Fairfax Media has launched a new commercial division dedicated to building its product offerings and creating stronger connections with key advertisers across the company’s core categories of retail, finance, automotive and travel, including opportunities in content marketing.
The division, to be called Brand Solutions and Client Development, will be headed by former group sales director of the Financial Review Group, Michael Grenenger, as director – brand solutions.
A team of brand and audience experts will report to Mr Grenenger while working closely with product, agency and direct sales teams, as well as editorial, to create unique opportunities around content and audience integration for advertisers.
The brand solutions team members are “our product evangelists”, Mr Grenenger said.
“People with a really deep understanding – say of the Financial Review or Good Weekend – who work with our editorial and agency sales teams to produce best of breed advertising solutions for our clients.
“We want these guys more on the front foot and in market because of their deep understanding of our clients and our product.”
It was important the brand solutions team have a good working relationship with editorial staff in terms of what’s coming up, new sections and events, he said, including opportunities with Fairfax’s content marketing division, headed by Simon Smith.
“[There will be opportunities] where we can create curated or bespoke content for commercial partners to run in their channels or in ours. We have a broad range of offerings, even syndication.”
Fairfax Media commercial director Tom Armstrong said a core part of strategy behind the appointment was to increase the company’s expertise in the business operations of advertisers and to offer marketing solutions.
“We have a fantastic portfolio of iconic brands with highly engaged audiences and this new team will strive to provide creative and innovative ways of connecting advertisers to them,” Mr Armstrong said.
“The client development team will drive analytical insights and thought leadership in their categories through the creation of ‘category hubs’ and ‘client knowledge centres’, enabling much stronger collaboration with agencies and advertisers. I’m really excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Mr Grenenger has more than 30 years’ experience in business development and media sales and said the publisher was “extremely proud” to be able to promote its assets from within its own sales team.
“We’ve drawn in great new talent from other parts of the industry.”
The work of the two teams also has the potential to branch out beyond newspaper assets.
While the brand solutions team looks after all Fairfax products, client development is “quite different”, Mr Grenenger explained. “They have a deeper understanding of who our clients are, in order to build a strategy for each client.”
This would take in each client’s competitive landscape and strategic roles for the year.
It’s not about cutting out agencies, he said, “but making sure we have a deeper understanding so that what we communicate with our agencies is what the client really wants to achieve.
The client development division was as much a resource for Fairfax’s agency community as for its top tier clients, he added.
“They ensure that everything we do resonates with the client’s mission.”
The new division kicks off operations from Wednesday, with all but two roles filled.
The client development team directors are former Fairfax national sales director of arts, entertainment, sport and drive, Omri Godijn, heading up travel; former Fairfax national sales director magazines, Alex Glennon, on retail; Bryan Marshman, from Bauer Media, on automotive; and former Fairfax head of data partnerships, Danielle Szetho on banking and finance.
Brand solutions has Nicki Singh, formerly of Bauer Media and News Corp Australia, as director of business and Andrew Schutt, who has been with Fairfax for 10 years, heading up Victoria, with two director roles for Life Media and entertainment/sport/drive currently being recruited.
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