For the exec VP-director of strategic planning of media buying services at TeleVest, that primarily means developing new media strategies and opportunities for chief client Procter & Gamble Co., which spends about $780 million annually on network TV and syndicated TV time.
What industry executives who have to negotiate with Ms. Salvatore say is that she is a formidable negotiator and a consummate professional on all aspects of national broadcast dealmaking.
"Nothing, no de-tail, falls through the cracks with her," emphasizes CBS Network Sales President Joe Abruzzese. "There are no commercial errors; there are no scheduling errors-which is tremendous considering the amount of money they're handling and the traffic through that agency with clients like Procter & Gamble and Grand Met."
It also means diligent work keeping track of the numerous media outlets vying for P&G's broadcast spending.
Ms. Salvatore has watched the business explode from a three network environment into a multiple supplier, multichannel marketplace, which, while complicated, has provided numerous opportunities for her client.
HEADED TO TELEVEST
"We tend to focus on the marketplace and what the realities of the marketplace are during a particular year," says Ms. Salvatore, 44, who has been associated with various units of parent MacManus Group since 1981.
She moved over to TeleVest in 1993 when that unit was established.
"We try not to be influenced by the psychology of the market; instead we examine the supply and demand factors to determine what level we're willing to do business at.
"When you walk into a market with that kind of understanding, it's easier to not let your emotions get the best of you," she says.
"She's takes a lot of pride in how she conducts negotiations," says Larry Hoffner, president, NBC TV Network Sales. "She finds out what we want and matches that to what she wants for her client. Armed with that information, she strikes good deals that benefit both sides, and frankly, that's the true role of an agent, to be fair to both sides."
Among Ms. Salvatore's accomplishments: helping primary client P&G become a partner in the production of new network and first-run syndication shows through pacts with Paramount Television Group and Columbia Pictures Television.
"We feel this has added a depth to P&G's advertising portfolio, both domestically and internationally," says Ms. Salvatore, who oversees a 22-person staff devoted to the P&G account. Shows that have been developed through these partnerships include "Sabrina, Teenage Witch," "Clueless," "Between Brothers" and "Real TV."
STARTED AT AYER
Ms. Salvatore began her national broadcast career in 1978 at what was then N.W. Ayer & Son, where she was hired as a group assistant by Helen Tocheff, now senior VP-manager of national broadcast at Cordiant's Zenith Media unit.
"There is no hidden agenda with Donna," says Ms. Tocheff.
Ms. Salvatore stayed at Ayer for two years before leaving for broadcast supervisor positions at Compton Advertising and Needham, Harper & Steers. She joined the national broadcast department at Benton & Bowles in 1981, which evolved to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, and then TeleVest in 1993.
"What I have found is if you are prepared for various circumstances that may arise during the course of an upfront market, then you can prepare your clients," she says.
"It makes moving forward even in the roughest of seas easier because you've already thought through your options and have made the tough decisions."