Talking CX with media guru and VP at iHeartMedia Vanessa Wojtusiak

February 13, 2020
To listen to the full episode, click here

Joe:

00:00

Welcome to the DNA of an Experience podcast from Cloud App where we discuss how and why creating experience is so important in the psychology behind what makes an experience so great. Thanks for joining us Live today with Vanessa from my heart media. Vanessa is leading some really cool stuff over there, and we've been connected on Twitter for quite some time and Linkedin and reached out a few weeks ago and just said, Hey, I think you have a pretty cool background story That'd be fun to talk about and kind of talk about traditional media and how it's evolved and how it relates to customer experience. So Vanessa was able to get some time, and we found some time first of the year to talk about these things, and I'm excited to have her. I'll pass some time, have her to give a little bit of a background, and then we'll go through some questions about customer experience in kind of a modern workplace.

Vanessa:

01:01

Yeah, thanks for having me on Joe. This is a really cool concept. I love what you do, and I love being able to share some of my knowledge in the space specifically in media and a traditional media company and really trying to evolve in the space. So just a little bit about myself. I live for media, the content that consumption and my life has really been focused around that radio business at the age of 15 working in marketing across some stations in Connecticut and Boston, the New York City. Um, from there I decided to check out the world of record labels venturing into Capital Records, Virgin Records, which wasn't too far away from radio business on. That's always been kind of my core in passion. Um, after that, I got sucked back into radio for the first time, this time in a position to help build the I heart radio app, which I'm sure you heard of little baby app like that. It was amazing. And still to this day, it's one of my really proud moments just to see that brand explode, Um, to take the technology from a traditional media company and actually put it in the palm of your hands and see that brand everywhere is really awesome. Iconic? Um, Spence Radio music was really all I knew. I then decided to take a step into TV, So I decided to work at the local ABC affiliate here in Connecticut as the director of audience development, Um, TV is also a type of media that needs so of all that needs to keep up with, you know, your APS, your websites, your integrations and being able to talk to different people on different platforms and deliver them a product of news. So I was there for almost five years. Ah, in that capacity, leading a digital team, really evolving the brand in the space and how people are consuming news products. And back in November, I got sucked in for the second time. I can see why her radio as vice president of marketing hearing so well received eight radio stations locally over here. So that means digital. That means sales and sponsorship partnerships. That means innovative things in the programming space. And, you know, it's just my passion. Every day is a new project, and I really love it.

Joe:

03:18

That's  a really cool background. Uh, its gets really interesting to see, like she said, the evolution of media and certainly I heart media and I heart radio app is everywhere and kind of ah, pillar of what we call a radio in the digital age in kind of a world full of distraction, full of content. And, uh, you can go and find anything. You can get anything on your phone, uh, at the touch of a button.  How do you kind of in your current role in in the past, how have you tried to find a way to break through that and connect with your audience, connect with locally and globally or nationally with different pieces, things, things you work on?

Vanessa:

04:05

Yeah. So, as you were saying, distractions are everywhere because people have access to so many things just in the problem of palm of their hands. Um, you know, they're walking around. They have this device that they're constantly carrying attention spans are also dramatically lower. Because of that, you're getting inundated with information left and right. Whether that is the competitors. Er, I personally don't believe that the radio station across the street is a competitor anymore. That is Netflix. That's Facebook. That's different alerts on your phone. That's conversations with friends at so many things that are important you, ether it is in your business or the outside of things. Um, Luckily, in this day and age, people do multitask. No. So it's a matter of cutting through all that clutter. I know I'm guilty of watching a Netflix movie documentary or show and also doing something on my phone doing something on my computer at the same time. So it's really about really cutting through that and finding a message that resonates with your audience. Let me stand out first with consumer facing, um, campaigns, uh, different targeting abilities as well. So you know your audience. I think a lot of that is psychologically driven. Have you no hear who you're talking to, your able to then cater that message to them? Not everyone should be blasted with the same message. That's also something that I try to get across in traditional media spaces where it's broadcaster, Um, it's not broadcasting anymore. It's taking the little segments of your listeners of your viewers of whoever's interacting with you and then serving up a better experience for them. That's our custom tailored. What's going on? So that's how you could cut through distractions. You only have a couple of minutes when people are scrolling through their devices. Mindless, aided. Grab their attention in there. I'm if that's what you're trying to share, right way kind of a question.

