In the Trenches With Julie Tsai, Director of Marketing Communications, The Wall Street Journal Online

Since MediaDailyNews' In the Trenches series originated, we've offered a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the interactive ad industry as seen through the eyes of twelve diverse players, from technology developers to design aficionados. Starting with today's profile, we've spiffed up the look of the column to make it more relevant to our readers. Today's profile subject is Julie Tsai, a triathlete who strives for excellence in both her recreational and professional life at Dow Jones & Co.'s Wall Street Journal Online.


In a true testament to the rapid transformation of publishing in the last few years, Julie's had five titles in the seven years she's worked for Dow Jones. Even more remarkable, she's managed to keep the same phone number the whole time. Starting as a graphic designer in the Journal's print marketing communications department, Julie made the leap to the in 1999 and now serves as director of marketing communications. In this role, she creates and manages the development of house ad campaigns, trade advertising efforts, and integrated sponsorship campaigns featured across Dow Jones properties including Barron's Online, StartupJournal, and OpinionJournal.

Julie was responsible for coordinating the Journal's Future of Online Advertising campaign from concept to print and the Web. The campaign featured insights from online industry players including Mark McLaughlin, who at the time was president of Interpublic Group of Cos.' FCBi, and Nick Nyhan, president of Dynamic Logic.

What are your favorite online destinations in the a.m.? I read what's in my inbox first, what gets fed to me by newsletters: MediaDaily News, OnlineJournal alerts,,, iMedia Connection, and BtoB Magazine. Because of my responsibilities in creating trade advertising and placing trade advertising, I want to know where my ads potentially would be.

What other Web sites do you like to visit? I like to go to Triathlon sites. I've been doing Triathlons for three years. ... I've done over twelve. ... The highlight was last year doing a half Ironman in Hawaii.

I get teased a lot. My coworkers will say, "Don't worry about Jules, she'll just swim there."

Does the way you approach your training influence your work? There is a strong parallel in the nature of my day-to-day responsibilities and why those skills translate to being hooked on marathons/ triathlon training and the races themselves. Both require that ever-so-slightly obsessive-compulsive person who finds a way to warrant organization, planning, and detail in everything that they come across. Marketing roles, I think any fellow marketer would agree, entail all that thankless detail.

What is the most challenging part of your job? The challenge is wanting to do all projects not just good, but produced and finished to a level of greatness. [A colleague of mine always says], "Don't let 'great' get in the way of 'good.'" It's a hard thing.

What do you like best about your job; what keeps you interested? The product and the people. Working for such a great product that is so well-respected in the marketplace has a huge impact on my day-to-day activities. ... It's like being at a fun, edgy dot-com within the safe space of an [established] publisher.

When will true media integration take place for advertisers? There's a barrage of media that's speaking towards that movement. Advertisers see that integration needs to happen. ... But the infrastructure behind that isn't set up yet at agencies so they can happily hold hands with the publisher.

What's the most divisive online policy issue right now? Rich media. Speaking from a site with a paid subscriber base, we're more sensitive to the more blatant rich media that crosses over too far into content and user tolerance. But we also struggle with wanting to accept it because advertisers want to use it.

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