C-Suite Conversations: An Interview with Kevin Akeroyd, Global CEO, Cision

Jun 02, 2017

Article ImageWhen Kevin Akeroyd took on the role of global CEO of Cision, a global media intelligence and communications solution provider, back in August 2016, he made one major assumption. Coming from a long career providing service solutions for CMOs, most recently as general manager and SVP of Oracle Market Cloud, Akeroyd believed the integrated, data-centric solutions that marketing teams leverage for paid and owned media (i.e., advertising) would be just as critical for those whose job is to generate earned media, in the form of coverage by journalists and other influencers.

Now partway through his first year in the job, “My assumption has been completely validated,” says Akeroyd. “If anything, the demand by PR, IR [investor relations], marketing, and social media professionals for an integrated solution for earned media is even more urgent, because it’s so dramatically underserved.”

The earned media and communications arena is still long on siloed solutions and short on customization, even though “influencers like journalists and bloggers can have more trust, credibility, and goodwill from consumers—and they can have a much broader impact through the stories they share,” Akeroyd says. “I saw how transformative it was on the marketing side to offer a comprehensive solution instead of point solutions.” he adds. “Now, Cision wants to do that on the earned side.”

Trends He’s Watching

Akeroyd sees a growing understanding by communications professionals in the power of segmentation and content versioning. “Marketers will serve up 50 different versions of their content, depending on the segment and placement. The communications world is finally waking up to this and realizing that content is only effective if it reaches the right user, on the right device, at the right time,” he says. “When you get content, data, and actionability right—you create a perfect storm.”

Challenges He Faces

Cision’s competition isn’t another solution provider, Akeroyd says. “It’s ‘I’m not ready yet.’” He says that PR and IR professionals know they could do better than the multiple isolated solutions with which they’re managing their earned media outreach—“they see it with their colleagues down the hall in the marketing department.” But organizational politics, governance, and policy issues make it hard for some communications teams to make the move quite yet.

Dreaming Big

“I’d like to see everyone get religion around data,” says Akeroyd. “We work with intensely data-driven organizations, but on the earned-media side, we’re still dealing with vanity metrics too often.”

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