DeShá Runnels

VP OF MEDIA

For over 15 years, DeShá has specialized in generating revenue and consumer engagement via creative partnerships and content creation. From his time in the USC Athletic Department, to FOX, The Audience Network and The Dan Patrick Show & The Rich Eisen Show, DeShá has established himself as a trusted collaborator, in highly competitive markets, who has a deep understanding of the national media landscape and how to use it.

DeShá holds a master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco and bachelor’s degree in Communication from UC Davis where he was a four-year letterman for the football team.

What attracted you most to ARM?   

First and foremost, it was the people. At this point in my career, I fully understand that it’s the people that make an organization and having worked closely with the partners in a previous role, I saw firsthand why ARM is the gold standard. Additionally, podcasting, as a major entertainment medium, is just getting started in my opinion, so the timing was perfect.

What are you most excited for about this position?

Storytelling is what connects humans and is the core of podcasting. What excites me about this role is the opportunity for brands to tell their “story” and personally connect with their consumers in a way no other medium, in my opinion, can provide. I’ve spent my career in advertising sales and as more people are seemingly less tolerant of ads interrupting their content, the fact that podcast listeners are much more open to advertising and accept them as part of the listening experience, fires me up.

Do you have any personal goals for the year ahead? 

Absolutely, ARM is already a pioneer in the podcast advertising industry, so my initial goal is to listen and learn the “how” and “why.” It didn’t just happen, and it wasn’t a fluke. Then let’s Do Better.  My goal is to help consistently find ways to improve both as a company and especially for our clients.

How do you see podcasting evolving in the next 3 years?

As I mentioned earlier, I think we’re just getting started. Over the next three years I bet we see more podcast platform competition as the industry continues to grow. Additionally, I think more celebrities will enter the space as the benefits of connecting directly with your fans and showing your real personality are tremendous. Finally, over the next three years I can see companies increasing their marketing budgets allocated for podcast content as you can no longer turn a blind eye to it being a highly successful & measurable advertising platform to not just meet but exceed your KPI’s.

We’re so into podcasts we started our own.

Check out the ARM On the Mic podcast for more industry insights.

Gretchen Smith

VP OF MEDIA

Gretchen is a multi-platform team & agency leader with demonstrated successful history across multiple Fortune 500 brands, connecting paid investments to measured success across brand life cycles. Vertical experience includes travel, non-profit, wellness, liquor, beer, beauty, fragrance, retail, and military recruiting.  Gretchen prides herself in prioritizing keeping media consumer-first and the role audio storytelling has within brand marketing and relationships.  Her passion projects lie within the ever-changing Martech & adtech space, and simplifying what it means for companies, brands, and consumers.

Gretchen graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. of Advertising with a concentration in paid media, and a B.A. in Economics.

 

What attracted you most to ARM?

After years at big corporate agencies, I joined ARM because their position and belief in the power of audio shows they understood what consumers expect from brands when they communicate to them.  Most agencies use audio as a “check mark” to their media mix, and call it a 360 approach.  That’s not an effective, nor a true, strategy.  We have 5 senses as humans, and advertisers realistically only get to control sight and sound without being invasive.  ARM’s application of both creative copy and thoughtful audio placements earned my trust that sound is essential and expected when consumers hear from brands; it also drives better results and brand retention, which is important for the life cycle of all brands.

What are you most excited for about this position?

I’m excited to educate and inspire clients to create better ads, with consumers at the core!  Testing and learning should drive insights about consumers, not just media placements.  When are they most receptive?  What is it about one host that made your product more enticing than another host?  The questions and hypotheses are endless.

Do you have any personal goals for the year ahead? 

My personal goal is to earn the trust of my clients as a consultant for their entire business, not just act as an activation arm.  If with our brand partners we can create unique consumer insights, better define prospective audiences and learn more about them, we can show that audio does work to drive results… and create some fun content while doing it.

How do you see podcasting evolving in the next 3 years?

Audio tech within podcasting has a new and exciting road to travel.  I predict within the next year, we will see high interest in ad tech for podcasting, but low entry, given how rapid the category is growing for brands to advertise.  Brands will want to simply “get in” shows, be present, and observe what we can with existing measurement solutions.  As more podcast episodes launch, brands will start to demand audience-first tracking, and be forced to navigate how it’s possible through new laws on consumer privacy, the eventual depreciation of cookies in 2022, and the walled gardens that will inevitably be built around where we listen to our shows. It’s a landscape that will be ever-changing, and it’s important that brands and agencies help shape that ecosystem.