Current gig Chief marketing officer, Entercom Communications
Previous gig Executive vice president of corporate marketing, Univision
Adweek: Why the move from Univision to Entercom?
Ruth Gaviria: Entercom and Univision are similar in that each is the best kept secret in its industry. My role at Univision was to relaunch the brand and have it be recognized for the audience it can deliver and for its opportunity to compete with the English- language broadcast networks. I had a great run at Univision, and I love that company. Entercom is the fourth-largest and best-performing radio broadcaster in the country. I want more people to be aware of that. Similar to Univision, my job here is to be a brand architect, and to make sure that Entercom receives the recognition it deserves.
You are the first chief marketing officer for the company. What are some of your responsibilities and expectations for this role?
The role of CMO at a radio group is a fairly new one. My job is to increase awareness about what the company has done for over 49 years, and to tell advertisers that radio is special because it's live, it's local and it's personal. I also want to develop a strong corporate communications practice so that people know the story of Entercom. Additionally, I am in the process of creating an "active marketing function" for supporting local markets based on promotion, and to be increasingly more scaled. Lastly, every CMO needs to understand how to read the digital, behavioral and audience analytics to court business where it makes sense.
How are you convincing advertisers that a radio company like Entercom should be part of their media strategy?
It comes down to case studies. We want to show advertisers how their competitors have benefited from radio. Radio doesn't fail. What sometimes fails is the type of campaign, the creative, and the fact that marketers don't always use the full range of radio. We have on-air personalities who can seamlessly endorse what they need to endorse, and we can make that endorsement genuine and authentic.
Talk a little more about the importance of Entercom's local connection and how it's different from television.
Because we are custom programmed, the load of commercials in every one of our radio stations is different. That's not the case with TV. We also want to foster an environment that is not only consumer and audience-friendly, but also advertiser-friendly. We connect in real time. Additionally, advertisers and agencies sometimes ask me, "Why shouldn't I just buy for Pandora?" I tell them Pandora isn't going to give them an ecosystem where someone is going to actively tune into their message. Also, Pandora is consumed in homes, while most of radio is consumed out-of-home. We are so laser focused in investing in local talent, local content and local marketing solutions.
Prior to Entercom, you held high-level marketing roles at Univision and Meredith, focusing in the Hispanic space for both. How are you tapping into that experience for your current role?
When you start looking at millennials, Gen Xers and the overall fabric of our country, it's important to realize that diversity and inclusion are essential in order to thrive in radio. For example, we have a set of radio stations in Miami. Our mission is to be the most hyper-local media company in Miami. Close to 30 percent of our audience is Hispanic. By default, based on how we manage our business, we are Hispanic. Radio really is about telling stories and celebrating all kinds of people, and we do it beautifully.
When it's all said and done, what do you want your legacy at Entercom to be?
I want my legacy to be that I was able to turn Entercom into a household name on Madison Avenue and in local markets. I believe that the company deserves significant recognition based on its mission, which is to leverage the power of the local connection and to focus on servicing the community.
This story first appeared in the December 5, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.