Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Position: Vice President of Marketing & Audience
Joined Statesman Media: June 2003
School and Degree: University of Texas at Austin – Bachelors of Arts in History
Favorite month in Austin: May
How did you get started in Marketing?
I was the managing editor of my high school paper. At UT, I was a history major and interned at Texas Monthly and in Washington DC for a US Senator. After college, I was looking for a new adventure and I ended moving to New York where I began working as a Development Associate for the American Museum of Natural History and later as a Special Events Coordinator for AdWeek Magazines. I loved New York living but felt the ties of Texas calling me back! I started working at the Dallas Morning News as a Co-op Specialist in 2002, but during a visit to Austin, I fell in love with the city again and actually met my future husband! That’s when I started working at the Statesman as a Special Projects Coordinator in Circulation. It’s been an exciting ride from there moving up to my current role as Vice President of Marketing and Audience.
What are some of the biggest challenges working for a newspaper in the 21st century?
I think the biggest challenge would have to be maintaining the legacy business while keeping an eye on the digital future. This is also something I’m incredibly passionate about. It’s really an amazing opportunity to be a part of the transformation of a business with such a rich history. The needs of newer audiences are changing, and we can’t neglect the loyalty and commitment we have to our traditional audience.
The Austin American-Statesman has a strong presence and relevance in Austin. What do you think drives that?
We’ve remained the largest media brand in Austin and have a huge amount of brand awareness. We know the city and engage with the community, and we reach new audiences through media “window-shoppers”. These consumers may not be 100% loyal to our brand and interact with it on a daily basis, but they’ll consume our content periodically and that area of our business is growing every single day. Through channels like social media and search, we’ve been able to generate a great deal of side-door traffic, which extends our brand beyond what we could’ve done with print alone.
Marketing to an audience to grow readership seems to have different strategies and goals compared to traditional marketing that perhaps a brick-and-mortar would employ. How do you feel they compare?
Yes and no. At the heart of any marketing plan is a desire to reach the largest audience in order to generate a connection between products and users and then translate those audience members to paying and loyal consumers. We try to move prospects down the buying cycle just the same way someone like Sue Patrick or Precision Camera would.
You’ve had a lot of positions and responsibilities at the Statesman. What have been some of the pivotal moments of your career?
Launching the paid digital brand extension in 2012 was one of the biggest milestones of my career. Along with the paid ePaper and premium website, MyStatesman.com, came a need to standardize a lot of strategies such as transferring the call center, analytics and purchase path from local operations to a shared service platform across Cox Media Group newspapers. We really began leveraging our corporate resources to achieve better efficiencies and improve our products and services for our consumers. Managing that transition was a really challenging, growing and rewarding experience for me…and set us on a successful path towards our digital future.
How do you feel the local media audience has changed in the last 10 years, and what do you think it will look like 10 years from today?
10 years ago we focused mostly on print. We started to introduce products to focus on a younger, non-traditional audience, and that will continue to get stronger as we focus on our digital offerings. I definitely think in 10 years our audience and impact on the community will be much bigger as we continue to grow with the city. I think the Statesman is on the brink of tremendous growth, and it’s a very exciting time here. We’ll continue to have a huge impact on the Austin community, be it through our content, special events like the Statesman Capitol 10K, or community partnerships.
How much do you feel an Audience Department shapes the audience versus being shaped by the audience?
At the Statesman, we try really hard to meet our audience where they are. We analyze demographics and think about where these cohorts will be in years to come. The relationship we have with consumers is incredibly strong. We’re no longer telling readers what we think they need to know, we’re understanding what they want and delivering that.
Not only are you one of the Statesman’s top decision-makers, you have a beautiful family! Tell us about them.
Most definitely! As I mentioned, I met my husband here in Austin, and we’ve been married 12 years. We have 2 little boys – a 5-year old and 7-year, old and Gonzo is our beloved furry family member. My family is so important to me and I know I couldn’t be my best at work without all their support!