Futures Council Q&A – Part 2
About the Futures Council Members
Toni Short: I am a council member representing the media owner side. I have been with InSite Street Media (previously Signal Outdoor Advertising) for 11 years, with roles spanning across Orlando market manager to VP of local sales and now, Director, National Sales & Strategic Marketing. In this capacity I oversee national accounts, government advertising, new business initiatives and am the company’s master user for Geopath. Prior to InSite Street Media, I was Advertising Manager for Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc. and Publication Manager at CJ Publishers, Inc., where I was responsible for sales, customer interface, research, marketing and operations of the In-Town Tampa Guide & Map.
I also served as Sergeant in the USMC and worked for Hillsborough Area Regional Transit in Tampa (HART) where I was responsible for special projects and business development activities. I hold a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from NOVA Southeastern University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Southwest Texas State University.
Piper Wirth: I am a council member representing the agency side and have extensive cross-media experience, with almost 18 years in the business. I began my career as a media planner across all channels, at agencies including RPA, Carat, and Starcom. I also worked on the client side at Warner Bros, where I had the opportunity to work on campaigns for some of my favorite films such as Batman Begins, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Million Dollar Baby.
Mid-career, I decided to focus on my true passion – OOH. During my recent time at Kinetic and Macdonald Media, I led the OOH teams on accounts across many different industries and on major clients such as Universal Pictures, Facebook, Mazda, Lionsgate, Chevron, Starz, and AMC, and have recently taken on the role of Group Director managing OOH for all of Amazon’s lines of businesses at RapportWW. My favorite award-winning campaigns include helping Minions dominate every OOH format on La Brea Blvd, and bringing roaming zombies to the streets of New York to promote The Walking Dead.
Bobby Gorczakowski: I sit on the council representing the media owner side. I joined OUTFRONT Media in our Research/Insights department almost 5 and a half years ago. My team assists our sales teams across the country with requests relating to audience targeting, industry/category insights, media expenditures and anything else to help guide a media plan recommendation. This is my first job within the outdoor industry and with each year I am finding OOH media to be more and more interesting.
Prior to OUTFRONT, I worked in SEO (search engine optimization) at an online retailer for various product categories called Quidsi, which was my first job after graduating from Loyola University Maryland with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree specializing in Marketing.
Inspiration to join the council
Toni: I have been working with Geopath for a few years, and was asked to be part of its Insights Suite beta test back in 2018. Following this process, I started using the Insights Suite regularly. Earlier this year I was appointed to the Futures Council by our Vice President at InSite Street Media, who sits on the Geopath Board. I was inspired to join the council because I am a daily user and was very interested in getting involved with the council to act as an ambassador inside my company and across the broader industry.
Piper: I was nominated for the council by my previous agency, Macdonald Media, where the CEO sat on Geopath’s Board of Directors. I’ve always been very involved with my team, trying to change the way people think about OOH especially when it comes to measurement, so the Futures Council was a really great opportunity for me to help set new rules around this. I want to be an ambassador for this organization across my new agency, Rapport, and make sure everybody is utilizing Geopath to power smarter OOH plans. I have always been very passionate about OOH and finding ways to get advertisers to use more OOH, therefore, the Futures Council seemed like the perfect place to increase the impact of my advocacy.
Bobby: I was nominated for the council by OUTRONT’s CMO, who sits on Geopath’s Board of Directors. My team at OUTFRONT have always been heavy users of Geopath’s insights, tools and enhancements, which made me an ideal candidate for the council. Using my knowledge, I am able to help educate our teams internally and guide them on leveraging Geopath data in their day-to-day business. The Future’s Council has given me the opportunity to communicate with other representatives across the industry and collaborate on how we can help grow OOH overall. I’m excited to get more involved and listen to everyone’s opinions and feedback. The council members are great resources with great minds.
Toni: Following the launch of our Best Practices document last Fall, a continued focus for the council will be making updates as the Geopath Insights change. Anything we find while working through the platform will be reviewed on whether or not to include it in the document. I consider the last year to be the year of learning when it comes to showing the industry what the Geopath Insights Suite had to offer. This year, we’re still in the learning stage, but will also work on helping the industry with implementation at the same time.
We are currently ensuring that everybody is trained and knowledgeable about the platform. It is very important as a council member that I educate my staff and others on the insights that are offered in the platform. We trained all of our employees at InSite Street Media through the online Geopath Learning Lab, and are at 100% completion. I feel it is also my job to keep people active on the platform. At InSite Street Media, I have actually implemented a Geopath community group internally called “Selling Audience and Movements,” where we will be able to share employee success stories using the insights from Geopath’s platform. Each week I upload a use-case to provide ideas on strategic selling.
