• View From The Top: Tommy Teepell

    Billboard Insider is running a monthly series called View From The Top where we interview senior executives about issues facing their companies and the out of home advertising industry.  Today we interview Lamar’s Chief Marketing Officer Tommy Teepell.  Teepell graduated from Louisiana State University with a BS  degree in accounting, and joined Lamar after stints at KPMG, Xerox and IBM.  Teepell has 33 years of experience selling out of home advertising business and is a pack of fun.

    Tommy, what issues occupy the biggest portion of your day?

    If I had to sum it up, I’d say the issues that consume my day are Sales and People. Sales are the foundation of everything we do. I spend a good portion of my day thinking about how we can help our clients increase their sales so that we, in turn, can grow ours. If we’re going to continue to be successful, our sales teams need to always be thinking about how they can help their clients. We, as a company, need to ensure that our people are motivated and equipped to succeed and want to get out of bed every morning inspired to come to work and be successful in a very competitive environment. I spend a good amount of time thinking about people – how do we attract and retain the right ones? How do help them develop the skills to be successful and how do we create an atmosphere that allows them to develop the careers they want?

    You’ve spent most of your career selling.  What common mistakes do young out of home sales reps make?

    The biggest mistake anyone in sales can make is getting too comfortable. At Lamar, we give our sales teams extensive training and arm them with a process that will help them become successful. Once a degree of success is achieved, however, it’s easy to get complacent and content and lose your edge. The good sales reps never get content and understand that, in this highly competitive environment, it’s crucial to adhere to the process. There’s always someone else out there looking to take the revenue away from you.

    In a Geopath interview last year you used the word “family” to describe Lamar’s culture.  Can you expand on that?

    It’s not just that Lamar has always been a family-run business; it’s that the family that runs Lamar has always treated employees like family as well. The best way to convey this is through stories. There are too many to detail, but one I like to talk about is what this company did after the historic August 2016 flood that caused widespread flooding and destruction in Baton Rouge and left so many of our employees’ homes underwater. Our management turned the Lamar office into a staging area for supplies, materials, blankets, food, tools, etc. Lamar employees in need could come to the office to get what they need and also get assistance from Lamar employees available to help. That’s just not something you see a lot of companies do these days.

    Name some “musts” for the out of home advertising industry to smoothly shift from selling impressions to selling audiences.

    Without question, this is one of our industry’s biggest challenges, understanding that we’re not just selling signs or billboards. We need to make our clients understand that we can deliver audiences and we can do so on a large scale. Our screens are seen by thousands of people every day. And now, we understand who those people are and we can reach them directly through their mobile devices. We can probably continue to make a nice living selling signs for a while, but if we don’t move away from the idea of selling impressions and start embracing the idea of delivering audiences, we’ll be the next Blockbuster, and we will never allow that to happen.

    Explain this photo

    In the 1980’s, I did a series of recordings on ‘how to sell’ and would share those with account executives when they came on board. The people in these pictures are in our Milwaukee office and had all gone through the training. Back on Halloween in 2012, they all decided to dress as me!


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    1. Tommy is a class act that leads with pride and purpose. Tommy Teepell embodies Lamar’s values at work, in philanthropy, and in community. Tommy can teach me how to cultivate and steward client and colleague relationships any day! I consider Tommy a mentor, friend, and someone I (or any one) can look up to about remaining centered on core values and prioritizing strong and authentic relationships.

    2. Mellie …. now my face is red….thank you.

    3. Tommy uses a common sense approach, to explaining what he is trying to get across to his audience,
      and that makes you stay focused and not sleepy! Had a great time at sells school in 08!