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Trusted Media Brands’ Chief Digital Officer Is Focused On Improving User Experience
Get to Know: Vincent Errico, the newly appointed Chief Digital Officer for Trusted Media Brands, Inc.
Formerly known as Reader’s Digest, Trusted Media Brands, Inc. (TMBI), is a global media company with several well-known US and international brands under its belt, including “Reader’s Digest,” “Taste of Home” and “The Family Handyman.”
TMBI’s extensive portfolio of brands reaches more than 53 million unique users and 40 million social media fans every month. This past October, the company named Vincent Errico its Chief Digital Officer and tasked the veteran digital marketer with continuing to grow its digital audiences, as well as generating revenue across the full TMBI portfolio.
Still new to his position, Errico says he’s working on several significant projects right now.
“While I can’t yet reveal the details, I can share that our main focus is on improving the user experience across all brands and devices and making it as engaging as possible for our users in order to drive revenue,” says Errico.
With more than three decades of digital strategy and leadership experience, Errico previously served as the SVP and general manager of Lifestyle properties for Everyday Health, Inc. before joining TMBI.
During his time at Everyday Health, the publisher behind brands like South Beach Diet, Jillian Michaels and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Errico launched the most downloaded mobile app in the pregnancy and parenting category.
He’s also held strategic planning and leadership roles at American Express Company, Visa International and Charles Schwab.
Errico earned his Bachelors degree from the University of California at Berkley and an MBA from the Columbia Business School.
What mobile device can you not live without?
My new iPhone 6s.
Which apps do you use most often for work?
I use the email app most often. When I’m away from my desk, walking between meetings or commuting to or from work, I’m constantly checking email.
I also frequently use the Safari browser. I’m constantly researching and benchmarking our mobile experience to other mobile-optimized sites.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
I use Facebook the most, out of all the social media platforms. This is mostly because they’re the big gorilla in the space right now and have the largest number of people in their network overall.
It’s a great way to keep up with what’s going on with algorithmic changes to the news feed, which, of course, has an impact to the TMBI business.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
I check email most often, but news and weather are a close second.
Take me through your typical workday.
My workday starts when I’m still at home. I check emails that were sent overnight, because at the end of the day we are a global corporation. In the morning, while I have my coffee, I answer any emails that require an immediate response.
I’m very lucky because I live close enough to walk to work. Once I get into the office, I review what I’m doing that day on the calendar and what’s on my to-do list. Then I really just dive in.
I’m frequently in back-to-back meetings, so mornings and evenings are the best times for me to focus on other items of work, particularly things that require a quiet stretch of time for strategic or creative thinking.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
I’ve only been here for six weeks, but I’ve already discovered that TMBI is extremely enthusiastic about digital as a whole. I’m very excited to be able to take that enthusiasm and help shape it and move it toward a focused and growth-oriented strategy.
What’s your travel schedule like?
I’ve only traveled to Milwaukee and White Plains for TMBI so far. Milwaukee is home to several of our brands, including “Taste of Home” and the amazing “Taste of Home Test Kitchen.”
Milwaukee is a very interesting city. It’s beautiful in its own way — and is right on the lake. It has these great old brick factory buildings with huge windows that are being turned into lofts for living and work.
There’s also a bit of a “foodie culture” there that was unexpected, including some great coffee places where they roast their own beans. I’m excited to know that I’ll be a more frequent visitor and looking forward to exploring the city some more.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
There are two big ones. First is how to quickly grow digital revenue streams through existing and new digital efforts.
Second is how to create the best digital user experiences for different content types and devices. Ultimately, it’s user satisfaction that drives business success.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
Most recently, the two co-founders at Everyday Health have been extremely influential in my career.
Working in the startup environment after coming from a large company background, I learned how to think about things much more creatively, in many different directions simultaneously, and how to be extremely nimble. I worked closely with the two co-founders from the very early days of the business and was there as the business grew larger and larger and changed in significant ways.
I was always impressed how they were always able to find important wins even when at times it didn’t seem possible from my perspective.
In addition, several of the managers that I had at Charles Schwab were instrumental to my personal and professional development. They were intelligent, insightful and supportive, and that’s where I learned how to be a better manager of people and projects, as well as the difference between being a manager and a leader.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
It’s a combination of four things.
First, it’s important to understand all aspects of how various parts of technology work together. That includes everything from content management systems to cookies, platforms and devices, content types and ad tech. It’s impossible to be an expert at everything, but you must have a basic understanding how they all work together.
Second, it’s important to keep up with the latest developments to understand where the industry is going and be able to plan and prepare for that future.
Third, it is important to build strong relationships in the company. Since there are so many stakeholders, there are a lot of relationships to pull together. Aligning goals among areas, rather than allowing them to create divides, is a key part of succeeding in this position.
Finally, you must have a strong user/audience focus. We need to put ourselves in our audience’s shoes to develop the best experiences for our users and determine how to deliver more of the content they want in the context of a great experience. When we keep our audience front and center, then usually everything falls into place.
The consumers are happy because they are getting what they want, and they are fully engaged with us. After all, the advertisers want to be where the consumers are engaged.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
My colleagues probably don’t know that I’m the co-founder of a non-profit organization called Off Assignment (www.OffAssignment.com).
Off Assignment started off as a salon in New York City for well-known writers to share “behind the scenes stories” for their reporting assignments and will soon have an accompanying print publication and digital presence.
It includes such high profile writers as Ted Conover, Pico Iyer and Leslie Jamison, to name just a few. Our motto is “The detour IS the story.”
Why did you go into marketing?
My first job out of college was in the management training program for a financial institution. As part of that program, I had several lengthy rotations in various functional areas of the company, including finance, sales, operations, customer service, product development, marketing, etc.
Of all the functional areas, I found I most enjoyed and had an aptitude in marketing. It seemed to bring together my love of literature and semiotics (which I studied as an undergraduate) and my natural inclination for seeking and measuring results.
What other career would you like to try, and why?
An area that has always intrigued me is neuroscience. I would love to be able to study the brain — how and why it functions the way it does.
What’s the last business book you read?
“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. I liked it because it’s a very practical approach to launching new products, whether you’re a startup or a large established company.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
One ad campaign that recently caught my eye was the Fios “Half Fast” campaign.
Part of what caught my attention was the way “half fast” was pronounced — if you pronounce it quickly, it sounds like something else! I appreciated the humor of it.
But more importantly, as an ad, it did a good job expressing the overall feeling that the general public has about internet speed and quality.