American Greetings SVP Alessi Discusses Digital Media Strategy And New Lotame Partnership

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Lotame announced on Wednesday that it has launched a self-serve audience data management platform (DMP) called "Crowd Control (which) enables web publishers to create custom audiences, to directly license anonymous audience data for use in interest-based advertising, and to protect the privacy of their site visitors." Also, Lotame announced that American Greetings Interactive will use Crowd Control for American Greetings network of websites to help provide insights into audience buying opportunities. Read the release.

Steve Alessi, vp advertising sales & operations, American Greetings, discussed his company's digital initiatives and his company's new partnership with Lotame.

AdExchanger.com: Can you provide a little background on your responsibilities at American Greetings?

I am responsible for the Advertising Sales and Operations across American Greetings Interactive network of sites as well as any potential offline advertising integration. Our core sites include AmericanGreetings.com, BlueMountain.com, Egreetings.com, Yahoo! Greetings, MSN Greetings, Webshots.com and AGKidzone.com. My team’s role is to create new innovative advertising opportunities while constantly evolving the custom products and services we provide in order to deliver the highest value to both our advertisers and our consumers.

What is the scope and importance of AG's digital initiatives in the overall marketing mix? And, where does the use of data and data-driven display fit in?

We are over a billion dollar offline company but digital still plays a very large role in our business and in advertising specifically it plays an extremely large role. As of today the majority of our advertising revenue is generated by creating first-class, custom content for our advertisers that is directly integrated into the core fabric of our sites. This combined with targeted media creates strong value for our partners. Since our ecard sites have a very targeted demographic of women (70%) we are already able to provide excellent reach to the core consumer of our advertisers. That said, I see data-driven display as a way for us to segment even further and access the tighter niche audiences that we know we have on our sites. This will give us the opportunity to provide valuable targeting to our advertisers in a safe environment where consumers are in a positive mindset and looking to engage and connect with friends and family.

What is the biggest pain point for you as a digital publisher today as it relates to yield management?

The ability to identify and attract very specific audience segments to our sites and to our diverse content, and to improve engagement so we can increase the value we provide our partners, thus acquiring larger partnership budgets.

What were the criteria you used at AG to evaluate Lotame's data management platform?

Interface “ease of use”, more in-depth data and options, customer service and trust. Extremely important to us is that not only is the owner and team at Lotame trusted partners, but that they are also soliciting our feedback as one of their flagship partners so we have the opportunity to really shape the next steps of what ad data can become and together mutually benefitting us all from the voyage.

A year from now, what results are you expecting from Lotame's platform?

I am expecting that the Lotame platform provides us the ability to provide our advertisers brand new audience segments for them to communicate with, even higher performance for the media and custom campaigns they run with us, provides a better experience for our site visitors, and enable us to maximize the true value our inventory through increased CPM’s and efficiency.

By John Ebbert

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