Six Questions for Squarespace's Chris Paul.

At the March 2nd Seller Forum we'll discuss the changing relationship between marketer and publisher. Chris Paul, VP of Media and Acquisition at Squarespace, will play a key role in that discussion. Here he is the latest guest in our "six questions" series.

  1. Aside from TV buying, Squarespace handles its advertising in-house and deals with publishers and media providers directly. Why?

Short answer - We're a private technology company and we adopt a "build first" mentality in all things; only buying or partnering when we need to.

Long answer - We've recruited a brilliant team of media strategists who understand our customers and prospective customers. They have the command of the media landscape that's only gained by personal exploration - meetings and media kits won't cut it. And they're enabled by media and ad tech that have democratized the buying process, where speed and accountability outweigh volume discounts.

  1. Yours may not be an approach that's right for all marketers but certainly for some. What are the common characteristics for marketers who might be successful following the path taken by Squarespace?

We certainly couldn't take this approach without direct access to our business performance metrics; substantive data to forecast a measurable return. We obviously don't limit ourselves to direct response channels or product-driven creative concepts, but even our brand efforts are tracked through to near and long term business growth. And since we're releasing product updates throughout the year, we maintain fluid budgets across channels and quarters to allow for reactive or opportunistic investments to promote them.

This week's Drift is proudly underwritten by Index Exchange, the principled exchange for publishers. The people behind Index engineer the best technology to create a neutral, transparent exchange that enables digital publishers and suppliers to sell their ad impressions in real time, and gives them the data, knowledge and context they need to understand and act.

  1. You've said "the process doesn't end with somebody seeing the ad." This sounds bigger than just attribution and accountability. Is it?

It's actually much more of a creative comment. It's crucially important for marketers to explore the range of possibilities when communicating in interactive environments - every brand claim should invite a response. If the internet's taught us anything it's that the brands who respond, win. The people are commenting, sharing and listening.

  1. If the 'left brain' of marketing is data and delivery and the 'right brain' is creativity and integration, have you found publishers who bring you 'the whole brain?'

That's very difficult to find, but I don't blame the publishers. If they can focus on the editorial and audience expertise, I'm happy to keep the analytics internal or in conjunction with our 3rd party ad tech.

  1. What are we talking too much about and what are we not focusing on enough?

Too much about the means (viewability, ad fraud, programmatic, native) and not enough about the ends (attribution, acquisition, loyalty). It's not to say that the means aren't worthy of our attention, but they're too often the centerpiece of the conversation / conference / thought piece without the necessary context for why they matter to our industry.

  1. Finish this sentence: "As a marketer, I'm most proud of...."

"...the way we tell our brand story with the new creators - the podcasters, the YouTube producers, the bands, the entrepreneurs."

If you're a qualified media sales leader and haven't yet reserved your seat for the Seller Forum, reach out to us now.