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OOH Agency of the Day Today: Outdoor Nation

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We recently caught up with Kristy Schlepp, CEO at Outdoor Nation, for our perennial Agency of the Day series. If you’re interested in having your OOH agency featured on OOH Today, shoot us an email.

What differentiates ODN from the other buying services? (We know the standard answer is people, but there must be more?)

Profile photo of Kristy Schlepp
Kristy Schlepp

KS: Yes, for sure the people, but we enable our people to execute at the hyper-local level, which still includes market rides, having lunch with vendors and having that one-on-one local working relation on a national scale.

Combine the local approach with our proprietary software called ODEE and that’s what makes us different! ODEE stands for Outdoor End-to-End. We have eliminated spreadsheets from the process, no more static maps, no static photosheets, it is all interactive and automated. The automation goes from RFP to planning, buy, e-signature contracting, and total automation on the production end.

What are three keys to winning new business for ODN?

KS: ODN is an overnight success story 20 years in the making. A lot of OOH specialist are just sales teams knocking on doors, ODN is a media company at its roots. 22 years of market knowledge, great tech, great people. The sales team was the last piece to the puzzle, not the first piece.

What has been your favorite OOH campaign to work on?

KS: We are up for two OBIE’s this week so both of those!

Biggest win over the past year?

KS: Unlike much of the industry, ODN has seen double digit growth in 2020 and 2021, more double-digit growth is coming for 2022! Hard to summarize one single big win as it is a lot of a little.

How has the business been impacted by the pandemic?

KS: It was a rough go for a little while, we went from canceling $7M worth of contracts and considering layoffs to getting the PPP and keeping the team together. In hindsight, it worked out for us, we are 100% privately owned, so we met all the requirements for the PPP loans. We also had really been staffing up from July 2019, which made the PPP loans even bigger, then we doubled our total booked business for the year in fourth quarter 2020 alone. We also launched a point of purchase division in 2019, so our QSR clients ramped up that piece of business printing signage for all of the curbside and drive through related messaging. 2022 will be close to double gross billings of 2019.

With women making up 70% of your staff and a female CEO, is diversity a major focus for you? If so, how do you ensure an equitable and inclusive environment?

KS: We are diverse, but we focus on getting the right people in the right seat always. We focus on GWC (Get it, Want It, Capacity to do it).

What’s on the horizon for ODN?

KS: ODN adopted the Entrepreneur Operating System or EOS. We have a great business mentor in Pam Kosanke, who has helped us greatly to understand where and how ODN is going. Through our core values of gumption, passionate tenacity, proactive problem solving and humble confidence, we now have one-year, three-year, and 10-year goals. The biggest thing to see short term is a ton more IT development as we continue to ramp up the capabilities of ODEE! We continue to scale our teams as we continue to grow and win new business.

Speed Round

Who (brand/advertiser) should be in OOH but isn’t? Chewy.com
Will programmatic reduce agency personnel? Very minimal
Describe the status of OOH programmatic today. 2nd inning
Describe what it will be in 2 years? 5th inning
Are the fees or revenues agencies such as ODN charge today strong enough and heading in the right direction for the planning and placement agencies to survive? Depends. Without a serious investment in a platform, many specialist are going to be left without the tools, efficiencies, and scale to compete in what we view as the coming new normal.
What is the condition of OOH right now May 2022? On Fire!

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