Krystle Kopacz science marketing

What Science Marketers Should Know about the Media Landscape: An Interview with Krystle Kopacz

We asked former Atlantic Media COO of the National Journal Group, Krystle Kopacz, what our industry should be prepared for in the new media landscape.

By C&EN Media Group

Krystle Kopacz is the CEO of Revmade, a consulting firm that works with media companies to develop sustainable revenue streams. Before launching Revmade, Kopacz worked at Atlantic Media, where she led teams to diversify and grow digital revenue across multiple publications. Here she shares her insights with us on what science marketers should know about the media landscape, and her take on the future of marketing.

C&EN: You’ve spent a lot of time in your career in the media space. How have you seen marketing and advertising evolve?

Kopacz: The good news is that advertising has actually gotten better for the people who experience it: Savvy marketers are starting to understand that to be heard, they have to earn it. They have to be interesting; they have to be relevant. Overall, I think we’re trending in a good direction. Advertisers know they need to be listening and responding to the people that they are trying to reach, not just blasting them with messages.

C&EN: What are marketing trends our industry should be looking out for?

Kopacz: There are three big trends right now, which all impact one another: The first is inbound marketing, which focuses on attracting potential customers (on their terms) to your brand in order to start a relationship with them. The second is content marketing, which is required as part of any inbound strategy: Brands must create content that prospects actually want to read, not straight promotional material. The third is leveraging data in a way that enables you to create deeper connections between you and your customer. When brands know the individual needs of their audiences, they’re able to better serve them through content, product development, customer service, etc.

C&EN: Do you have any insight from your past experiences as a journalist, as well as working with brands, about translating information to a targeted audience?

Kopacz: When you’re a journalist, you really only have a single goal, which is to engage your audience with your reporting. So you learn what audiences need, what they want, and then ultimately how to communicate with them in the clearest way possible. And as a journalist, you’re naturally coming from a place that is asking “What does somebody want to read?” versus “What do I want to say?”

That’s the biggest thing marketers can take away from journalism. Today, marketing is about focus on what the consumer wants to pay attention to versus what we’re going to force them to pay attention to.

C&EN: How does that compare to a scientific audience?

Kopacz: It’s even more relevant to a scientific audience. Scientists are a group of people who have been trained to be incredibly skeptical and to be sensitive to anything that’s trying to sway them. If you’re not coming to this audience in real terms — and on their terms, speaking their language — you have a high possibility of being ignored or discounted. If you don’t know this audience’s jargon, if you’re not speaking to them convincingly about their needs and pain points, your credibility could be at stake, more so than in other industries. Understanding this specific audience and being able to serve them in a way that makes you authentic and credible is really important.

C&EN: Do scientists consume content from brands differently than the average consumer?

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Kopacz: That’s a great question. ACS recently released a study on buying behavior and we’ve been pouring over the results for the past couple of weeks. One of the interesting things that came out was how scientists consume information differently at different points in the purchasing process. Let’s say, for example, they are just in the beginning phases of researching a new piece of equipment. That behavior – specifically the media they use to research – is going to be remarkably different than what they consult when they’re in the final stages of purchase approval.

C&EN: A lot of the C&EN Marketing Elements readers have sales teams that must pitch clients. What is one tip you would give to someone going into a meeting with a company for the first time?

Kopacz: Know what you’re talking about! A sales conversation itself is a transaction – you’re asking for the potential customer’s time. That customer or potential customer is really looking for the salesperson to give them something in return, in the meeting – it may be they need the service you provide, or it may just be the salesperson’s expertise on the market, audience or subject matter. If the salesperson is looking to create a relationship with that client, they need to be smart about the client’s business: they need to ask a lot of questions, and ultimately their goal should be to provide a solution on the client’s terms.

At Atlantic Media, we focused on the “challenger sale.” This challenges a common misconception that salespeople should try to say “yes, yes, yes” to everything the client asks for. Research has proven that salespeople who actually respectfully offer better alternatives or provide uncommon insight to the client’s challenge actually end up selling more. It proves that clients are looking for salespeople to be that consultant to them in the buying process.

C&EN: Sales and marketing teams must work together now more than ever, but sometimes this is easier said than done. What advice do you have to help marketing and sales work together – and ultimately drive toward a common goal?

Kopacz: I’ve found it’s pretty common to have this misunderstanding in organizations… this idea of a difference in what sales wants versus what marketing wants. The reality is that these teams’ overall goals are typically very aligned: promote products and ultimately grow revenue for their company. Like all relationships, the sales and marketing union requires empathy toward and understanding of each other, and most importantly – strong communication. When this relationship clicks it’s better for everyone and certainly significantly better for the company.

C&EN: Native advertising has been a great way for companies to engage with a publication’s readership. What’s your advice to a company that is attracted to native advertising, but may not have the budget for it? Is there a lower cost way of doing native campaigns?

Kopacz: When it doubt, ask your media partner for advice. Most of the time publishers welcome the opportunity to be creative and flexible, depending on their clients’ goals.

C&EN: Last question. What are your views on print advertising?

Kopacz: As a marketer, I only care about meaningful integration in the many places – print, websites, podcasts, whatever – that my audience pays attention to. If my audience reads print, I’m going to focus on the best, most interesting way to grab and keep their attention in that format. Same with digital, mobile, outdoor, etc. Many marketers live by this audience data, and it has led them to very effective multi-channel approaches. To me, the other core consideration of marketers – what do I put into these formats that informs, helps, delights my audience with meaningful content and experiences – is just as important.


Thanks to Krystle for taking the time to speak with us and sharing her insights. Learn more about Revmade and subscribe to their newsletter at revmade.com.

Krystle was interviewed by Maya Pottiger, a graduate of University of Maryland and intern for the American Chemical Society Publications Department.

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