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Planning to Get Consumers to Tune In

This is a busy time for Craig Woerz, cofounder and managing partner at Media Storm. The beginning of the new television season is approaching, and the agency specializes in promoting entertainment properties.

Media Storm’s clients include Food Network, HGTV, FX, Fox, NBCU Movies on Demand, 20th Century Fox and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. The agency has increased its staff by about 50% over the past two years as it has boosted its focus on return on investment.

“Now we’re talking with just as many CFOs as we are talking with CMOs,” Woerz says. “That really has required us to step it up.” Stepping it up has meant putting more people on each client’s business. In addition to planning and buying, the agency is doing more content integration. It also has more robust proprietary research and analytics “to show what moved the needle and what has gotten people to watch,” he says.

Marketing entertainment properties requires being more nimble than most more traditional agencies. With both TV shows and movies, the results show up immediately in Nielsen ratings and box-office results. “It’s a blessing and a curse,” says Woerz. With results coming in on a daily basis, Media Storm can change demos and the media mix on the fly. That’s something that makes other marketers “entertainment- envious,” he says.

An opportunity Media Storm is taking advantage of is social media. The company created a new internal group called HIP Genius that handles earned and social media. HIP stands for High Impact Partnership, and Woerz says “social media literally now is at the center of what we do” in establishing conversations for brands. Social media allows the agency to extend campaigns for its clients. “If we have a one-week budget and I know we should really be out there for 4 or 6 weeks so there’s pre-awareness, I can now use social elements if I build my strategy correctly,” Woerz says.

Media Storm has also begun to get some clients outside of the entertainment industry. It has a relationship with Cisco, working on its Linksys product line. Media Storm also is working with a number of retailers, including Loehmann’s and the For Eyes glasses chain. And it counts a film studio among its other clients.

Woerz grew up in Greenwich, Conn., and went to Trinity College in Hartford; Media Storm is based in South Norwalk. Woerz also knew he always wanted to be in entertainment. He was part of a band, New Brown Hat, that played the H.O.R.D.E. Tour in the 1990s. He moved from music to cable TV, doing marketing for TCI, then Blockbuster, then Time Warner. He and partner Tim Williams started the agency in 2001, which means it will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in November.

When he’s not at the agency, Woerz says he likes to write and play music with his kids, Whitney, 10, and Ashton, 8. Ashton is appearing in the Broadway production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

“It’s fun working with him and going to see him and spending family time in the city now when he’s in the show,” Woerz says.

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