In the late 1990s, Molly Meloy was traveling the world as Mobil Corp.'s corporate advertising manager, managing a $25 million global ad campaign and falling in love with the print medium.
"I saw that print was a unique mechanism to reach decision-makers, guys and women who are hard to reach," Meloy said. "They are always reading something. Even as more and more titles have come through, they're still reading a core set of print properties."
While at Mobil, that realization led her to funnel more spending toward print and away from television. And in September, after leaving essentially the only employer she had known since college, Meloy decided to listen to friends who told her to go into publishing. After all, they said, she'd been touting it for years.
So in late November and with little trepidation, Meloy joined CFO Publishing as its VP-marketing. She is charged with creating a higher profile for the CFO magazine brand, and she believes her timing couldn't be better. The title is celebrating its 20th anniversary at a time when the role of the corporate CFO, once confined to number-crunching, has taken center stage in corporate America.
"I like it when there's an opportunity to do something and effect change," she said.
Already, Meloy is plotting the initial stages of an ad campaign that will define the CFO as the ultimate decision-maker in a company, involved in all aspects of the business and signing off on nearly everything. That's a message that readers of CFO get, she said, but one that advertisers need to learn.
She also is eager to tap into new markets. In March, CFO will launch a special issue, CFO Human Capital, with editorial content focusing on outsourcing, health care and pensions. The last launch from CFO, an Economist Group business, was CFO IT in March 2003. CFO IT now publishes quarterly.
CFO Human Capital will be a one-time issue, but CFO may expand the idea later. "We're going to see how it goes," Meloy said. "The initial response has been extraordinary in terms of filling a need from an advertiser standpoint. CFOs aren't reading a human resources magazine."
Meloy joined Mobil Corp. in 1986 as a business consultant right out of college, and rose through the ranks; by 1997 she was directing the company's first global brand positioning campaign, "Energy Makes a Difference," across 140 countries. After working on the ad campaign related to Mobil's merger with Exxon in late 1999, she left the company briefly, only to return in 2001 as VP-marketing of Speedpass Network, Exxon Mobil's startup venture.