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MRI-Simmons’ Paul Sammon on the Power of Innovative Data

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Paul Sammon began his career in media planning as a college intern working on the Seagram’s account. Today Paul is the vice president of media sales for MRI-Simmons, a leading media research company that produces the MRI-Simmons USA National Study. MRI-Simmons accesses multiple data sources, including AAM data, to provide consumer insights and demographics for consumer profiling, media planning and activation. Paul oversees custom media research for magazine media brands across channels including print, digital, e-newsletters, events and social media.

Here Paul shares insights from his career including how magazine media are adapting to new technology, the value of verified media data and advice he has for those starting out in the industry.

How did you choose your career?

After interning at Warwick Advertising, I accepted a position at another Seagram’s agency, DDB, and quickly learned that media planning paired well with my math skills and interest in problem solving. I enjoy creating solutions for a wide variety of client and brand challenges.


Share one initiative you are proud of?

I recently worked on a project for a publisher with a collection of active sports vertical interest publications that wanted to share a new perspective of their audiences. Advertisers and agencies knew their readers were passionate about their individual sports and activities, but rarely beyond that scope. Working with the enormous MRI-Simmons USA National Consumer Study database, we painted a much more expansive portrait of their audiences in our “Power of the Enthusiast” report and showed that their passionate lifestyles impacted other areas such as the technology they use, the clothes they buy and food they eat. We provided insights into the psychographics and lifestyle attributes that spoke to why they were just as passionate about other aspects of their lives as they were about their hobbies and leisure activities. The client was delighted, and I was particularly proud to use our data to make these readers come to life beyond their vertical special interests.


What word describes your company?



How has AAM supported your company?

From day one, AAM has been the foundation of trust and confidence for publishers. Its ongoing dialogue with its members and board ensures that the most relevant metrics will always be at the forefront of their work for the industry. Expanding that validation work into other areas like point-of-care media provides confidence for clients that they can trust the media they’re buying in multiple channels. I’ve had the opportunity to work with AAM’s data for my whole career and it’s been an invaluable asset.


Anything in your career or the industry that’s surprised you?

I’m most surprised by the genuine staying power of magazine media brand audiences. I’m delighted to see that they’re taking a different, broader form than the traditional print-only format of the past and meeting audiences wherever and however they want to engage.


What piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your field?

Engage! Don’t be a spectator. Be open to new experiences and all of the opportunities around you. Be a sponge and absorb everything you see. When you find something that you’re intrigued by and you feel you can deliver value in terms of your work, attack it with passion.


Where do you see the industry in 10 years?

I see the magazine industry continuing to evolve with the hope that the core content of great magazine media brands remains the hub of the wheel. As content channels continue to expand, I hope that more consumers are drawn to magazines regardless of how they consume the medium.


What is one goal you would like to achieve?

A significant goal at this point in my career is to help publishers, advertisers and ad agencies gain a renewed appreciation for the truly special engagement and branding benefits of magazine media. Times have changed, but the core content of well-curated editorial drives a very different and deeper relation with the consumer/reader. While the growth of channels that complement the core has certainly grown, there are few things as compelling as a well-crafted magazine. From that genuine engagement measured in time spent, reader loyalty and actions taken, advertisers can be the true beneficiaries.


Paul Sammon calling a player safe while umpiring a game.What do you like to do in your free time?

For many years, I’ve worked as a baseball umpire for NCAA, high school and Little League games. I thoroughly enjoy being on the ballfield with the players and helping manage a fair game.

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