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Lynn Bolger

Exec. Vice President, Agency Development | 21 Mar 2003

The information about Internet and how people use it and transact on it, needs to be unlocked to demonstrate the true value of the medium to advertisers, agencies and media sellers alike.

Very few professionals have managed to make a successful transition from traditional media expert to a new media pioneer. And Lynn Bolger is one of those few ones. She has recently joined as Executive Vice President-Agency Development at comScore, the leading US based Internet audience and behavioral measurement firm. Bolger oversees the continued development and delivery of leading edge media applications for agencies at comScore.

With more than 15 years of experience at major advertising agencies before beginning her digital media career in 1992, Bolger is a both a traditional media expert and a new media pioneer. Prior to joining comScore she was the Founder, Managing Director and CEO of FastBridge, a subsidiary of Initiative Media and a member of the Interpublic Group of Companies. FastBridge is a respected provider of interactive media services including media planning, buying and strategic consulting services.

Previously, Bolger was Senior Vice President and Director of Web Media at APL Digital, where she headed a cross-discipline team that crafted innovative online advertising strategies and negotiated breakthrough deals for clients such as Compaq and UPS. In addition, she managed the development and implementation of research and database systems critical to the delivery of optimized Web-based marketing efforts.

Bolger also worked as the Director of Marketing Services during the early days of Softbank Interactive Marketing, the media sales organization that first handled online ad sales for Yahoo!, Netscape, ZDNet and others. She got her start in new media in 1992 while working at True North's TN Media, where she helped establish the agency's first interactive capability.

A recognized leader and policy-maker in the online marketing industry, she has held past positions on the Steering Committees of both FAST and the IAB. In addition, she has chaired the Interactive Marketing and Technologies Committee of the AAAA.

In an exclusive interview with Akshay Bhatnagar of exchange4media, Lynn Bolger shares her views on the issues confronting the growth of interactive marketing globally and how to really make a difference to the online media buying and selling scenario.

Q. What motivated you to join comScore?

I feel this is the best vantage point to influence the marketplace. comScore hold the key to the richest information about the Internet and how people use it and transact on it. This information needs to be unlocked to demonstrate the true value of the medium for advertisers, agencies, and media sellers alike. I'm confident that the work we'll do here over the next several months will influence online advertising and marketing models well into the future.

Q. What is your job profile at comScore?

I'm responsible for agency development, which means driving sales and developing products that best meet agency needs.

Q. How is it different from your previous assignments?

I've spent most of my career on the agency side doing the buying. Where as now, I'm selling instead of buying.

Q. You have been into both traditional as well as new media. Don't you think the industry professionals needs to be educated about effectiveness of interactive marketing?

Yes, I believe that there's still a good deal of educating to be done as majority of the advertising professionals themselves are not so educated or convinced about the effectiveness of interactive marketing.

Q. A recent study by IAB cites effectiveness of interactive advertising in number of cases. Then why advertisers are still shying away from online marketing tools?

I believe that it has got largely to do with how the medium is packaged and sold. It's difficult to get any immediacy with online advertising since most campaigns are flighted over 4 weeks and individual sites are not bought at 'breakthrough' levels. Essentially, I believe the money that is spent is too fragmented and, as a result, advertisers can't 'feel' the impact.

Q. What has been your experience in making companies increase their online ad spends?

It has been a mixed affair, at best. But better measurement, better reporting and better modelling tools are all on the way. And that will help.

Q. Your clients were satisfied with online advertising done with you?

Yes definitely all of them except one.

Q. In you opinion, which sectors of the industry are more suitable and open to interactive marketing methods?

I think automotive, travel, financial, entertainment and pharmaceutical are the most obvious ones. But there are potential applications across the board.

Q. What are the issues in your opinion that needs to be addressed or sorted out to really push for the interactive marketing's cause?

Well, the creative technology and media process both needs to be simplified. Not necessarily standardized, but simplified to push for the cause of interactive marketing.

Q. The online media has made the task tougher for a media planner and a buyer as the web space is difficult to gauge. How one should tackle this problem?

That's simple. Subscribe to comScore Media Metrix data!

Q. Today marketers are evaluating media options by focusing on the actions the consumer is expected to take instead of reach or frequency metrics. Where does online media fits in here?

See, traditional planners and their clients would love to plan or buy online with traditional metrics like reach and frequency. comScore is currently working hard -- both independently and in partnership with others like IMS, Telmar and Doubleclick -- to deliver the needed tools to the marketplace. Once traditional research needs have been met I'm certain we'll see many more traditional media ad dollars move into online media. But that's not to say that direct response requirements will disappear. There will always be DR inventory available online, just as there is in cable TV.

Q. What is your message to brand marketers on using interactive marketing in a market like India?

Focus on the strategic value of online media and integrate it with the overall marketing process.

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