Ambition, Dedication, Planning: Monica Glosson's Path to Success at Pandora

By Audio InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Ambition, Dedication, Planning: Monica Glosson's Path to Success at Pandora

Before she even entered college, Monica Glosson (pictured at top) knew she wanted a career in advertising. But the question was what part of the business. As a student, Glosson was attracted to the creative, strategic and research aspects of advertising, working at local papers and interning at a major ad agency. While she expected to commit to a path, working at Pandora has enabled Glosson to combine her skills and interests.

Like a successful ad campaign, getting there took a combination of ambition, dedication and planning. As an ad innovation strategy associate at Pandora, Glosson works with agencies and clients to develop sponsorship and advertising opportunities. She also collaborates with Pandora's ad sales team to provide insights and sales tools.

A key part of Glosson's job is marrying Pandora's offerings with strategic sponsorship opportunities. For instance, in honor of Pride month, Pandora created a custom station, Qmunity, Glosson worked with curation and brand marketing to package up a sponsorship opportunity, enabling Pandora's Sales team to recruit Xfinity as a launch sponsor. Glosson said the partnership produced strong consumer and B2B coverage, generating positive brand exposure for both companies.

She joined Pandora in 2018, just three years after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and advertising. While it didn't take long for her to arrive at the streaming audio company, Glosson picked up invaluable experience along the way. Like many in-house ad execs, Glosson started out on the agency side. As an intern at BBDO in Atlanta, she explored different departments, soaking up as much experience as she could. "I wanted to network and explore opportunities within the organization," she said. "I started there as an educational learning point."

That experience laid the groundwork for her first full-time job at another agency, PHD Media. When she was job hunting, Glosson contacted a fellow UGA alumni and friend of her brother who worked at PHD in Chicago for guidance on breaking into the agency world. That woman had an opening on her team, and she offered Glosson a position working on the Kohler account.

For young professionals, that kind of networking is critical, she said. "Sometimes it is awkward to make that introduction… but even if you have a distant point of contact, even one mutual friend, you can get in the door that way," Glosson said. "People are very open and receptive to that."

Right now, with so many students currently job hunting virtually or doing internships online, Glosson said job seekers should ask a professor, mentor, supervisor or friend to make email introductions. "Plug into your direct contacts and ask them to make introductions to people you want in your network via email. That way, you're making a mutual connection from the get-go and they're usually more receptive to a familiar email address popping up in their inbox," she said.

While at PHD, Glosson said she enjoyed the fast-paced agency life. "It is great to be surrounded by so many young people and you learn something new every day," she said.

As part of the agency's media strategy and planning team, she got an education in all channels, including radio, TV, digital and out-of-home. To help her grow professionally, Glosson's manager encouraged her to work on other accounts, including strategy sessions and new business pitches. She also volunteered to work pro bono on the National Safety Council campaigns. "You want exposure to other clients and other business as much as possible," she noted.

When Glosson decided to relocate from Chicago to Los Angeles, she took her own advice and, once again, tapped into her network. At PHD, she had worked with contacts at Pandora and identified it was a place she might want to work. She wanted to go in-house at a publisher and become the client. So, when a job posting for a strategic ad position opened up, Glosson said it felt designed for her skill set and interests.

At Pandora, Glosson is part of an all-female team, led by Lizzie Wildhem, and it is a point of pride. In fact, Glosson said the team and Pandora's overall commitment to diversity further attracted her to the position.

It also helps that Pandora's focus on creative ad solutions and research-backed planning seem tailor-made for Glosson. When she worked at PHD, the account team kicked off their planning cycle with an in-depth study of cultural dynamics, digging into market trends and consumer behaviors. For Kohler and other clients, "It was a great way to level set…how is technology evolving, what are consumers doing, are expectations different? It was a great way set the stage and ask how does this apply to our target audience," Glosson explained.

Now, she undertakes a similar review for Pandora, analyzing everything from consumer behaviors, technology use and market trends. "It is understanding what consumers want," she said. "How are we leading that into our products? What's good for the listener is also good for the advertiser, we want to make sure we are facilitating that," Glosson said.

To date, one of Glosson's biggest projects has been developing Pandora's Music & Mindsets Playbook, a guide for the sales team to communicate Pandora's research and capabilities to advertisers. Using the company's extensive listener data, researchers can map emotions of 26 content genres and analyze listeners' moods when they stream particular kinds of music. From there, salespeople can help clients identify the content that best communicates to their target audiences. As part of the project, Glosson wrote and published at the Pandora site Love is in the Air (Along with 200 Other Moods), an advertiser's guide to understanding how music affects moods.

When her supervisor assigned the project, Glosson said it was "challenging yet empowering."

"It was a great opportunity for someone at my age and experience level. My manager put an idea on the table and trusted me to bring it to life," she said.

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