Lynda Clarizio has seen the world of advertising evolve from several vantage points thanks to a varied career that goes back to the early days of the commercial Internet. Now president of U.S. media at Nielsen, her overriding advice to attendees at the closing keynote of the 2017 Customer Intelligence Summit’s first day: Take risks, embrace challenges, and be yourself.
Clarizio has spent the 15 years as a successful executive in the media industry growing and scaling advertising businesses. She joined Nielsen in August 2013 as President, U.S. Media. In her role, she leads the performance of Nielsen’s Watch business in the United States, where she manages the teams supporting Nielsen’s media clients across national and local television, digital and audio, as well as the teams working with its growing roster of advertiser and agency clients.
Prior to Nielsen, Clarizio was the executive VP for corporate development and operations at AppNexus, a leading programmatic advertising platform. Other previous roles include CEO and president of INVISION, Inc., a provider of multi-platform advertising solutions to the media industry, and a decade at AOL, which she joined in 1999 and served as the company consolidated advertising businesses. She also served as president of Advertising.com, then the industry’s largest third party online advertising network.
Suffice to say, Clarizio has had a front-row seat to watch and shape the transformation of the advertising industry.
3 key career decisions
Clarizio said she’s had to make a lot of decisions over the course of her career. Some were good, some were bad. But the three most impactful moments in her career involved taking risks and taking on big challenges.
The first was choosing to attend Princeton University where she was in one of the early classes of women undergraduates. “We were told in 1978 that we as women were going to make a difference in the world and that we could compete successfully in the workplace as female leaders.”
In 1999, Clarizio decided to leave a successful legal practice in the Washington, D.C. area to work for one of her “small” clients: AOL. “I did that because I thought they were going to be involved in something really big—the Internet. I decided I wanted to be a part of that.”
After 15 years at AOL, her next big decision was to raise her hand to become president of one of AOL’s subsidiaries, Advertising.com, in 2005. “It was really one of the first companies that was developing a programmatic exchange for the buying and selling of advertising. I was really at the forefront of those efforts.”
Making these major leaps throughout her professional life has taught Clarizio resilience and not to be afraid to take on big challenges. You may fail, she said, but you will learn from it. Most important, Clarizio learned the value of being herself. “Differences should be celebrated.”
Be adaptive, be honest
Nielsen, where she works now, is more than a century old because it’s been adaptive.
Its TV measurement legacy has been greatly influential in advertising, but it has evolved with modern technologies to address total audience measurement—all devices and all platforms. What hasn’t changed at Nielsen, Clarizio said, is the philosophy of being “influenced by nothing but your client’s interest. Tell the truth.” She spends a lot of time listening to clients, but also telling them the truth even if they don’t like it.
More change is coming
Media is continuing to evolve at rapid pace and so are people’s habits.
Clarizio said media consumption will plateau, which is understandable, given there are only so many hours in the day. Over the next three to five years, the media industry will become a more mature market from the consumer’s perspective, and this will have dramatic implications for media, including the convergence of media advertising into one market and great deal of industry consolidation.
Meanwhile, Big Data will become more useful and more transparent, she said, and advertising buying will become more audience / person-based across different media, including TV.