Making the Switch

We hired a new group media director, Cort Gorman, last December. Cort came over from The Richards Group, with whom we’re affiliated. Cort has 21 years of media experience, but until he joined us he had very little interactive background. In those 21 years, he led media efforts for American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Motel 6, Neiman Marcus, Florida Orange Juice, and Sub-Zero. Cort had also worked with us doing Travelocity’s offline media.

My thinking in bringing Cort over was that as an agency we’re growing fast. I wanted someone seasoned to bring a broader strategic perspective to our group. The industry and our clients are beginning to demand tighter integration between on- and offline. I saw this as a way to help us adapt to that need.

Now it’s early April, and Cort’s jumped in with both feet. I thought it would be interesting to publish his perspective on the differences between his old world and his new, the future of integration, and whatever else he wants to share. I sat down with Cort for this conversation.

PL: So what do you think?

CG: I think it’s great. I’m having a really great time. Coming over now is perfect timing. There has been a maturation of interactive marketing. The medium has matured. Users have matured in the way they use it. And brands are really embracing the platform. It’s growing quickly, and it’s a great place to be.

PL: What’s the biggest difference in the two worlds?

CG: They’re kind of night and day. There are a few things you can transfer over from offline to online. But really they’re very different from a planning and management standpoint. There’s so much more that goes into implementing and managing an online campaign. From a media standpoint, online delivers more accountability. From a consumer’s standpoint, online is a more personal experience. You go where you want to go, when you want to go, and you define how long you want to interact. Consumer control is impacting media as a whole. But that trend stems from interactive media. The consumer controlling the experience is really big.

PL: Were there any surprises in the last few months?

CG: When I was working with Click Here in a partnership capacity, I would hear you guys talk about all of the tracking capabilities. To me, the biggest surprise was the whole back end: the tagging of sites, the issues that can arise in that process, view-based vs. click-based, time lag… just the complicated nature of it all. Also, I knew there would be a learning curve, but a learning curve on top of a constantly changing landscape makes it even more challenging.

PL: Do you see one as stronger than the other?

CG: If you’re looking at accountability, online has the upper hand. If you’re looking at awareness, I think the jury’s still out. We’ve been able to prove that online can build awareness. But people still gravitate to offline if they have an awareness objective. I think that tendency will change over time.

PL: Where do you see the future of media?

CG: Media, overall, will begin to resemble interactive. There are so many benefits in what we’re doing online that will translate offline: the accountability, the personal experience, it’s so dynamic. We can change rapidly to meet the consumer’s needs. And at the same time, we’re optimizing creative faster, resulting in a more relevant and effective experience for the consumer and the brand.

PL: How do you think agencies should handle media integration?

CG: I think we have a really effective model. Click Here is a defined entity specializing in interactive. The Richards Group’s media operation specializes in offline. But we work very closely. We’re in the same building, sitting among each other, sharing ideas, challenges, and solutions. Click Here being separately defined allows us to specialize and build a best-in-class interactive operation. With the changing interactive landscape, interactive really needs specialists. Here, we have both specialists (online and offline) developing plans together.

PL: Anything else?

CG: I’m having a really great time. It’s rejuvenated me after 21 years. I’ve had a love affair with media for 21 years. I knew that if I wanted to continue to be passionate about media, I needed to add interactive to the equation. I’m really glad I made the move.

Cort’s been a great addition to our team. I thought it would benefit ClickZ’s readers to hear what someone new to our medium has to say about it. If you’ve recently moved over or have comments on Cort’s perspective, let me know.

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