Jim joined the Geopath Board of Directors in 2017, and we are incredibly grateful for his time, his expertise, and his dedication to the industry.
Tell us a little bit about Stott Outdoor.
Stott Outdoor Advertising is an outdoor advertising company founded in 1949 and operated by the founder until 1991, at which time myself and a group of partners purchased the company. At the time of the sale, we were a very small company, operating in one county. We’ve expanded since, and today we operate traditional out-of-home advertising structures in 27 California counties and four counties in northern Nevada. We are also engaged in the transit advertising business, operating 11 West Coast transit markets. We employ 31 people. We’re independently owned and headquartered in Chico, California.
How did you get into the out-of-home business?
I was in the advertising business on the radio side out of college. I had become the general manager of a small-market radio station. At that time, in the 1980s, there was a lot of volatility in the radio business. Companies were being bought and sold, and there were lots of mergers and consolidations. I had always noticed outdoor advertising and felt there was tremendous value there. To get away from the volatility in radio, I answered an ad and started selling outdoor advertising. Over the years, I worked my way up to sales manager and just kept working my way up the ladder.
As we are now at the start of a new year, what do you see as some of the key opportunities and challenges for the OOH industry?
We have a tremendous opportunity due to the decline of other traditional media. We are the medium that is real and visual. It’s something that people can reach out and see. It’s not on their computer screen or their mobile device. It’s in their environment. I think that’s a tremendous advantage, and we, as an industry, need to continue to capitalize on it and move toward being a core medium. In terms of challenges, we are always faced with regulatory and legislative challenges. I don’t see anything out there specifically right now either in any of our individual markets or nationally, but I believe that inevitably they’re going to come. It’s important to be well prepared, as an industry, to deal with those issues as they arise.
Talk about your engagement with Geopath Ratings. How does being a Geopath member impact your business?
The primary way we use Geopath ratings is accessing reach, frequency and impressions data. With Geopath data, we are able to provide our advertisers with a sense of validation for the decisions they’re making. We often use reach and frequency data after the sale has been made, so we’re able to present numerical information to the customers to help them feel good about their investment. I’m definitely looking forward to the launch of the Insights Suite, as I think it has the potential to be a real game changer for our industry, providing companies like Stott with additional data that is going to help our current advertisers validate the decision they’ve made, increase the investments they’re making in out-of-home while also bringing new advertisers on board.
What would you say makes for a highly effective and impactful out-of-home campaign?
It always comes down to concise, clear and simple copy. The message needs to be boiled down to something that is very clear, concise and simple. A campaign can run in a lot of great locations and be viewed by many qualified users of their product. If however, the message doesn’t have impact, it simply isn’t going to be effective.