Talking CX with Media Guru and iHeartMedia VP, Vanessa Wojtusiak

Kendall Pennington

In this episode, VP of Marketing for iHeartMedia, Vanessa Wojtusiak explains the evolution of media she witnessed first-hand in her career, and the role content has played in influencing customer experience. 


About Jessica

Jessica “lives for media.” 

Having started working in the radio business at the age of 15, Jessica has just about seen it all.

She started out working on the marketing side of some stations in Connecticut, Boston, and New York City and then worked her way over to the world of record labels- working at Capital Records and Virgin Records- and then eventually made her way back to radio where she was tasked with helping build out iHeartradio in its early development.

Following a stint at iHeartradio, she jumped into television as Director of Audience Development for an ABC affiliate in Connecticut. Jessica notes that television and radio are similar in their need to evolve to keep up with other current media forms, mainly streaming and social-related. She led a team there for 5 years before being called back to iHeartMedia as VP of Marketing, where she is working currently.


Cutting Through the Clutter

With people having access to so many forms of media and so much content all within the palm of their hands, it can be challenging to cut through the clutter.  Recent evidence suggesting a significant decrease in the general population’s attention span doesn’t make it easier.  “Luckily,” Jessica says, “People do multi-task a lot now.” 

The evolution of media leads Jessica to believe that local radio stations are no longer direct competitors, but rather Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter notifications are the real competition. Everyone is constantly being inundated with information at basically every waking second of the day. Brands that can distinguish themselves.

A large factor in successful marketing is defining your audience and catering a message that will attract them specifically, and providing a personalized experience.


Fighting for the Face-to-Face

While it may seem old school, Jessica claims that going out into communities and having a face-to-face interaction with your potential customers is as powerful as ever.

Brands can utilize the data they’ve acquired via other touchpoints to figure out the best way to have that 1-on-1 interaction with consumers.  This is the best way to build strong relationships and create an experience within your community.

“Bringing this concept back and showing people that you’re not a robot is something that I think is really needed right now and is most effective at cutting through the clutter.”

Joe mentions how whenever he needed a favor or data from an engineer or someone at another office, he always made an effort to fly out to meet them in person and establish that face-to-face connection.


Different Personalities Can Be Utilized to Form A Cohesive Brand

Every media company is going to have a series of people, teams, microbrands, etc. operating under its name while still in some ways maintaining their own distinctive individual personas.  Even non-media brands can learn something from this model.  

People can be allowed, or even encouraged to maintain their personal brands while still conveying values and messaging that is consistent with the company.  A diversity in voice, tone, and channel can oftentimes even add to the strength of a business’s message by resonating with a wider range of audiences and customers. Jessica has found great value in honing in on these specific personalities to form relationships with listeners.


The Power of Social Media

Jessica recalls a recent experience she had reaching out to a brand on Twitter of which she was having an issue, upon receiving great customer service she left the interaction with an overall more positive impression of the brand than when she had the issues to begin with, and her peers witnessed the reaction and responsiveness of the brand as well.

By now, hopefully, all brands know social media can play an integral role in your marketing strategy and provide phenomenal exposure. Still, few businesses handle customer service and provide exceptional customer experience via social channels. Timely and helpful responses online can be a great marketing tool, as the interaction is public by nature and can generate great customer testimony organically.


Jessica’s Crystal Ball

In closing thoughts, Jessica identifies the future of customer experience as being one of personalization, hyper-focus on individuals, and humanizing of brands. 

With the general public having apprehension towards data, tracking, and skepticism towards sharing their information with corporations, being able to facilitate experiences that feel like a genuine 1-on-1 conversation will be crucial in taking brands to the next level.

Listen to the episode here.

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