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AOL Welcomes a Head of Strategic Partnerships

unnamed-27 Kim Kadlec is currently the Head of Strategic Partnerships at AOL, a multinational mass media corporation. Prior to joining AOL, Kim was Vice President, Branded Entertainment with NBC Universal, and more recently a global strategist at Johnson and Johnson. The Makegood recently spoke with Kim about her new position.

The Makegood: You recently joined the AOL team as Head of Strategic Partnerships, a newly created role. What does this role entail, and what was the need behind the creation of this role?

There are three ways for a company to grow:  Build, Buy, or Partner.  My role at AOL is focused on partnering for growth.  This entails fully understanding all that AOL has to offer across its diverse portfolio and being able to identify partner companies that compliment that portfolio in a way that makes 1+1=6.  Whether the partnership addresses a current gap, an unmet consumer need, or a new level of thought leadership in the industry, a great synergy between two companies can lead to unprecedented growth potential.

The Makegood: Your experience stretches over several different backgrounds. Could you elaborate on your past experiences, and how your schooling plays a role in your creativity?

I have always been a big believer in cross-training.  It gives a person a unique perspective from different vantage points.  A person who can understand and navigate across a diverse set of agendas, expectations, and outcomes will be able to achieve greater alignment across a broader set of teams and achieve more.  Experience in the agency, media owner, and manufacturing/marketing sides of the industry will serve me well in helping to build a more meaningful and transformative partner roster AOL.

The Makegood: How have you helped AOL grow thus far? What has your role provided for the company?

In the 12 weeks I have been at AOL, I have had over 100 external meetings and at least that many internally as well.  It is clear that there is a growing curiosity about where AOL is headed, and a recognition that what AOL set out to do five years ago was not only visionary, but is now coming to fruition.  We are ahead of the marketplace in ad technology, content development, and digital sales capability.  As a result AOL is a very attractive company to partner with.  We will now have to make some very thoughtful and strategic decisions about how to partner, and who to partner with to ensure we make maximum impact.  My role moving forward will be to ensure we are smart and quick.

The Makegood: Could you discuss your updated version of the “4 P’s” of marketing, and how you came up with them? Why do you believe these updated 4 P’s are more relevant?

The new P’s of Marketing reflect the digital age. Products are still paramount, and the new P’s:  Purpose, Proximity, Presence and Partnership are a framework for marketers to establish deeper engagement throughout the purchase cycle.  Consumers have the opportunity to research, compare, and learn about products on their computers and phones, and through social media/word of mouth.  The path to purchase has fundamentally changed, and marketers need to think differently to be effective.  Instead of seeing technology as disruptive, successful marketers see it as a gift that keeps on giving.

The Makegood: How do your positions on advertising boards help you in your role at AOL? What do you see in your future at AOL? 

Board positions in any industry give professionals the opportunity to share ideas, questions, and insights with peers.  It keeps you fresh, and on a steep learning curve, and creates meaningful relationships that seed future partnerships.  My future at AOL could take on many shapes, but in representing the many assets of AOL my goal is to position the company as the best partner on the planet.

The Makegood: Thank you, Kim.

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