Impremedia hires industry vet to grow digital sales

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Hispanic news and information company ImpreMedia has hired Liz Sarachek Blacker as SVP of online sales.

The newly created position puts Sarachek Blacker in charge of developing and executing sales programs for ImpreMedia's digital network. The company is currently beta-testing a single online portal — — for all of its holdings, which is slated to launch fully next month. The ImpreMedia digital network includes sites for each of the company's print publications and offers ad opportunities such as channel sponsorships, custom e-mails and integrated packages.

“We have created a network of sites, so now we need someone to actually monetize that,” explained Arturo Duran, CEO of ImpreMedia Digital. “[She will be] the chief revenue person for everything that is not print and is related to digital and other media.”

ImpreMedia has a sales force of 200 selling advertising in print. Sarachek Blacker will attempt to bring the company's preexisting sales expertise and client relationships into the digital world. Duran said her mandate would be to teach the sales force that it is selling an audience, not an ad space, and to pass that message along to clients.

Advertisers in ImpreMedia's papers and on its sites include a majority of the US companies that advertise in Spanish. Local advertisers have a strong presence in the print products, which are geared to specific metro areas; the company didn't even have national sales until a few years ago.

Though the company is investing heavily in digital and new media, Duran said it will continue investing in its print products, which grew in paid circulation last year.

ImpreMedia did not look internally to fill the new position. To stimulate speedy online growth, Duran said it was important to bring someone in who already had experience in the field, and Sarachek Blacker has an extensive history in marketing to global, multicultural and Hispanic markets. Past employers have included Dow Jones & Co. Inc., Fortune magazine and Yahoo. Her most recent venture was the start-up of her own marketing company, LSB Communications.

ImpreMedia bills itself as the number one Hispanic news and information company in the US. Print publications include El Diario, La Prensa, Hoy, La Opinión, La Raza and Rumbo. These papers reach 17 markets nationwide, which represent 66% of the US Hispanic population. ImpreMedia Web sites claim 2.2 million unique visitors each month.

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