Common errors media sales people make
A few years ago, I received a telephone call from someone trying to sell me advertising space. The call came not more than two minutes after I clicked the send button on an e-mail I wrote in response to the media salesperson’s earlier e-mail. In my e-mail, I said that I’d already been solicited by one of his colleagues and I reiterated that the company’s marketing strategy was focused on priorities that we didn’t feel that any of the rep’s media could support at this time. So, the media sales rep gave me a call to find out more about my priorities and advertising needs. Fair enough.
Building brand awareness was some of what my company needed, I said, but creating interest, engagement and purchase consideration through content marketing was the priority. The big box digital ads he was trying to sell, wouldn’t meet our needs. After I said that, things got wacky!
The media rep responded with a 60-second spiel on the high number of impressions and hits his website delivered on ads in a short time frame, although content marketing and sponsored editorials were not available on-line or in print. And on and on he went trying to convince me that he “was not interested in selling, but in fulfilling my needs.” He strongly urged me to accept a meeting invitation with his director that would lead me to “change my mind about my current marketing strategy.”
The call ended with an offer and promise to follow-up in a few months to see if there was a change in priorities and the possibility of advertising in any of his media. Neither the media rep nor any of his colleagues ever followed up.
You may think that this is just one bad case in point. But the exchange between the media sales rep and me reflects many of the common errors I’ve observed that have been made by media sales reps.
- Being tactical, trying to make a quick sale to fill available space, without any regard for the advertiser’s business and marketing strategy objectives.
- A disorganized, fragmented approach, involving more than one rep trying to sell different media to the same advertiser.
- Making a sales pitch about benefits and metrics that are irrelevant to the needs of the advertiser.
Most advertisers I know love to see their brand in prominent positions in the media and revel in seeing positive results in brand awareness. However, the ugly truth is that marketers are under pressure to demonstrate the ROI of advertising investments. Business lead generation and new sales are really what matter most to CFOs and CEOs.
Many common errors and lost sales can be avoided if media sales people listen carefully to deeply understand the brand awareness and business development objectives of advertisers.
Media sales reps fail when they recommend ad placement in media that does not reflect the consumption patterns of the advertiser’s target clientele. What’s worse is that success is declared when “standardized metrics” exceed benchmarks. This is particularly true with digital advertising where clicks and impressions are given much attention. Clicks and impressions really do not tell an advertiser whether or not there has been an increase in brand awareness, engagement or purchase consideration.
In retrospect, I’ve always accepted offers from media reps who have presented the appropriate selection of media for the targeted clientele, along with options for integrating calls to action in advertisements with a set of relevant metrics to provide proof of positive ROI in terms of business lead generation and sales. The offer invariably comes after the media rep has taken time to inquire about and understand campaign objectives and is able to deliver the offer after careful reflection, thought and effort.