Piper: While at MacDonald Media, I worked on the Futures Council to help develop the Best Practices document, and was very involved in making sure that everybody at MacDonald Media was trained and understood the Insights Suite. Now that I have transitioned to my new role at Rapport, I have a new team to train.
I’ve found that the training is very informative, but you need to start applying it to campaigns immediately, so I’m currently working with my team to figure out how we can best utilize the platform for our clients. The media owners I work with who know I’m involved in the Futures Council ask me questions frequently, so my goal is to educate as many people as I can.
Bobby: What was big for us last year, and will remain important this year as Toni mentioned, is the idea of education. We want to ensure everyone is educated on the changes to the new platform, not only at our respective organizations but also across the industry, which is something we’re continuously looking to do. I think the Best Practices Document and our Future’s Council advocacy is definitely going to help us grow the industry and provide us with some really great insights. As the Geopath Insights expand and grow the Future’s Council will be pivotal in educating the industry about these updates.
Looking to the future of the Futures Council and the OOH industry
Toni: I hope to continue to build on the momentum from training individuals at InSite Street Media. Now that everyone is trained, it will be an ongoing process because we have new employees coming in all the time. What’s great is that we’re prepared because we have the Best Practices document and the Learning Lab curriculum that explicitly guides us all to be on the same page.
The Geopath staff continues to improve the platform and increase efficiencies, therefore everybody needs to stay up to date on all the changes. Because of this, the council has already discussed the need to provide more advanced training for people that have already completed our existing materials, so I look forward to hopefully seeing the development of that curriculum come to life. I cannot stress enough how important it is to now have the training that we do for onboarding.
Piper: Adoption is key right now. I would love to see not only the buyers and media owners using the platform, but also their strategy teams or even clients. I want everybody to have an understanding of the platform. I agree with Toni, we absolutely want to build on that momentum going forward.
Bobby: It’s true – education and adoption will always be a driving force for our council. I’m really excited to hear the different ideas and opinions that will be shared from individuals with backgrounds and experiences across the industry. We will be able to use those ideas to help better the OOH industry. The new Geopath Insights data is a great opportunity to not only better the use of OOH, but to increase opportunities for spend in OOH. We want to make sure that we’re able to help educate people on this new information so they can use it properly and effectively – that will absolutely be at the core of all future work for the council.
Piper: I would also love to see better collaborations between media owners and agencies because a lot of times we get in the habit of sending an RFP to a media owner that doesn’t include a lot of detail. I would love to see us all work together to come up with smarter recommendations. We need to give the media owners as much information as we possibly can so they can use the Geopath Insights Suite and come back with a recommendation that matches our RFP goals.
Toni: I agree with Piper. I recently received an RFP from an agency that was asking for the basics and I asked if they wanted me to provide more information on the specific demographic – of course their answer was yes. It takes a little bit more time but it absolutely helps the overall process.
Bobby: I think that having better collaboration now, with more understanding from both the agency and operator sides, is going to be really beneficial for everyone. There have always been questions surrounding the RFP process and the targeting capabilities of OOH, and with the Best Practices document we’re now able to have smarter conversations with clients/agency partners. This is a great opportunity for new advertisers to enter into the industry. It’s not just about getting advertisers to increase their OOH advertising budget, it’s also about new opportunities and great new audience targeting. There’s a lot of potential there.
Toni: I have been working with InSite Street Media, which was Signal Outdoor Advertising until earlier this year, for 11 years. I just love everything about selling outdoor advertising, and these truly are exciting times now that we have extremely useful audience data to offer.
Piper: I started my advertising career in media 18 years ago. For half of my career, I worked across various media formats, but I always gravitated toward OOH because it’s so creative. It’s so amazing to drive down the street and see something that you played a role in creating. There are always budget restrictions, but it’s really cool to see something that was just an idea in your head come to life though OOH, and that’s what I love most about it.
Bobby: I think OOH is a really unique and interesting advertising medium that offers many creative opportunities. There are always new innovations coming to the industry, and while there is a lot of focus on TV and digital media formats, I think there should be more of a spotlight on OOH and all that the medium has to offer. With the new insights we have from Geopath, I think it’s going to be an even more effective medium for advertiser, and I look forward to playing a role in advancing the conversations throughout the industry.