By Andrea Tarrab

With 25 years of TV sales experience, Heather Aucoin was the perfect speaker for the Media Management Association to invite to provide career advice to students and identify current trends in the television business. Aucoin has worked for NBCUniversal since 2005, including as an account executive, a Southeast sales leader, and a national sales manager. She has collaborated with a wide range of advertisers, from Fortune 500 companies to local businesses, and managed accounts for big sports events, such as the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and the FIFA World Cup. Currently, she is the local sales director for NBC6/WTVJ and Telemundo 51/WSCV in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale. She graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Telecommunication and earned an M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University.

“Never give up!” These three words could well summarize the central message that Aucoin imparted to the students who expressed interest in entering and prospering in the media business. She referred to the three Ps, Passion, People, and Pivot, as a modus operandi to succeed in the advertising industry. Passion means expressing love for one’s work. The term people denotes the value of networking and cultivating different relationships in the media industry. Finally, pivoting alludes to one’s ability to constantly adapt to changes, not only in life but in the workplace.

Aucoin also delved into current topics about the TV sales process, such as the demand for advertising opportunities that came along with the growth of streaming services. To attract new sponsors and increase sales, she and her team have had to expand their creativity and think of dynamic ideas to help them grow. They have also learned the importance of communicating to clients the endless prospects for advertising on NBCUniversal and the streaming service, Peacock. By offering high reach, Aucoin stated that “with all this fragmentation, the ‘big event’ is more important than ever.”

In addition, the field of analytics is changing with greater competition in audience measurement. Aucoin noted the growing role of and Comscore beyond traditional Nielsen data, as well as the use of attribution studies to determine the success of advertisements.

Because of the current changes in technology and lifestyle, people who work in the advertising industry have had the opportunity to diversify their portfolios and innovate in many ways.

“Success is bringing in new advertisers,” Aucoin pointed out. To do so, networking and expanding one’s horizons is essential.

Finally, for students interested in finding an entry-level position in advertising and sales, Aucoin recommended to network through LinkedIn, educators, friends, and even relatives, to consult trade magazines, to familiarize themselves with advertisement messages and their meanings, to look for trends in their communities, such as new businesses, and to apply for internships.