Joe:

05:52

I've asked the gods. Well, what is the DNA of a good customer experience? I think it you know that on the head with, like, making it more micro, making it more personalized. Uh, especially if someone's logged in. Um, we can use that great data that I'm sure, um, I heart uses and deal to give them a personalized experience.

Vanessa:

06:16

Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's the benefit for me of working . We have all this data from different touch points were able to message people on social media, our website, the APP through onsite events. I think that's also really key. Um, that a lot of people are missing shorts, the digital age. Sure, people are communicating constantly 24 7 on their phones and their computers and messaging app. It's more more than ever to be actually out in the communities. People have that one on one conversation. I know it might seem old fashioned, but I think that really helps build the brands and build your relationships, and nowadays people will know that. Hey, you're not a robot. I am actually talking to you like I've been following you on Twitter for so long, Joe. But it's great to actually see you face to face and having application. I think bringing that concept back is something that is really needed. And that's something that actually does cut through the clutter. Because once you have a wild one face conversation with someone, it's harder to separate that and be distracted.

Joe:

07:20

yeah, that's actually a great point. I mean, in business, uh, you know, at a big company in Adobe, I always if I needed, like, something from an engineer, like some data or I was working with another team. I always tried to either fly out San Jose if that's where they were, or try and meet them in Utah or whether I needed to go and establish that personal connection. And I really think you know, when I think of I heart media as a kind of global brand, I think they've done a great job at kind of having that brand level, but also the radio stations that are owned by them. I also have their own little brand snitch, and I think you brought it up really well with with events. I think that's a big piece of it. For Media is finding ways to connect both at the global brand level and the radio station level. Um, and I know, like locally, I see no, I heart media brands everywhere, right? Doing doing events, just driving by in my neighborhood or down to Salt Lake or wherever it seems like they're always kind of, uh, you know, out out amongst the community and trying to connect with people. I think that's really interesting way that create an experience.

Vanessa:

08:42

Yeah, exactly. I mean it is it's kind of going back to the old fashioned, but it really is something that I am passionate about is working with your local communities being face to face. In addition to the abilities started, people with data on a nap on social media on, you know, everywhere you turn, so having that component is also something a little bit different for media again, as you were saying, there was kind of like the umbrella brand for our local radio stations, and then each personality is their own brand of greater brand. So being able to work and have a consistent message between whoever's on air and whoever whatever your station represents is also key. So having that consistent messaging is also a great tip to also remember, So you have people that are in your organization, but they are your team players. It's like a sports team. Um, could be Red Sox. And then you have all the different players and those players represent your brand and going together. You have to have a cohesive strategy and be on the same page or any of your marketing tactics.

Joe:

09:48

That's really a point.  Let's dig in on that a teeny bit with I hadn't actually thought about radio personalities re absolutely right. They have their own brand as well. You kind of this unique opportunity as as, ah, you know, the global brand to really have your Your employees are also your influencers. Um, so how how do you kind of Maybe you're a piece of this. Maybe you're not. But how do you try and utilize? You know, the talent that is doing the radio locally and nationally, um, to really spread the word of kind of the global brand.

Vanessa:

10:29

So, you know, they're really passionate about the brand to they wouldn't be here if they weren't really all into radio and being able to connect the listeners. And you know, just that, the ease of being able to connect to them now like you don't need a big boom box anymore. You have your phone and you can listen to that and interact with livers on air. Um, we have different topics throughout the day that people could call in. Radio is really like social media when it come when it really boils down to it. You know, you have a topic and people are encouraged to comment. To like to share, um, on Lee in a more personal way with radio, so use it utilizing all other personalities. They're all different. They all connect different faces of our listener base in the audience. Um, we worked with advertisers and sponsors, too, sponsors that tie their messaging into the personality, whatever. Whatever brand reflects with them most rewarding. It lends nonprofits people that are really passionate about a specific thing, whether that's pets, whether that's, ah, female empowerment, whether that's heart association or anything like that, being able to line those all up and having a face or a campaign, a project or anything like that. But utilizing our local talent, I think, is really super key and delivering that message. Those people build an established relationships with people Every single day. You're in your car, you're listening to a personality, and you're like, Wow, you're kind of maybe talking to yourself a little bit, um, shining into their conversation So they're in your own there in your cars. They're kind of like a friend if you don't have someone around. So it's really key for us. To runt, that relationship out to our sponsors and clients and things like that really trustworthy source. You're building them up. Is influencers or particular campaign awesome? So the other thing you need challenge to kind of get the talent to buy into the messaging and also, you know, have them have input, but also make sure that it kind of connects to your audience to think that's that's really interesting

