Ms. Fay was lured to the Newton, Mass.-based agency from M&T International Marketing, Boston, where she was a sales representative. "I was trying on media for size, selling space for international technology titles," she says. "I had a lot of ideas about growing international programs, when the owner [Ellen Freeman] finally convinced me that I need to actually run that program."
And so, Ms. Fay, 37, is now firmly ensconced in what she calls the media buying and planning cocoon within $2 billion parent company Carat. The agency's 35 media clients are "heavily weighted" toward technology, although Ms. Fay says the company has been branching out recently to acquire other types of business-to-business clients.
"For the most part, we've seen decisionmakers becoming a broader target," she says. "The technology marketers are becoming more savvy in terms of the shape their advertising takes. Ten years ago, everyone wanted to be in [now-defunct] Byte magazine. That was the only place they wanted to be. And you didn't think of going outside those [vertical] books, not only because the budgets weren't big enough to spread out.
"We consider now all sorts of media, 360-degree media. We encourage clients to recognize that their prospects are out in the world, their noses aren't stuck in the tech books. They're watching TV, they're reading different publications, that there are tremendous opportunities to catch them in different and unexpected ways. The impact they can make is so much greater when they can see and hear your message in new and different ways."
Ms. Fay, who majored in English at the University of Vermont, Burlington, says this year she has concentrated on creating impact around events such as trade shows for business-to-business clients. For a client that wanted to "come out blazing" at MecklerMedia's Internet World, negotiations brought together both the publishing entity and the trade show sides of Meckler in a deal that got the client a better booth location, banner space and an opportunity to throw an after-show bash at the convention center, all for less than $1 million.
"That's what really gets me going, the challenge of creating big on a small budget," Ms. Fay says. "A great media plan is like a magic trick. You have to take the amount of money you have and you make it look double. That's the true