Kristine Welker and Hearst Build a Cross Platform Future

Kristine Welker is the Chief Revenue Officer for Hearst Digital. We spoke with her recently about her background and how Hearst Digital is preparing for the future.

The Makegood: Kristine, in 1999 you began working on CosmoGIRL!, a magazine that was at the forefront of digital. What was it like to be working on, what was at the time “new media,” at a company that has its roots in traditional media?

That is quite a walk down memory lane. CosmoGIRL! was the first magazine to launch with a website simultaneously, which is now considered standard operating and the site predated standard ad units, video, broadband and we updated the site monthly.

Speaking to teens always kept us  at the forefront and CosmoGIRL! Was one of the first magazine brands to venture into the mobile space which at the time was only about texting . In fact we launched shop text in the u.s. with the first shoppable issue, which at the time was considered big news!

The Makegood: As Chief Revenue Officer at Hearst Digital Media, you oversee the digital sales and marketing departments. What does your role entail?

As the CRO I am responsible for marketing and monetizing a diverse portfolio of 25+ digital properties that span across multiple audiences and platforms. We focus a lot on keeping Hearst at the forefront in providing innovative solutions and results driven opportunities for our advertising partners. We have a mantra that it is not just about winning but performing so my role includes leading a team that is fully integrated from digital sales through digital operations.

The Makegood: Hearst Digital has partnered with a number of ad tech startups like Pictela, Luminate and others over the past few years. Why is that a good strategy for Hearst?

Advertising is about bringing brands to life and continually engaging our loyal and growing audiences.  The lines that once defined publishers and clients are softening, clients see themselves as brands as publishers and we are publishers of great brands so platforms like Pictela and Luminate enable us to create content rich brand experiences in way that is seamless and scalable.

The Makegood: eMarketer has predicted that US digital advertising spend on magazines is expected to grow 19% in 2012. What would you say is driving this significant growth in digital ad spend on magazines?

What is driving our digital growth is the ability to provide what  we call the power of brand at scale. Advertisers can go deep within a brand like cosmopolitan with highly integrated cross platform opportunities that include digital, mobile and social while also being able to scale across audience – men, women and teen.  By having such a flexible platform Hearst is able to deliver on many levels which is driving greater results.

The Makegood: What can marketers expect to see coming from Hearst Digital Media in 2012?

As we look forward, content is no longer consumed on desktop alone – the growing influence of social and mobile web is changing how we think, what we deliver, and in what form. The idea we can publish content and advertising and push it out there expecting results is not realistic.  We have become more adept at responding in real time to serve interests not just impressions, marketers can expect to see from Hearst how content and advertising are working together to be device agnostic and optimized based on relevancy and interest.

Two big initiatives that will be completed in Q2 include the conversion of all our sites to HTML5 so content will be seamless cross platform and new products that leverage our data more effectively to give advertisers the opportunity to not just dynamically serve advertising but in the context of dynamically tailored and targeted content down to specific interests of the consumer.

The Makegood: Thanks, Kristine.