During the last couple of years some of the biggest growth at Kontera has been around Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), the category of advertising that refers to everyday household items like food and cleaning supplies. As Kontera’s Regional Sales Manager, Shira Dinour has had a key role in showcasing Kontera to the CPG community. We recently sat down with Shira to discuss both her own career and the evolution of CPG advertising at Kontera.
Shira, can you tell us a little bit about your start at Kontera, and how that related to CPG?
When I came onboard in January 2010, my background was more on the advertiser side. I had spent the previous ten year at ad agencies, working specifically on CPG brands such as Unilever and L’Oreal. So a big part of my goal when I got here was to help grow our CPG business.
It started off slow and steady, we did have test buys with a Kraft and General Mills, but I don’t think we had our first big break until 18 months in with Proctor and Gamble. It was an 18 month process of building relationships, educating about Kontera, and getting that first buy to prove Kontera works.
Because Kontera’s technology is so innovative it is a harder sale than most, but once clients get it and are comfortable enough to make a buy, the proof is in the results. Take for instance the Dimestore Study we ran with Kraft and Country Time Lemonade that showed a 54% lift in Purchase Intent when using Kontera as part of the media mix.
How does your background in advertising inform your current job?
Because I come from the agency side, I kind of know their day to day. I know what their challenges are, how there’s 1,000 of me to the 1 of them, so it’s about making sure you stand out. That’s why when I go in for a meeting; I know I need to make it as impactful as possible.
Also because I came from the strategic planning part of the agency side, I bring that experience to the table when I am meeting with my clients or putting together a proposal. I’m not just reacting, I’m thinking about what solutions we can provide to their business problems. I think that’s an advantage I have over other sellers who don’t have the agency background.
For instance, when you’re talking about CPG, you’re not talking about a high end item like a flat screen TV or a car– you’re talking about a $5 bottle of shampoo. Especially in this economic situation, their business challenge is representing the value of that shampoo to the consumer. Without the perspective of working on the agency side, you’re a lot more likely to pitch strategies that are not aligned with that advertiser’s needs. At the end of the day, it’s all about selling a bottle of shampoo.
What is your day to day schedule like at Kontera?
I have a team of 4 Account Executives and my day to day is really about supporting them. They all have their own list of clients to call on, and the nice thing about it is we’re not split up by vertical, we’re split up by agency, so each one of them has a CPG brand that they work with.
It’s my job to go on meetings with them, provide insight, and be a strategic leader that helps them grow professionally. Additionally, I help provide coverage.
On the other side, I also help Scott Lareau, our Regional Vice President, with forecasting and managing the business in the East; making sure we are looking at the best opportunities and refocusing on the top 25 accounts. Additionally, I keep in contact with members of the executive team on things like our product road map. The AE’s really need to focus on their accounts, and it’s up to me to have a more holistic view of Kontera, and share that big picture information, when I think it’s needed.
What kind of feedback do you hear back about Kontera from CPG Advertisers?
That we’re innovative, they love our creative solutions, and that it’s customizable; not a one size fits all type of buy. Customer service is huge, so they love the fact that we’re easy to work with, and that when we say we’re going to get things to them, we do.
CPG is all about ROI, so our ability to prove insights and analytics is a big deal. In 2012 we’re greatly expanding the reporting and metrics we provide to our advertising partners, meaning aside from the standard CTR, we can now also back up the proof of effectiveness with real time data.
What about your job do you enjoy?
I like talking, sales is a lot about talking (laughs). It’s also a lot about relationships and what I loved about my job, even dating back to when I worked on the agency side, was one on one relationship building and sharing my excitement over a new product.
There’s also something really rewarding about after working on it day in and day out, that moment when you do land a big account. When you step back and realize, wow, my hard work really did pay off and in such a big way, it makes me that much more excited and competitive about going after the next big account.
How did you get into advertising originally?
It was kind of a fluke; I studied business administration, with a concentration in marketing and international business. My school didn’t even have a focus on advertising. What happened was a friend that was working in advertising offered to set up an interview for me and I thought “yeah, I’ll give it a try and see what happens”. I started with Ogilvy & Mather, one of the more respected agencies, and I ended up falling in love with it. So it was by pure coincidence, I had no idea that there was such a world as advertising or sales. When I first started there was no digital, it was just print, TV, and radio, so it’s really cool to see how much it’s changed.
So you were pretty much there from the beginning?
I was there from the beginning, I was there in 2000 when the first internet boom happened and then busted, and was there when it came back around and people were being more skeptical because of that prior experience. Look, when I was a freshman in college there was no e-mail… there was no instant messaging, the World Wide Web was like a Unix account, you know what I mean? So it’s really just amazing to see how much it has evolved and to see the pace that’s it gone in is insane compared to traditional platforms like TV and print.
What I liked and attracted me to Kontera was that it is a technology company, and there’s that underlining technology that we’re always looking to improve. So unlike other internet startups that we’ve seen come and go, that didn’t have a foundation, I think there’s a real vision with what we do, with our Synapse Engine. The fact we put so much time into it, and the fact we’re constantly evolving and changing it, evolving with our consumer needs, to me just shows us that we’re going in the right direction.
Where do you see CPG going online in the next couple of years?
From everything I’ve read and just from the growth we’ve seen internally with our CPG partners, they’re definitely invested. Digital is huge, they know from their own consumer insights that their consumers are digitally savvy. So they have to be there.
I think what digital advertising offers CPS advertisers is its instantaneous. They can make changes on the fly as opposed to when you place a spot on a TV schedule; you’re kind of stuck with it. Or print for example, if you’re looking to be in the November issue of Glamour Magazine, you have to book that two months out – even if something happens in the interim, you’ve already committed the dollars. So I think digital is something that can be impactful pretty quickly and knowing that their consumers are in the space and if they’re not there, their competition is going to be there and get to them first.
From all the trade articles that I’m reading, CPG digital spending is only going to continue increasing in 2012.
Categories: Inside Kontera, Interviews