Future’s Council Q&A
A conversation with the leadership of the Geopath Futures Council

Future’s Council Q&A <br/> <span style='color:#000000;font-size: 18px;'>A conversation with the leadership of the Geopath Futures Council</span>

About the Futures Council Members

Scott Fiaschetti: I am the SVP, Operations & Strategy at Geopath and am responsible for all strategic marketing and communications efforts. I am also a member of Geopath’s executive leadership team and serve as head of operations responsible for organizational development and policy implementation. Prior to Geopath, I was VP, Insights & Strategy at digital advertising agency Questus, Director of Research at Northstar Research Partners and Director of Market Research at McGraw-Hill Education.


Gina Stratford: I am the VP of Sales and Marketing for YESCO Outdoor Media where I manage the sales and marketing staff responsible for the revenue maximization of YESCO’s 2,300 roadside digital and traditional advertising faces across eight western states. I started my career in the OOH business after working for a tech firm in college, and after falling in love with the OOH Industry, I worked my way through the ranks to become the first female VP of our 99-year-old company. My focus has always been on providing solution-based sales to clients and my 18 years of experience in the OOH industry, as well as my involvement with the OAAA marketing committee and Geopath Futures Council have solidified my purpose.


Matthew Noll: I am the Director of Marketing & Digital Strategies for EMC Outdoor. I oversee key client touchpoints such as website, blogs, and email marketing programs, as well as the creation of client communications including presentations, media materials and proposals. I also consult with clients about the use of out-of-home, its benefits, and its strategic integration into their overall marketing plans. For over 15 years, I have been dedicated to developing EMC as a respected and dynamic agency in the out of home media world.


Mike Buongiovanni: I am an Associate Media Director of OOH at Horizon Media working on a variety of entertainment and luxury brand accounts. Within my role, I analyze incoming client briefs, identify KPIs, and develop strategies with my team to achieve client objectives. Prior to my time at Horizon, I’ve held various OOH sales and activation positions at Van Wagner, Rapport, and MediaVest.


What is your role on the Futures Council?

Gina: I sit as Co-Chair of the Futures Council representing the media vendor side of the OOH industry. When I was asked by Geopath to chair the Futures Council, I did not hesitate to accept, but I did have one requirement: that we have a co-chair to represent the agency members. Since I represent the vendors, I wanted to make sure the agency side was accurately represented too.


Matt: I am the other Co-Chair that represents the agency side and work with Gina and the rest of the leadership team to keep the council organized and moving.


Mike: I am the Futures Council Secretary. Also, on the agency side of the industry, I support Gina and Matt to organize and ensure that all pertinent topics are properly addressed.


Scott: I lead the Futures Council from the Geopath side. I work with our President, Kym Frank and Jill Nickerson, our chairperson, and our Board of Directors, to understand the bigger initiatives Geopath is undertaking, align those with the goals of the Futures Council and work with Gina, Matt and Mike to drive these initiatives forward. I also communicate the needs of the Futures Council to Kym and Jill to make sure the work being done is seamless between Geopath and the council.


What was your inspiration to join the Futures Council?

Gina: I’ve always felt that media buyers and sellers were always working against each other throughout the buying and selling process rather than collectively working together to craft successful campaigns for advertisers. To me, the Future Council provides the framework for both sides to work together to accomplish their client’s goals. I wanted to be able to help facilitate creating a synergy that will benefit the industry moving forward.


Scott: I completely agree with Gina – I’ve been on a number of councils and committees within Geopath, but this has been the best experience by far. We are a very cohesive group and there’s been a lot of honest dialogue that has not only helped us advance our initiatives, but ultimately the industry. I am surprised but happy to see the level of discussion we have during our meetings, so for me, choosing to spearhead the council at Geopath was all about having the opportunity to hear from all sides of the OOH advertising ecosystem and work on meaningful and impactful initiatives.


Matt: The OOH Industry is undergoing a period of rapid change right now – with so much changing all the time. It’s a really exciting time to be working in the industry and to be able to work with a team that’s actively influencing the direction of our changing industry is an incredible experience. It’s great to be able to have a voice in that conversation. And as we’re working into this new paradigm, my decision to join the council was influenced by the opportunity to be a liaison between the agencies, buyers and sellers so that we can recalibrate how we work together.


Mike: I agree with Matt as to the major transition we’re experiencing and how although change is constant, we only see this level of transformation on very rare occasions. To be involved and have the opportunity to work with other members of the industry as we teach colleagues and guide the direction of new measurement is something I could not pass up. This has been a great experience and is an exciting time for OOH as this council will help unite buyers and sellers while we navigate through new waters as a media channel.


