors. This is where you can get creative and develop cutting-edge, strategic programs with high potential brand benefit.

Ray Rotolo
Managing director
Target: Health

Keeping ahead of the curve is the lifeblood of our organization. I have weekly staff meetings to get a feel for what is going on in the day-to-day and take a pulse on our business and staff. You need to be connected with everyone in your organization; it's too important not to. I get in early to scour the trade and business press online and read the more important blogs. They are great to get a sense for the buzz. It also helps me to understand the prevailing economics in the industry which gives me the important road signs. I am also a firm believer in the old-fashioned; I pick up the phone and talk with our media partners and clients to hear first hand what the future holds and I encourage all our staff to do the same.

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