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OOH Today’s Champion – Denise Mercado

Billups' LA Director, Strategy, on Learning and Leadership

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OOH Today features women and men who Champion and define Outdoor Advertising. Sharing the faces and stories behind the names who add a personal dimension to Out Of Home (OOH).  Relationships are still an important part of OOH and is an Industry where the people behind the company, are as important as the company itself.

Today, we are visiting with Denise Mercado, Director, Strategy at Billups, Los Angeles.

 

Denise Mercado, has 11 years in the Out of Home Industry, working with the agency planning and placement side the entire time. Denise graduated from Cal State Northridge, with a Bachelors in Business Administration and emphasis in Marketing.  Her first OOH position was an assistant Account Executive at Outdoor Services.  In 2010, she joined Billups, the largest Independent OOH agency in the US and has been there for the last eight years.  She is born and raised in Los Angeles and is a human Zagat (ask her about the trendiest places to eat in Los Angeles, or the hippest bars to sip a cocktail).

Contact: Denise.Mercado@billups.com  phone: 310.908.0353

 

 

Here is our conversation with Denise Mercado.

BB:  How did you find your way into the OOH business?

DM:  This is so cliché, but it was an accident.  I have a degree in Business / Marketing and interviewed several places after I graduated.  Kathie Wright & Kristin Carlin made the job seem fun (they weren’t lying!).  The choice was between being an Assistant AE in OOH, or a Cable TV sales assistant.  OOH sounded like a better fit for me.

BB:  You have been on the buy side for over 10 years. With the last nearly 8 years with Billups.  What has kept you in the planning and buying agency business?  What is it about Billups you enjoy?

DM:  You know those people who order the same thing every time they go to a restaurant? I am not one of those people.  I have to try something new each time.  This is why I love OOH:  It is continually evolving; there is always something new to learn.  I thrive in this kind of environment. 

Billups is an agency that is very fast paced, with constant changes as we adapt to the evolving OOH landscape.  You have to be relentless and tenacious to make it in this company.  You do what you have to do to get things done, and there isn’t a lot “red tape”.  The leadership team allows us to feel empowered by giving us the freedom to get things done. I have a great sense of ownership and accountability for my work. 

Billups is an agency that is very fast paced, with constant changes as we adapt to the evolving OOH landscape.  The leadership team allows us to feel empowered by giving us the freedom to get things done. I have a great sense of ownership and accountability for my work. 

BB:  What is the most important things a seller should be cognitive of when working with planning and buying services?  What about when a seller is working with Denise?   

DM:  Be responsive.  It seems so simple, but a quick “got your email, working on it” goes a long way. 

When working with me, I need clear communication.  If you have bad news to deliver, I need it straight – no beating around the bush.  If there are issues, I don’t want to hear about them without viable solutions.   

BB:  What do you attribute to your personal success in planning and placing OOH?

DM:  3 things:

1. Relationship building: Creating and maintaining relationships with coworkers, suppliers, and clients.  In this industry, relationships are everything.  Having a great relationship with your suppliers will allow you to deliver the best rates and plans to clients.    Having harmonious relationships with coworkers fosters collaboration, which will enable you to deliver amazing to your clients.  Having relationships with your clients allows you to get insights on what their needs are and how you can fulfill them. 

2. Being a champion of the words “Yes, and” vs. “Yes, but”  This is a great exercise for teams – it allows everyone to be heard without judgment.  Instead of saying “Yes, but what about xyz” or “Yes but what if blah blah” “Yes, but” is an idea killer. 

3. Embracing the new technological advances that make us faster and smarter.

BB:  Share what you have done for OOH you are most proud of?  

DM:  I’m proud to be an instrumental part of Billups’ success over the past eight years.  I’ve been managing some of our key accounts and have had consistent organic growth on most of them.  I remember when we were the new kids on the block that no one wanted to play with.  Fast forward to 2018, and we are the largest independent OOH agency in the U.S.

I remember when we were the new kids on the block that no one wanted to play with.  Fast forward to 2018, and we are the largest independent OOH agency in the U.S.

BB:  Do you have a prediction for the future of OOH? 

DM:  It’s going to get much easier to buy with the evolution of programmatic OOH, and the data we use to recommend units based on target audience is going to get stronger.  

BB:  Is there anyone you most admire or credit to providing significant influence in your Outdoor career?

DM:  Kathie Wright, who taught me the importance of vendor relationships. Kristin Carlin, who is honestly one of the brightest in this industry.  She is the first person I go to when I need advice or am stumped on something.  Ben Billups, who broke my “this is the way things need to be done” mentality.  Rick Robinson for teaching me the importance of establishing Ethos in the industry, as well as the importance of storytelling in our proposals and presentations.   Candice Simons –  I admire the success she has had with building her company.  I see her making Money Moves and doing her thing; it is inspiring.

BB: Here’s a magic wand; Change 3 things in OOH Industry today. What is missing in the OOH Community? What is your solution?

DM:

1.     More women in leadership positions

2.     More women in leadership positions

3.     More women in leadership positions.

1.     More women in leadership positions

2.     More women in leadership positions

3.     More women in leadership positions.

BB: Thank you, Denise. We wish you continued success.

DM: It was fun BB.

Contact: Denise.Mercado@billups.com
Phone: 310.908.0353

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