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Interview with Hernan Lopez, Founder & CEO at Wondery

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Hernan Lopez, Founder & CEO at Wondery
[mnky_team name=”Hernan Lopez” position=” Founder & CEO at Wondery”][/mnky_team]
[mnky_testimonial_slider][mnky_testimonial name=”” author_dec=”” position=”Designer”]“The ads work best when there is a genuine connection between the host of a show and the product they’re advertising.”[/mnky_testimonial][/mnky_testimonial_slider]

On Marketing Technology

MTS: Tell us about your role at Wondery and how you got here? (What inspired you to be a part of a technology innovation company?)

Before I launched Wondery, I was the CEO of Fox International Channels. At some point, I became convinced that smartphones were becoming the “first screen” for many people – and I wanted to create a media company that was smartphone-centered, yet in a space that was young enough that the whole ecosystem was still being shaped. I also wanted to be a passionate consumer of the product. Podcasts were the only form of media that checked every box.

MTS: Given the shifting dynamic of social media engagement with the B2B customers, how do you see audio-on demand networks evolving in the coming years?

Podcasts are the place where you can have substantive, meaningful conversations, whereas in social media you can engage through short bursts of attention. The kind of messages that B2B customers need to convey are more suited for the long-form, personal style of podcasts.

MTS: How should marketers plan adoption of audio on-demand platforms into their content marketing stack?

Marketers should follow the consumer: they spend 4 hours a day with audio (second only to video), and a lot of that time is moving to mobile, specifically to podcasting. This year, the IAB reported that ad spend going to podcasts is growing by 85%, after having grown by 75% – yet any large brand can still achieve a significant share of voice by allocating a relatively small share of their overall budget.

MTS: How are CMOs allocating budget for podcasts? How are these tools identified, measured, and tracked for ROI?

Podcasts have long been an important part of the marketing mix for businesses that sell online. They’ll measure ROI through custom URLs and promo codes. Branding advertisers, such as packaged goods, cars or luxury products, measure ROI through brand lift studies across the funnel.

MTS: What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs must address while integrating automation and targeting tools with audio-on demand platforms?

The ads work best when there is a genuine connection between the host of a show and the product they’re advertising. Finding and nurturing this connection is not something that’s easily automated.

MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?

Wondery, and our dynamic ad insertion platform, Art19

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?

Podcast ads are the most advertising effective medium to promote our product, i.e. podcasts. We complement those buys with social media and are exploring email marketing.

MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)

We ran a campaign for DoveMen+Care using immersive ads, one of our signature host-read ad with sound effects. DoveMen+Care was launching “Elements”, a new range of products with ingredients inspired by nature. We ran immersive ads on four shows and we surveyed their listeners. MetrixLab ran a test/control brand lift study, and this campaign generated outstanding ad awareness, a 23-point lift in brand awareness and a 13-point lift in purchase intent for “Elements.”

Read AlsoCannes’ Festival of Creativity is the Cradle of MarTech and AdTech Innovation

MTS: How was your presentation at Cannes received? Given that you were the only podcast network to present?

Our presentation, Storytelling in The Dark, was the first-ever Cannes presentation in pitch-black darkness, and is centered on the idea that sound is more important in influencing emotions than people realize. Sound is received by the brain before sight, smell or touch. This idea is as valuable to advertisers as it is to creators of audio shows because it gives hosts the power to turn every creative ad brief into an audio drama. The audience loved the presentation. We had 1000+ Cannes attendees wearing Wondery eye-masks in the middle of the afternoon, and overheard people talking about it for the rest of the festival.

Read MoreCannes Lions Exclusive: How the AOR Cycle is Killing Creativity

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?

I start by being a frequent user of everyday AI applications including Alexa, and seeing the impact they have on my own purchasing behavior.

This Is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.


MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

The staple on my phone is Apple Podcasts.

MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

I like the Salesforce Inbox app. It takes a lot of the administrative tasks out of email. I can compose an email when it’s convenient for me, but it won’t send until the recipient is online, so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)

I just finished Out on The Wire, by Jessica Abel. I highly recommend it; it’s a fascinating look inside the storytelling techniques of radio legends and podcast creators. I take in information every way possible, almost exclusively through my iPhone.

MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t try to impress people.

MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

I spend a lot of time trying to evaluate the relationship between cause and effect.

MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:

Daryl Lee of Universal McCann.

MTS: Thank you Hernan! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.


Hernan Lopez is Founder and CEO of Wondery, a new media company specialized in Mobile and On-Demand Audio. Wondery creates and curates high-quality podcasts to make them available to consumers, brands and paid audio platforms, and provides writers with a new storytelling medium.

Hernan started his career in radio and went on to become President and CEO of Fox International Channels (FIC) until early 2016. During his 18-year tenure, including 5 as CEO and 3 as COO, FIC grew to $3bn in revenue, launched hundreds of channels, and expanded into premium, sports and original production in multiple languages. FIC pioneered the global day-and-date launch of TV shows with “The Walking Dead”. Today, Fox, National Geographic and Fox Sports are consistently among the most valued TV brands internationally by consumers, advertisers and affiliates.

Wondery is brand-new media company specialized in mobile and on-demand audio storytelling. Wondery will create and curate podcasts to connect wonderers and brands to a world of entertainment and a world of knowledge.

[mnky_heading title=”About the MarTech Interview Series” link=”|||”]

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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