Joe:

12:32

Exactly. I mean, you can't force something down their throats, either. It has to have a benefit for them. It has to have a listener benefit. We can't just kind of blast or whatever is out there because that's not effective marketing. That's not effective branding at all. So having someone that's authentic and really buying into whatever is happening is is key for all of our personalities, which in turn, are influencers cool. What? What do you say? What would you say? So, like, we've talked a lot about radio. Obviously, that's, you know, auditory. It's it's on the go, it's in your car. It's It's why you're jogging at the or at the gym. Um, how do you kind of incorporate video and visuals to kind of connect with that person that is, maybe at work and stumbles upon a video or something that was created by you guys? How is that kind of worked? As a piece of your strategy?

Vanessa:

13:27

The visuals are increasingly important. I mean colors. You need sound, you need interaction. Um, audio with audio is the ability to do more with it because you're not really focused just listening. So have a little conversation and pointing to a YouTube video that went viral. You're you have to have a hook you have to influence them to really want to see the content that's there on your website on your app Utilize. I'm messaging across all the different touch points because if you're just talking to someone and they're driving their car, they a should not be looking at their phones. Should not be picking anything up, but it should stick. And they're hiding enough that when they're done driving Hey, let me check out this video. Let me see what this personality posted on their Web site. Let me enter this contest and making it as straightforward as possible videos. Also, we do encourage Facebook lives. Instagram lives, um, just photos that way, people that are following them could interact as well and see what's going on and the ability to, you know, share, um, and chime in on a different topic. So utilizing all the different touch points in addition to audio is really, really awesome.

Joe:

14:40

This has been a really great conversation. I think you've gone into it. A ton of things of what your company is doing to create an experience for customers want to kind of ask you more personally what is a recent experience you've had with brand another brand separate brand you know is you as a consumer, that's I need you more boil or more connected to just some other brand other.

Vanessa:

15:07

Yes, so I personally love to be able to access brands on social media, especially for customer service. Actually had an issue the other day with one of our digital platforms that we use here. I'm at I heart. I was trying to contact their support seeming past business hours. I was like, Oh, now let me shoot them a tweet Let me send them a DM. Maybe they'll get back to me. Maybe they won't. You know, I feel like Twitter is probably the easiest way to contact someone, even if it's beyond ours. In a matter of minutes. The CEO PM's me and he said, Hey, I could help you out. Let me check this out right away. And from then on, I'm like, Wow, they check everything there on top of their game. They totally know howto win our business and really help us out with anything. So that was kind of like a major win. Even this past week. That was a problem that I had to go solve and social media was kind of to the rescue. Um, I actually do that. Maybe not as often, because I don't like to use it as a sounding board for issues. But, you know, if I have too much ice in my coffee, I'll post about it. And then all of a sudden I'll get a click AM and they're like, How could we solve your problems? So for me, that goes such a long way, and I totally understand the other side of things. Um, utilizing your own Twitter account work, Facebook or instagram to really help out your customer. And once they see that interaction, they're like, Wow, this brand is actually a person, and they actually want to help me. And sometimes your perception could really turn around just based on that one interaction. If someone's so so mad and you respond within a couple of minutes, you turn everything around and they're willing to talk to their friends, their family and Alan. This story, too. And that goes a long way.

