This year Pandora will be cozying up a bit more closely with advertisers and their agencies.
The streaming radio service has hired former ad tech exec and agency veteran Alan Schanzer as Pandora's senior VP-agency and advertiser development. In the newly created role, Mr. Schanzer will focus on getting brands to include Pandora in their marketing plans and relay feedback from brands to Pandora's various teams, such as those developing its ad products.
Mr. Schanzer will also work to secure the type of sweeping, strategic agency holding-company deals that others like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have inked in recent years but that Pandora has yet to sign.
"It really is spending time at the most senior levels within holding company, individual agencies [and] at brands to talk about what their needs are at a fast-changing time," Pandora Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble said of his new direct report's duties. Mr. Trimble said he's had the new position "on the drawing board for about six months."
Mr. Schanzer started work at a sprint. His first few days on the job were spent at last week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, meeting and greeting with various advertisers and agencies. He said he plans to continue that roadshow. "The next couple months are all about sensitizing myself to the marketplace," Mr. Schanzer said.
The meetings Pandora held during CES reinforced Mr. Trimble's reason for hiring Mr. Schanzer, a former agency exec who's spent the past six years deep in the ad-tech world as more and more ads on premium publishers' properties are bought and sold programmatically and targeted using brands' and publishers' data.
"Coming out of CES, every meeting we had was centered around, in some shape or form, data and the ability to utilize that data across the various platforms of Pandora," Mr. Trimble said.
Mr. Schanzer had most recently served as chief client officer at Undertone, an ad-tech company that specializes in brand-friendly display ads that work across desktop and mobile screens. Prior to joining Undertone in 2008, he had been managing director of WPP's MEC Interaction.
"When I look at how we wanted to go out into the market with Alan, it's a nice mix of his understanding of the holding-company agencies based on [his time at] MEC but really the Undertone portion of it is he understands the relationships, the brand building and he has a good feel for how our tech stack is going to need to evolve," Mr. Trimble said.
Over the next three months, Mr. Schanzer will build out a team to support his work.
"To me it's building one team that can really pay attention to the needs of the various entities we're talking to, whether it be a holding company or advertisers directly. They have to be able to pivot between having conversations around programmatic needs or targeting and data needs and the big picture of the advertising opportunity," Mr. Schanzer said.