5 Questions for Mollie Spilman, CMO, Advertising.com

Mollie Spilman has a big job: She's responsible for all of Advertising.com's marketing initiatives, which run the gamut from product marketing and development to corporate communications, from market positioning and public relations to research. Spilman also helped navigate the company's transition when it was acquired by AOL two years ago. Spilman's career is a study in contrasts, a blend of new and old media: Prior to joining Advertising.com, she was national director, ad sales marketing for Discovery Networks, and vice president of affiliate sales at Phase2Media, an online rep firm. Before that, she spent nearly seven years at Time Warner's People magazine in marketing and sales development.

Now that we're halfway through 2006, what are the major highlights so far for Advertising.com?

To date, 2006 has been a banner year for Advertising.com. As the online industry evolved to support sophisticated new creative formats, we responded with the launch of a pre-roll video advertising network as well as a first-of-its-kind auto-rich media network, which supports auto-initiated formats such as floating, auto-expandable, and sound-enabled creative executions. The pre-roll network aggregates inventory from video-enabled Web sites, simplifying the process of campaign execution by consolidating ad buys and creative requirements.

Our most significant accomplishment so far this year was being selected by Apollo Group, one of the top online advertisers and education providers, to manage, monitor, and analyze online marketing efforts across the group's diverse subsidiaries.

How do you see the online publisher/ad network space evolving over the next few years?

As networks have come back into vogue, there has been a significant influx of new networks into the market, both mass and niche players. As this trend continues, there will be a forced market shift toward consolidation via mergers and acquisitions. The need for a quality ad network will also grow as the demand for rich media, video, and behavioral solutions grows.

I believe that large networks that can provide quality inventory and solutions for these complex creative formats will emerge as the biggest market players.

What are the most pressing issues in Advertising.com's business right now?

The greatest issue Advertising.com is facing is how to not only meet market demands but continue to set market trends. As we see more traditional offline advertisers coming online, we recognize the need to educate these new advertisers on the unique benefits networks can offer, including targeted reach and accountability.

Advertising.com employs some of the greatest minds in the business to help develop innovative products and solutions that will shape the future of online advertising. The challenge, however, is to ensure that we are equipped to execute on these ideas. There is a renewed focus on recruiting and retaining the best talent in our industry.

What role, if any, does a big online ad network like Advertising.com play in the broadcast and cable upfronts, since online video really is the next big opportunity?

The launch of our new pre-roll video network has afforded us the opportunity to be a major player in the broadcast and cable upfronts. A video network gives media buyers the luxury of mass reach, advanced targeting, and seamless implementation for this complex format. The ability to offer this through a guaranteed source of inventory gives us a true competitive edge during this pivotal media buying time.

If you were not working for Advertising.com, what would you most like to do?

To be perfectly honest, since my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 2, I would probably spend my time trying to find a cure for diabetes, or starting a company focused on improving the lives of diabetics.

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