Joe:

16:50

Yeah. I think feel valuable to engage, you know, when it's not just, like, blatant, disrespectful or what? Whatever, but like some of the best customer feedback conversations we've had at cloud up have been We've had someone that was really upset on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. And we reached out to them in many cases, like our CEO. Similar. Clear. Your experience has, like, a 10 minute zoom call with, uh, whoever was complaining. And they're they're, like, blown away, you know? Oh, my gosh. You know, I I wasn't actually as mad as it sounded on Twitter and like, they become, like, really apologetic. Um, and a lot of times like, they'll even either send out a really positive message or they'll take down like the mention to our company. Um, and I had the same thing at Adobe. You know, it's amazing, like a brand like photo shop or whatever. How many complaints a day we got, um, and, you know, trying to engage with each of those and really trying to keep that customer feed, look, feedback loop, fresh eyes, really key to customer experience business.

Vanessa:

18:08

Yeah, I totally agree. It is that relationship that you're building on social media that you're building everywhere else. People want accessibility these days again, going back to the attention span. They want a response in like seconds. Um, I help out with a radio show in the afternoons. Here is well and we get callers all the time. Sometimes there's, like five callers, and then we take one and the other four just drop off because they don't want to wait anymore. Sure, I think it's really important to be able to respond to these people as quick as possible. You don't wanna wait like 48 hours to respond to someone. That's an eternity of these days. Um, so helping build that relationship build that accessibility is also something that really humanizes your brand and really goes a long way?

Joe:

18:53

Definitely. Well, I think it's been an awesome conversation. Really Enjoyed your insights. Uh, what do you think? Looking into your crystal ball? What do you think is the future of experience business? You know, you have a you a unique last name. We could call this the world from, like Adrian Wooldridge, housekeeper, Lesbian. Um what? What's your woes? Bomb. For the future of experience business,

Vanessa:

19:21

I think it is. Those weren't want interactions. I know it's been personalization. It's been hyper focused on that. Consumer is your entire world. It still is that trying, but I think it's even more focused these days having a conversation and humanizing your brand. I'm Oh, that's nothing new but being able to open up and have those private conversations because I think these days people are really afraid of data and hacking and too much information out there. So private conversations should be where your brand is really turning towards utilizing a lot of your data. I know that's also really scary, but if you do with the correct way, I think people will appreciate it. Finding any eating, carrying those messages through. I'm also thinking completely outside the box like you're doing something. Now flip it on its side, Try something else out. You know, if it fails, be open to that as a learning experience. Um, things are always evolving, so maybe your brand doesn't make sense to go on Tic - Tac tryout. If it doesn't if it flops, you know, now you know it's really about knowing what your audiences and having those one on one conversations building the relationship. Let's go back to the core of these one on one conversations and learning more from your audience and just picking up what they have to say, because big data is scary. People are scared about giving their information like there's an ad that's following you around. Will be that creepy? Be personable - that could take your brand to the whole another level of market research.

Joe:

20:55

At Adobe we have this digital magazine product, and so I was able to kind of crunch data on all these pretty well known digital magazines and how people were interacting with them. And one interesting trend we saw was the growth in the less social sharing and more message sharing. So people were not necessarily wanting to drop it into Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever some mass media product there were more wanting to share it with their mom or their friend or their roommate or their spouse or kids or whatever. So there there was like that growth and more, 1 to 1. So it's been really interesting to kind of see social evolution and how you know, we had so many social products, and that's kind of constricted a little bit and gotten a little bit back more to these one toe one conversations. I think that's really insightful.

Vanessa:

21:54

Yeah. I mean, I see that in my personal life, too. I get direct messages on Instagram where people share different brand things. Give me directly that way. And then we have a conversation there instead of piling onto the comments instead of making everything really public. So, yeah, that's kind of the evolution of what's happening right now.

Joe:

22:13

Awesome conversation. Vanessa, thank you for your time today. Uh, love connecting in real life like you said. Um, I'm sure it's the first of many future conversations on this podcast and outside. But I hope you have a good weekend. And thanks again for joining.

Vanessa:

22:30

Absolutely. This is great. Thanks for having me on.

Joe:

22:37

Thanks for joining the DNA of an experienced podcast. We hope you learn something that will help improve your collaboration and enhance the experience you create for your customer. Join the collaboration 2.0, movement today by getting cloud app the instant business communication tool used to create instantly shareable videos, screenshots and GiFs perfect for both internal and external communication. Get started for free at www dot get cloud app dot com. Thank you. Look forward to seeing you next time