- Kirsten Ballard
Renee Lopez-Cantera is the Audience Growth and Initiatives Manager at the Miami Herald Media Company responsible for direct response print and digital customer acquisitions. She plans and executes digital sales campaigns not only for the South East Region of the McClatchy Newspaper Company, but works with a national McClatchy Digital Sales Team on strategy and creative templates for all 29 newspapers. She has been honored with the Herald Hero award and Neighbors4Neighbors Community Leader Award for Service.
1. What drew you to working in news media?
I’ve always been intrigued by consumer behavior and marketing and the study of psycho-graphics, which is defined as the classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.
The traits of a news reader are usually inquisitive, discerning and community-minded. What better place to engage in sales and marketing than at the local newspaper? I actually started out working at the Miami Herald on our signature Community program called the Silver Knights, which is one of the nation’s most highly regarded student awards programs. The purpose of this awards program is to recognize outstanding students who have not only maintained good grades but have also unselfishly applied their special knowledge and talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities.
2. Tell me about your community engagements and how that engagement drives you at work?
I am active donating time and treasure with a few local charities such as the United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and New World School of the Arts.
Volunteerism is one of the things I am really passionate about. Living a balanced life where I’m energized with family and community has propelled and motivated me to strive harder in all I do, including in the work-place.
I’ve gained leadership experience working on community nonprofit boards and committees and well as serving as the Marketing Chair for a children’s health initiative. I’ve taken those organizational and leadership skills back to our media team to accomplish goals and drive initiatives.
3. What is the most exciting thing you are currently working on?
I’m currently working with our digital audience team of consumer marketers across all of McClatchy’s 29 markets to create best practices, templates, programs and evaluate digital vendor opportunities. Spotting and cultivating digital growth opportunities is very exciting to me.
4. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned about growing an audience?
I’ve witnessed how important collecting emails has been in engaging with our customer-base. Consumers are observant, and they often-times respond well to witty and sometimes entertaining themes.
In marketing to audiences there is a good mix of art and science when creating promotional campaigns. I have found it helpful to trust my gut reaction to promotional creative; however, any good marketer knows the importance of frequent A/B testing and data.
5. How do you see the future of news media?
The news media industry has been changing rapidly with the explosion of mobile readership. Readers want 24-hour access and are demanding colorful and engaging story-telling. The rise of video, social and mobile access along with an individualized and superior customer experience is certainly playing an impactful role in shaping readership. Big data and consumer engagement behavior is also shaping the future of readership.
Five Answers is a weekly series that features a member of the newspaper industry answering five questions. If you’d like to participate, email Kirsten Ballard.