PubForum Profiles: Dennis Colon, Condé Nast

Condé Nast's Dennis Colon: How He and His Team Stay Ahead

Thirteen years ago, Dennis Colon took a job at Conde Nast that no one else wanted. Now as Senior Director of Revenue and Advertising Operations, he’s a major force in the sweeping changes that have shook up the media giant’s revenue business in the last few years. In the video below, Colon dives into the evolution of Conde’s ad initiatives, how structure produces efficiencies and how operations stays on the cusp of ad tech innovation.

Rob Beeler: In many ways, Conde continues to be at the forefront of operational issues (viewability, native, programmatic direct, etc.) – how are you able to do that?

Dennis Colon: We try as best as we can to be at the forefront or part of the conversation when it comes to new products or initiatives. This allows us to be a part of the development of new products as well as frame the conversation.

We normally start out with an internal committee of all the stakeholders. We first define the product internally as well as the players in the vendor space. Followed by what the impact would be within our current state followed by suggested changes. We then figure out which vendor we will partner with after conducting tests with all of the players. We then will work out roll outs per site as we need to get buy in for each brand and corporate.

RB: What skill do you possess that’s helped you succeed in Ad Operations?

DC: The biggest skill or mindset for me and the folks I look to hire is the ability to excel in a position where you may not know what you are going to be doing on any given day.  The key is being resourceful because generally you are the only person in the organization tasked with solving issues we face. I tend to look at tasks as putting together a puzzle that has continuous add-ons, which may change over time.

RB: What’s the next big challenge you are taking on in 2014?

DC: Our next big focus will be on the groups themselves. We are trying to be a bigger part of the continued sales process. From early stage [pitches] to post-sales, I want the team to be viewed by sales as ad-tech consultants, who can help tell whatever story they are trying to get across to clients by providing tech/operational approach, while [also] making it easier for them to understand.