Talking About the Power of Local Media with Tomorrow's Leaders

It was a day for the "rising stars" recently as Comcast Spotlight teamed with AdWeek to present the first Young Executive Lab in New York City. About 100 of the best and brightest young media industry professionals, selected by their firms' senior management teams, gathered to hear from a cross-section of veteran industry leaders and take part in a hands-on activity to put what they learned to work.
 
The day began with a keynote from Donna Speciale of MediaVest. Donna's advice to the audiences something virtually everyone, and every business, can take to heart: always be "in beta"--that is, constantly be evolving and changing to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the world around you and don't limit yourself by how things have been done in the past. As she noted, those with the most agility and fearlessness are those that succeed (which seems to be true in many businesses).
 
The day's underlying theme was "the power of local," and Donna reminded the audience of that through examples of cities that may be geographically close, but have very different demographics and economic conditions.
 
In fact, she noted that there are more than 300 distinct regions in the country, more than the number of Nielsen DMAs, or designated market areas. However, as Spotlight's Bob Ivins, Vice President of Data and Research outlined during a later panel discussion, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Cable television serves several thousand zones, which can be mixed and matched to reach any advertiser's specific needs, from the family-owned diner down the street to a national consumer goods manufacturer looking to focus its marketing on the five or ten percent of the country where the highest concentrations of ideal customers are located.
 
 A panel of industry leaders discuss the “future of media buying.”
 
In the afternoon, the attendees split into groups to develop local media plans reaching specific audience segments—for instance, "tween" girls or a middle-aged suburban couple—to boost sales for a fun novelty product. The teams raced the clock to flesh out their plans, which they later presented in a good-natured competition style format.
 
 

Project teams at the Young Executive Lab working on their presentations.
 
All of the teams in the media plan challenge did a remarkable job of developing detailed strategies and presentations in just 90 minutes, and all emphasized the power of local media on multiple platforms. The ultimate winning team put together a creative and data-based plan to reach new mothers living in an urban setting, and we thank the AdWeek staff for putting together a unique and informative day for many of the ad industry's future leaders.
 
One final note: I'm wondering if any of the attendees took this taxi—which happened to be parked outside the hotel where the meeting was held—to their next destination:

 
Hopefully one of them did. Why? Because that’s no ordinary taxi, it's actually Discovery’s Cash Cab.