Never underestimate the power of an internship. Becky Jones, newly promoted to SVP of Marketing and Research at Viamedia, is living proof of that.
As a student at Eastern Kentucky University, Jones had a summer internship at Insight Communications. “I decided right then I was going to go into cable in some
way,” she says. Her first job was in hospitality, however. “I was just waiting for the opportunity to get into cable.” Eventually she gained a research position with TCI just as it was being acquired by AT&T. When Jeff Carter left AT&T to start Viamedia, Jones joined him, becoming one of the firm’s original employees and helping to establish its sales support infrastructure.
Now as a 14-year veteran of cable, including 12 with Viamedia, Jones, one of her company’s most senior women, is “passionate about giving back.” That means doing all she can to provide the opportunity to others that she had; not surprisingly, she’s a big advocate of internships. “We have had interns here every summer,” she says, noting she is a mentor through WICT and the T. Howard Foundation. Appearing at college career fairs also is a priority for Viamedia, she says.
Thanks in part to Jones, Viamedia this year announced a program to donate $2 million in advertising time for The Ad Council’s campaigns that support United Way, Feeding America and Goodwill.
With main of_ ces in NY City and Lexington, Kentucky, Viamedia lets MVPDs do what they do best, Jones says: create satis_ ed customers with their video, voice, data and now increasingly security systems. “They contract with us,” Jones says, “to outsource their local advertising sales… we take care of everything, sales, back of_ ce, production… it’s turnkey.” It’s also focus and service. “Since advertising sales business is Viamedia’s only business, our focus is wholly on the success of our MVPD partners… When they grow, we grow.” Customer service also is key. “Our business has to be about that,” she says.
Jones has two major roles: primary oversight for branding, marketing and positioning the company to general media markets to drive awareness and new business; and providing support to the sales team. She is most proud of the series of 13 print ads that position the company. Winner of a Silver Addy award, the distinctive ads with their purple background appear regularly in cable trades. “We’re very strategic about where we place our ads and how we promote our brand,” she says.
Of course we have to ask, ‘Purple?’ “We wanted something memorable and different, eye catching and that stood out from the crowd,” Jones says. “When we started Viamedia, we had grand plans to change the color in our logo periodically, but quickly realized purple set us apart. Now when you see a purple ad, you know
Positioning Viamedia, Jones says, also means doing a lot of af_ liation with groups like NCTC, ACA, WICT, NCTA and many others. “We have to make sure we are staying ahead of technology and trends, attending the right [industry] meetings, sponsoring the right events, getting on the right panels.”
Supporting Viamedia’s sales team of about 300 with research means providing “tools, presentations and research to help them sell,” she says.
Jones’ efforts are working. Since signing WOW! as its _ rst partner, Viamedia has grown to 53 partners in 66 DMAs, 400 employees and has relationships with more than 12,000 unique advertisers.
As Viamedia President/CEO Mark Lieberman says, “Becky has been essential to our rise… she has proven to be a visionary leader, and her deep industry knowledge an insights are highly valued as we look to the future.” That’s what you get when you hire a former Insight intern.
The 7 dots in Viamedia’s logo represent the 7 original
team members of the company, including Jones.
Viamedia sees advertising moving toward impressionbased
sales. It works with Nielsen and even more with
Rentrak, Jones says.