Alan Schanzer

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As an evangelist for digital marketing and new-media integration, Alan Schanzer has the ideal perch-he guides interactive strategy for a roster of blue-chip clients that include AT&T Corp., Campbell Soup Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Xerox Corp.

But the managing partner of Digital Edge/Mediaedge:cia views his overall missions in terms of educating marketers and agency staffers about media integration and how new-media technologies are changing the advertising game. One recent accomplishment was the summer launch of the WPP Group shop's Emerging Communications Studio (AA, June 16). Agencies throughout the WPP network will have access to the studio, which is designed to offer senior-level executives real-time context to experience many new-media platforms.

When it comes to media, Mr. Schanzer, 35, is platform-agnostic. "My belief and our agency's belief is that the role of media is simply to connect marketers' messages to consumers when they're most receptive to receiving them, regardless of channel," he says. His agency career, which includes a mix of traditional and non-traditional media jobs, has boosted his currency among current clients.

Though he had planned on a career in finance, Mr. Schanzer quickly gravitated to the agency media business in 1992, starting out as an assistant media planner at then D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York. There, he worked on the Kraft Cool Whip business, Procter & Gamble Co. and Burger King Corp. until 1994 when he jumped to Foote, Cone & Belding Communications to run the alternative markets group, where he gained experience with college, event and Web marketing and media.

The move to FCB also began what is now a nearly 10-year relationship with the AT&T account. At the time, FCB handled the telecom giant's account, which included the consumer, business and wireless businesses. Mr. Schanzer eventually ran the consumer portion of the business for two years working for his mentor Steve Lanzano, now worldwide media services director at WPP's MindShare.

"He is always one to take the extra step ... though he was relatively young, he always had a voice at the more senior tables where he spoke his thoughts and added value," says AT&T Media Director Karen Milke, who worked with Mr. Schanzer seven years ago when they both were at FCB. "He's terrific at just helping me sell [new media] through and putting it all together ... It's always difficult to sell these things in because every dollar I spend has to drive some sort of return on investment," Ms. Milke says.

tenacious negotiator

Barbara Basney, director of global advertising at Xerox, has worked with Mr. Schanzer since 2001 and is impressed by his tenacity and problem-solving ability. When she wanted to use online media and marketing to help grow a database of prospects for Xerox printers targeting small businesses, she questioned the aggressive benchmarks set by Mr. Schanzer, "I thought there's no way they're going to hit it, but they not only met it, they beat it," Ms. Basney recalls. The program cost half as much as direct mail cost to execute the same program, thereby cutting marketing costs by 50% and increasing volume by 600%.

He's proud of the agency's ability to take into account all forms of marketing.

"Media are an incredibly dynamic business in the sense that we get to work with lots of different kinds of clients," Mr. Schanzer says.

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