Creating Best Practices for the New Geopath Insights

Gina: During the development of the best practices document, I had two objectives: ensure that the agencies allow media vendors to provide the best possible inventory to meet client campaign goals. This really required an emphasis on an agency providing as much detail as possible to the media vendors about the campaign objective, essentially allowing the vendors to put their best foot forward.


My second objective was to give the media vendors that sell directly to the client an understanding of how to utilize the data to provide the same types of successful campaigns directly to their clients.


Matt: During the process of creating the best practices document, there were a couple of things that really stood out to me. The first was having the opportunity to take a step back from our current practices and actually take a critical look at how we do things – what is our process and what information do we really think is important.


It’s so easy to fall into old habits and the inevitable trap of how we’ve always done it, so being able to take a step back and examine our side of the process was really reinvigorating for me. Another aspect of the process that stood out to me was the open, honest and challenging conversations from all perspectives of the OOH ecosystem. The benefit of our best practices document is that it provides the industry with a simple, effective, and smooth transfer of information, which ultimately benefits the advertisers.


Mike: The most rewarding part of my experience has been the collaboration. Having all areas of OOH represented and watching everyone contribute their thoughts and ideas has really corroborated a firm understanding of how to accomplish our goals and ultimately allow us to provide guidelines and a clear direction.


Scott: As we were developing the document, I felt that my role was to help create an environment where members could feel comfortable and collaborative – and it was really exciting to see that happen. It was also really gratifying to see the document come together as a result of our conversations and hard work to create what will be an evolving document as we continue our efforts on the council.


Looking to the future of the Futures Council

Gina: I am looking forward to our continued collaboration. We’ve truly built a synergy here and I think it’s something that we can take with us into the future. The collaboration between the buyers and sellers is going to be really important as we continue to navigate the changes that our industry will experience – not only with the introduction of the Geopath Insights but the opportunity to really be the frontlines of determining our pathway as an industry and what we do in our future. This is the next generation of the OOH industry and there will be many changes in the next coming decades. I’m excited that the council has come together to benefit the entire industry.


Matt: I’m a sucker for looking to the future and figuring out what’s on the horizon. And I think the Futures Council plays an important part and can be an important voice in that conversation So, I really am looking forward to helping shape that future.


Mike: Similar to both responses, it’s vital for the Futures Council to share our findings and communication with the industry. This will perpetuate our growth and enhance what we do collectively as a media channel.


Scott: I think what I am looking forward to is the Futures Council itself as it grows and becomes more influential across the industry. Because, as everybody says, we’re in this renaissance, there are lot of exciting things happening and I look forward to the Futures Council playing a major role in setting the standards and direction for the industry, as well as be seen as a resource that the industry looks to for its point of view.


A wish list for the next Futures Council initiatives

Scott: In the short term, we will continue to refine the best practices document and direct how it will evolve to match the ever-changing Geopath Insights. We will also be focusing on the Learning Lab, which was also launched this year, ensuring that the training curriculum that we created will meet the needs of the industry. The Futures Council will also play a major role in the development and execution of our GO 2020 conference next year in April.


Matt: In the short-term, now that the best practices are out there, I think there’s going to be a lot in our future in helping to drive adoption at the organizational level. So how can we, in our respective organizations, across industry, help design these options for customers.


Scott: And hopefully, just to piggyback on Matt’s point, some of the work we’ve already done has set the foundation for that – the best practices document and Learning Lab will help provide the platform for people to adopt it.


Gina: Matt mentioned that it’s important for us to ensure adoption within our own organization, which is a great step in advancing the industry, but the Futures Council does not represent every single part, so it is our job to go out and promote and market it within the industry and other organizations that are either members of Geopath or are considering being members of Geopath and make sure that it’s adopted across the entire industry and not just within the organizations that are actively working currently with Geopath.


Hopes for the Futures Council

Matt: To expand upon what Gina said earlier, one of the most important things about the Futures Council is the collaborative nature, meaning that we have people from both sides of the table, sitting down together to work out future initiatives. And this collaborative effort is coming from people who are close to the operational level of their respective organizations. Sometimes, it’s hard to know how things actually work in practice, when you’re not doing it every day, so each council member can bring really pointed, direct insights based on their experiences. I think that makes for a very interesting conversation with people who are actually doing the work and learn how they’re doing it. I also think it is really important for the council to work as liaisons back to our organization, so that information can flow back up to the C-Suite and instill better industry communication.


Scott: I do think that’s a very important point made by Matt – that the Futures Council also serves as platform to inform their respective board member representative as well, to create a purposeful flow between the Futures Council and the individual organizations. Additionally, the composition of the Futures Council is broken down pretty evenly – six operators and six from the agency side – but even within this group, the roles that they serve are very different. We have council members from research, sales, and planning, so I think it is a nice breadth of representation on the council. Our council has multiple perspectives and ways to look at a scenario. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for this council.