About PMD Media
PMD is one of the leaders in targeted OOH because of our ability to be everywhere our clients want to be. We get our clients seen where people live and work, with hyper-targeted outdoor advertising and digital integration. Our storefront billboards are seen in ubiquity across the U.S., in center-cities, but also outside of midtowns, in places where other outdoor options are scarce. My role in the company is to be the leading voice and cheerleader. I want PMD Media to continue to innovate and break the rules in the outdoor advertising industry. For too long, the OOH space has been “poles in the ground,” where the big firms tell their clients where they are, take it or leave it. With PMD Media, we ask our clients where they want to be seen. It’s a paradigm shift.
Dean Stallone, CEO of PMD Media
The beginning of PMD Media
The PMD origin story doesn’t start in a basement or a garage, but rather an NYU dorm room in 1991. My very first client was the Grateful Dead. They were visiting NYC for a nine-show stint and needed their fans to know that Madison Square Garden had just become a non-smoking venue. In other words, tell all the Deadheads they can’t smoke pot. Fast-forward 28 years – PMD Media is now working for cannabis brands, telling people it’s okay to smoke pot.
How to “reach people where other outdoor can’t”
PMD Media’s value proposition, “Reach people where other outdoor can’t,” is unique in that we’re not limited by real estate – we can operate wherever there’s an independent storefront. The most successful locations for us are the places where creative and messaging are not common. Consumers are used to seeing healthcare advertisements on TV, not on posters in storefronts. So, when we can showcase healthcare or other verticals in a unique way, it really sets our clients apart.
How is technology and programmatic shifting the OOH industry?
Programmatic in DOOH is super-exciting. It’s going to do for digital screens exactly what traditional programmatic did online – create automated, data-driven buying and selling of advertising. Programmatic technology is incredibly important in our product as well. PMD has been at the forefront of utilizing the best of mobile and desktop programmatic for years. We geo-fence around our physical storefront billboards, making our real-world ads that much more effective. We also provide attribution, pushing engagement and conversions online, answering that age-old question in media: how do you know it works? Technology also plays an integral role in reporting. We have a custom, proprietary, AWS-based app for our field routing, tracking, and reporting, as well as a custom CRM that links everything together.
Experience with Geopath
Every agency that we’ve worked with in the last few years has mentioned Geopath, so it was a clear indication that we needed to reach out and become a member. Now that we are, our client offerings are going to become invaluable and our partnerships are going to thrive because once our network is fully mapped, it’s going to bring us to the next level.
Tell us more about your PMD Presents series.
PMD has been direct-to-brand for almost its entire existence. This all changed in 2018. So, when the opportunity to reintroduce ourselves to agencies, OOH industry insiders, and operators came, we jumped at the chance to showcase some interesting topics. The result was a series of events for 2019, called PMD Presents. An April event about programmatic DOOH was amazing, we had another in July about audience measurement, and our upcoming event on October 22nd is being co-sponsored by Geopath. It’s an incredibly valuable topic: the ethical use of data, in an era when there is too much potential for abuse. The events have been a great way to give back, plus have the very best professionals, true industry heavyweights, share their thoughts and insights.
Making a highly effective campaign
There are a lot of things that come into play in making an effective ad campaign, but if I had to choose just one? Creative. The difference between bad creative and good creative is unbelievable. You can have two campaigns that run in the exact same markets, in the same storefronts, side by side, and the terrific creative wins every time. Having great messaging can mean the difference between an OK result and 10x that number. The good news is that OOH has some pretty simple parameters for creating an effective ad. It needs to quickly convey a message, reach the right audience, and be visible from close up and far away.
Common misconceptions about OOH
I think that big data, specifically with digital, is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the OOH industry has always been asked is “how do you know it works?” and we’ve never had an answer. Data is incredibly important. On the other hand, not everything is numbers. If you only used numbers, you’re not seeing the big picture. One of our recent panel members for PMD Presents, Huw Griffiths, [Global Chief Product Officer, Universal McCann], put it best when he said that we forget marketing 101 when we only go after the same customers over and over. You’re not growing the brand, you’re just reaching out to the same customer base. Sometimes you have to step back, follow the goals, look at KPIs, and the message has to sell. You need to look at the whole picture.
What was your favorite campaign and why?
My favorite recent PMD initiative was called “This Free Life”, which we worked on this year with Haworth Marketing and the FDA. It was an anti-tobacco campaign for LGBTQ youth centered around Gay Pride month across seven cities. It was an extremely targetedcampaign, only seen in LGBTQ bars and restaurants on gay pride parade routes. The best part about it was the positive message – don’t smoke! Even occasionally, it can kill you.