We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Chiocchi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor for me has been to not listen to the naysayers – the people that didn’t believe in me. I went through a good part of my career before forming Outward Media, Inc. (OMI), but when I made the decision to launch I knew my timing was right and I knew that what I had to offer was unique. Nobody was going to get in my way. After spending a dozen years rising through the ranks at Dun & Bradstreet, I recognized that I had hit a wall. I was confident that I had what it took to start my own data business and that my understanding of the market would enable me to hit the ground running. Once OMI was established and beginning to thrive, resilience and innovation became important factors for keeping the business growing over these past 20 years. For example, we started out providing data for direct mail campaigns, but as email use began to rise we became a front-runner in the email data and email campaign management markets. And today we are ahead of the curve with identity graphs, which are graphs made up of anonymized profiles representing real, individual consumers. I’ve always been good at seeing what’s ahead and then reinventing myself and my business for market shifts. That’s been a huge factor behind OMI’s longevity and ability to attract top brands as clients.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
OMI is a business built around data. We mine it, manage it, and invest in it by keeping it fresh and continuously cleansing it. We then license and sell it to businesses – from start-up and SMBs to Fortune 1000 firms – segmenting it in such a way to enable them to reach the right prospects for their products and services, at the right time in their buying journey. Beyond the exceptional quality of our data, I take great pride in the level of consultation we offer. Our team of data scientists takes the time and effort to educate clients about getting the most out of our data to fuel their digital marketing campaigns, and works one-on-one with customers to ensure they achieve their sales and marketing goals. I’m told by our clients that the level of consultation we offer is well beyond what our competitors do. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that every business has ups and downs. When setbacks occur, you have to not only power through them, but you need to have the ability to chart a course for change to drive success in new areas. Lastly, what I want people to know is that you shouldn’t start a business because you want to make a lot of money. You start it because you love what you do and you enjoy the nature of the work. I still get excited about our campaigns and about landing new clients. One client that we’ve been working on for 11 years just signed with us – finally! That was cause for a big team celebration, even if it was virtual.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Our headquarters is in West Hollywood and there’s no shortage of things to do in this area. For a quintessential California experience with out-of-town visitors, we start in our own neighborhood, make a stop in Beverly Hills, and then take a road trip up the coast on Pacific Coast Highway. We visit Malibu, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, and all the lovely coastal towns that make California so unique. Winetasting and spa time are always a part of the experience. Everyone has to take a California coastal road trip at least once in their lives.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My Vistage International coach, Alain Othenin-Girard, is well-deserving of a shout out. He has kept my business moving in the right direction since 2003. I owe a lot to him and the guidance he has provided for the big decisions impacting my business through the years.