The Digital Out-Of-Home World. An Interview with Suzanne La Forgia of Captivate

Suzanne La Forgia began her media career selling for smaller, emerging and rebranded cable networks. This background placed her perfectly to help position Out of Home media in the sales marketplace through her work heading up the DPAA and now as VP Ad Sales for Captivate. Her enthusiasm for digital out of home is evident. “I’m thrilled to be part of Captivate,” she says, “It is the #1 on location video network in North America delivering 10.3 Million upscale, influential, decision makers a month in a captive environment throughout their workday.”

I sat down with her and asked her the following questions:

Charlene Weisler: What are the differences and similarities between selling cable and selling OOH?

Suzanne La Forgia: My experience in cable was always with new, emerging channels or the rebranding of established channels. I was focused on educating the ad community on the promise of the network and evangelizing about the audience and content. Similarly, our content at Captivate engages with our desirable audience every work day. They are passionate about our programming and we are building on that passion with our advertising and agency partners. At the same time, the platforms are very different, in a positive way. Cable and broadcast delivers shows and 30 second spots and everyone in the industry knows how it works. Digital video OOH is different in how content gets on the screens and how it can be activated and targeted by advertisers. The targeting and flexibility we offer is more similar to digital than linear TV.

Charlene: There have been great advancements in technology in your space. How do you use technology to measure?

Suzanne: Captivate was an early supporter of measurement. We helped to form and write the DPAA audience metrics guidelines that Nielsen uses to measure place-based video. Through the use of the latest technology and help from our partners, we invest in measuring audiences with rigor and precision beyond people just walking into the building. We conduct intercept interviews. We use beacons and cameras for observational research. We also use trusted third party data sources to identify demographics and psychographics as well measure campaign effectiveness. And then we provide this measurement back to our partners.

Charlene: What is the Captivate footprint?

Suzanne: Our digital video network is located in office buildings across the U.S. and we are represented in the top 20 markets with a concentration in the top 10. We are also in 5 Canadian markets. We have 1600 buildings, more than 10,000 screens reaching over 10 million working professionals a month in highly captivate environments, elevators and lobbies.  Our technology enables tremendous audience targeting. We can segment campaigns across 15 to 20 types of criteria including industry, geography, business size, etc. Financial services is our largest category and we can offer our partners a virtual network of people who work in the financial industry such as those buildings that have Well Fargo or Goldman Sachs as tenants. Another example is our ability to segment working affluent millennials, a very desirable segment for marketers, on a national or market by market basis. We offer a great amount of flexibility.

Charlene: How do you achieve work / life balance?

Suzanne: I am lucky to have a two year old son. Captivate has an amazing support system where we are encouraged to really focus on success, career, time with our family and our personal lives. We receive weekly reminders for us to take care of ourselves and our families. I am in the Dallas satellite office where I have to balance working with my teams across several time zones, Central,  East Coast and West Coast. I’ve created a system where I focus on East Coast/Central activities in the morning, then shift to West Coast in the afternoon. I follow the sun.  It works well for me.

Charlene: What advice would you give the next generation of media executives?

Suzanne: I figured out early in my career that I had a mantra – look on the bright side and always be learning. Decide what you are passionate about and center yourself around what you like to do. And try and say yes as often as you can. In terms of training, I am a firm believer of recruiting for passion, talent and charisma - the things that can’t be taught, then training for skill and sharing best practices.

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