In May, Ms. Spence, VP-associate media director at Citron Haligman Bedecarré, was entrusted with developing the media strategy behind CNET's $100 million, 18-month branding campaign.
Her efforts apparently paid off: The CNET campaign raised the media-buying bar for Internet brand builders, who had grown accustomed to budgets 10 to 50 times lower. Plus, the campaign lifted CNET site traffic 34%.
But it took a lot of work to get there, starting the day she got the assignment. Because CNET sought immediate traction, Ms. Spence had just two weeks to plan the effort, and since then has been working overtime implementing it.
"It was one of those times you hope come only once or twice in a lifetime," says Ms. Spence, who turns 32 this month. "I was working 90-hour weeks. I still haven't done
my expenses from that period. I was always the one turning the lights out. All the security guards knew my name. And I ate too much take-out."
Ms. Spence focused the CNET media strategy to follow information technology decisionmakers and Wall Street financial types throughout the day, as they moved from the business dailies through trade publications and into reading for entertainment.
Because of previous problems with rival Ziff-Davis, its publications would not carry CNET's advertisements, forcing some creative thinking, Ms. Spence said. So CNET instead sought publications that straddled IT and Wall Street, such as Business 2.0, Red Herring and Fast Company.
Plus, she had to move quickly to take advantage of a lot of other media, including placing the first advertising allowed in a San Francisco airport jet way, buying the first space on a billboard on the Bay Area's 101 freeway before the sign was even built, advertising in Boston subway stations during the Ryder Cup and grabbing the "Player of the Game" sponsorship on ABC's "NFL Monday Night Football" almost as soon as State Farm decided not to renew.
"This was not just your traditional business-to-business campaign," says Ms. Spence. "One of the things with the .com companies is that you have to be nimble. And even in a b-to-b campaign, you still have to think of these people