Yale School of Management

Center for Customer Insights

Advancing the frontiers of consumer understanding

An interview with Linda Schupack, EVP of Marketing at AMC Networks

Recent TV hits such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead have propelled AMC into the limelight. A driving force behind that success is AMC Network's Executive Vice President of Marketing, Linda Schupack. She recently spent a few moments with YCCI to talk about how she started, what inspires her, and how she defines an insight.

March 11, 2014

What got you interested in business and management?

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a psychologist.  I was an English major in college; I loved reading fiction.  For me, it was about the craft of story telling and character development: at core, the exploration of what makes people do what they do.  In essence, that’s what I am doing as a marketer.  I have to understand what people want, and tailor a message to them.  Similarly, as a manager, I need to understand what is motivating to different people on my team and address those individual needs as we pursue the larger collective goal.

What keeps you inspired about the work you do?

I am very privileged to be working in what many have called the new Golden Age of Television.  And I feel particularly lucky to be working in this particular time when the line between marketing and content is increasingly blurred – so I am working with very talented people on both the creative and the business side who recognize the inherent value of each other.

How do you define an insight?

To me, an insight is an articulation of an idea that just “snaps” everything together – and provides clarity for the way forward.

What do you most enjoy about your work?  What is most rewarding?

I love the entertainment industry in general; and I love television in particular because it is such a mass medium – easily accessible to all.  I do consider my job a marriage of the creative and the strategic, inextricably linked.  When you are branding or crafting a marketing message – the strategy must be embedded in the creative and the creative must therefore deliver on the strategy.  I love working to articulate a strategy and then working with incredibly creative people to execute it.  

Versus, when I started, the work landscape now is more …

COMPLEX!  When I started, the simple idea of cable was the big disrupter.  Now, it’s cable, it’s Netflix, it’s Hulu, it’s X-box, it’s iTunes, it’s YouTube, it’s Amazon.  It’s the DVR, it’s VOD.  It’s Social Media: it’s Facebook, it’s Twitter, it’s Instagram.  And probably when this is published, there will be a whole different set of mechanisms by which people are consuming content (and discovering it!)

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