Microsoft’s Keith Lorizio on Being a Trusted Advisor

Keith Lorizio is the Vice President, U.S. Sales and Marketing for Microsoft Advertising. He has over two decades of media sales and management experience and has spent the last decade working in digital. Keith joined Microsoft from Yahoo! in 2006 where he was Vice President of Sales.

The Makegood: Keith, how has media sales evolved since you started? 

KL: Being an expert on your customer has never been more important. Twenty years ago knowing your product was the default approach to media sales, and it worked most of the time. With the fragmentation of media and, quite frankly, the marketing discipline overall due to digital, customers now need a trusted advisor—someone to maximize the full potential of what digital has to offer. The best trusted advisors not only know their customer, but are highly creative marketers, astute in analytics, and “get” how the whole media ecosystem works, including offline channels. We cultivate these skills universally in our organization in order to outpace competition.

The Makegood: As the VP, US Sales and Marketing you are responsible for managing sales and support. Can you tell us about the role? Where does it begin and end?

KL: It’s interesting you ask me where it begins and ends, because I see it is a virtuous circle. The circle starts with ensuring that the sales and servicing of the top US agencies and advertisers is nothing less than world-class. This guiding principle drives how we design our field segmentation and account team structure, which is a key part of my role. A world-class sales and service team inherently drives revenue and customer satisfaction (two of my business commitments), so I am continually working to attract, retain and cultivate the best talent—which I know we have today!  Finally, being an internal advocate for the customer is key. I travel the country engaging with senior executives to listen and learn how we’re doing—and I ensure the feedback, trends and insights I garner are well represented in the evolution of the Microsoft Advertising product portfolio.

The Makegood: At Microsoft Advertising’s recent Digital Content NewFront in 2012, it was announced that the company will begin to sell advertising on Skype PCs and mobile devices in international markets. Can you tell us about this initiative? Are these ads expected to be rolled out to the US market?

KL: We’ve been selling advertisements on Skype both internationally and in the US for a while now, since fall of 2011. Since then, we’ve made it possible for advertisers to currently buy rich media and immersive ad opportunities across our desktop products in custom “masthead” and standard 300×250 formats as well as mobile banner ads. While Microsoft is working well with Skype to maximize the value of its offerings and to take advantage of Skype’s growth and reach, Microsoft is also constantly testing advertising to determine what works best for brands, and more importantly for consumers, in the Skype environment.

The Makegood: The Digital Content NewFront covered Microsoft Advertising’s ability to strategically target consumers over multiple devices. Are there any new initiatives planned around this?

KL: Yes, we recently announced that entertainment partners on our Xbox LIVE platform, including ESPN, CBS Interactive Properties, GameSpot, Last.fm, Manga Entertainment and MUZU.TV, have joined our existing advertising partners. With the launch of the new Xbox 360 experience in December, advertisers are able to purchase standard 15- and 30-second spots across the Xbox LIVE Run of TV Apps. With nearly 40 million active members worldwide, Xbox LIVE allows advertisers to reach a socially engaged audience on the largest screen in the house.

The Makegood: Thanks, Keith.

  • Peter Minnium

    Microsoft is a leader in helping to evolve and adopt the IAB’s new Standard Ad Unit Portfolio. As they are also a leader in cross platform media offerings, they are in a unique position to help move the whole industry forward.