Programmatic Selling To 50M Women: Speaking With Meredith VP Chip Schenck

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chip-schenck-meredithMeredith Corp., the publisher of magazine brands such as Ladies' Home Journal, Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, knows how to talk to women.

With more than 18 titles, 100 special-interest publications and a digital audience of 50 million monthly visitors, the company is well-positioned to create unique marketing programs that engage its large audience. It even has its own in-house agency, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, to come up with creative marketing solutions.

AdExchanger talked to Chip Schenck, Meredith’s newly appointed VP of programmatic sales and strategy, about how Meredith will dig deeper into its databases to reach more consumers thorough programmatic selling.

AdExchanger: How do print and digital marketing efforts blend in a large publishing company like Meredith? 

CHIP SCHENCK: Meredith doesn’t think like a print company. It always looks forward, and it must. No media company can sit still in such a fast-changing environment. There’s a tremendous amount of internal communication, and I see strong partnerships among our brands and between the digital and print teams. That’s important because the legacy print business continues to have a huge impact on our data. We can really tap into the value of that legacy component.

Is programmatic selling something new for Meredith?

Meredith has been working with Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange for a couple of years, and the company recognizes that programmatic is here to stay, so now it’s about how to leverage programmatic to offer our clients more complete solutions. When you look at programmatic as a tool to find the right audiences at scale, it can become a really valuable part of any brand’s marketing efforts.

Will you bring in other sell-side platform partners?

We’ll be announcing another partner pretty soon, and we’ll be doing lots of testing and learning because that’s so important in this environment. Different partners will have different purposes but with one common concern: Can they help our long-term strategy?

How can you leverage such a huge database of engaged female consumers?

We have an excellent unified consumer view. It’s a unique way to look at customized slivers of how a consumer behaves in certain parts of her life, whether it’s something like planning a meal all the way through to her post-purchase behavior. It’s a great asset we look forward to bringing to our customers

You’ve been at this for more than 20 years, much of that time at American Express Publishing. What did you learn there that you can bring to your new position?

A focus on the future. At American Express, the first thought when building a database was always to recognize that there would be lots of different ways we could use it in the future, and therefore we should set it up accordingly. What could its potential be going forward? Meredith shares that vision.

As you settle into your new role, what will you do first?

My job has three parts. It’s strategy, with a lot of testing and learning; selling, which means supporting the sales team; and then scaling, which is getting whole organization to start thinking and selling programmatically over a period of time. I don’t subscribe to Tim Armstrong’s “barbell” theory of separating programmatic from other parts of sales and marketing. My goal is to educate our existing sales team to bring complete solutions to customers. That is absolutely the way we want to come to market because even if customers aren’t buying that way yet, unified strategies are the way of the future.

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