Stéphane Pere is the Vice President – Head of Ideas People Media, a business unit of The Economist Group. Stéphane has had a diverse career in the ad industry, having managed online display advertising for Yahoo!, headed up a TV and Print network for Canal+, and worked with Bloomberg Television in international ad sales. We recently spoke with Stéphane about his experience and his current role.
The Makegood: Stéphane, before beginning to work digital media in 2005 at Yahoo! you were working in TV and Print. What was it like to make the change from traditional to digital?
SP: I was hired at Yahoo! for my media background and ironically my lack of knowledge of online. My role was to position Online to advertisers as media. I was clearly not familiar with online and therefore knew nothing about pixels, ad serving, rich media, CPC, e-commerce. I came with a fresh perspective.
TV and Print taught me to talk about reach, repeat, GRP, awareness, image, memorization, brand association etc. At the time, digital was strongly performance driven. It was mostly a lower funnel marketing tactic. As a result, points of contact at advertisers were often at the Sales/CRM level not Communication/media. It was really exciting to have to convince marketers about the importance of digital in the media mix, and the opportunity to build brand awareness, image and consideration online.
The Makegood: Currently, you are the Vice President, Head of Ideas People Media at the Economist Group. Can you tell us about your role?
SP: I moved from Paris to New York in July 2010 in order to launch this new digital business: Ideas People Media.
In the very early stage (3 month) my role has been to position the offer, determine the appropriate structure as well as hire the team; and with them recruit publishers, select the technology vendors, elaborate workflows as well as products and rates. This was the launch phase.
The second phase has been to make sure the team does focus on generating sales, appropriately convey the value proposition of our offering to the advertisers and keep close to the original strategic vision. This was the “proof of concept” phase. Now that we have close to 60 advertisers my role is to ensure growth (through global expansion as well as new products) as well as team, publisher and advertiser retention.
Less than two years later we are now a team of 11 operating in U.S and U.K.
The Makegood: Ideas People Media is a vertical network of 50+ online destinations that focuses on topics on business, globalization, innovation and culture that was launched in Q4 of 2010. Can you tell us what it is all about and why it was launched?
SP: It all began with an audience study conducted by The Economist. We discovered that what readers have in common is not their demographics but their mind – the way they think. They are intensely curious, highly opinionated and influential. They think and act globally.
We call them Ideas People. They are passionate about Business, Globalization, Innovation and Culture.
The Economist is one of their favorite online destinations but not the only one. When we sourced these favorite sources of opinion, we realized we had the opportunity to build an alternative in the ad network space: an ultra premium alliance of like-minded publications.
Ideas People Channel was launched on 27th October 2010 to enable advertisers to reach a curious, opinionated and influential audience at scale.
We accomplished this by asking our readers to list their favorite web sites and recruited these award-winning publications into a vertical network centered on the Ideas People Mindset.
We cover all touch points with our audience: on site (display and video pre-roll), on mobile and in-app.
This unique blend of award-winning and influential publications allows advertisers to deploy their online branding campaigns in a transparent select editorial environment.
Our current reach is 25 million Ideas People in the US and 40 million globally.
The Makegood: Ideas Media People was born out of the concept that Economist readers share a mindset, rather than demographic. How do you translate this offering to advertisers, who are often used to buying based on demos?
SP: Everyone is talking about buying “audience” today so that is not a challenge. But rather than defining audience as anonymous cookies, our influential audience is defined by their mindset. Marketers should not forget that editorial relevance and quality should be core to any audience buy. Obviously cookies are not readers and context does mater. Audience is defined as readers engaging with content.
Ideas People Media audience brings together mindset and editorial context.
Yes – advertisers are used to buying based on demos. Yet, for branding tactics, they plan their audience-buy combining not only demographic (age, gender etc) but psychographic (mindset, propensity), social (connections and Influence) as well as contextual (relevant content) elements.
About the mindset: “ideas people” are curious, authoritative, opinionated, and influential members of society. This mindset is attractive to brand advertisers as Ideas People’s interest in gathering and sharing ideas make them brand amplifiers whose sphere of influence is so strong that they quickly add a positive charge to advertising messages and accelerate them through their social network.
About the editorial context: Ideas People Media is built on the idea that curious, opinionated and influential people are attracted to a defined set of premier publishers. We provide a full transparent set of publishers and a well lit editorial environment to advertisers.
More over, advertisers can evaluate the demo of our audience trough our custom entity in ComScore and @Plan. Advertisers are not surprised to discover that these individuals represent both influence and affluence combined (purchase and business decision power).
The Makegood: Thanks, Stéphane.