Posts Tagged ‘marketing’


Several business people wander through a maze looking for a job

When I published the article “You’re hired!”…and it took me a year, I had no idea that I would be looking for work three years later.  Back then, I had just concluded an intensive search after my position in a stable, global financial institution was abolished, ending a successful career that progressed nicely over 16 years.

When I accepted the offer for a permanent full-time position the following year, it was not quite the dream job I was looking for, but I was convinced, and still am, that I was forging a new path to take me to the next level.  In fact, I deliberately disrupted myself.  It was a newly created job with the mandate to develop and deliver a marketing strategy for products I had never marketed before.

Two years in, there were budget and staff cutbacks.  I sub-consciously knew that the time to move on was fast approaching.   Last summer, my position was eliminated.

Although it’s cold comfort, I realize that I am not alone.  I’ve met many mid- and advanced-career professionals on the job search trail.  I see the struggles to remain positive, diffuse anxiety and stay the course.  My career transition experience has given me some insights on stumbling blocks that can potentially derail a job search and how to avoid them.

  1. Other people’s stories are theirs, not yours

During my networking, I’ve met many people who’ve “been there, done that” and they tell their stories of how they got through it.  The Winners, who took only 2 to 4 months to land on their feet; the Whiners who give very detailed explanations as to why they won’t ever get hired (age…, conspiring former bosses and colleagues…, no one hires in summer… etc.) and the Copped-Out & Lucked-Out who boast about the luxury of being able to retire early so they avoid looking for a job.

Then there are those who haven’t “been there.” They have never lost their jobs.  They are really Secretly Scared that this could happen to them, while they hint that they pity you and don’t envy you.  There are also the Helpers and Hinters who in an awkward effort to provide good advice, actually end up saying exactly what you don’t need to hear (“You’re doing something wrong, otherwise it wouldn’t take so long…”) or they send you job postings that are no match for your skills and experience.

It’s so easy to buy-in to other people’s stories.  Comparing your experience with other people’s stories is a waste of time and energy.  The truth is you need to own your story.

Instead of trying to explain your story, make a commitment to yourself to be clear on what’s best for you.  Only you can make sense of your life’s journey.  Only you really know the things that motivate you and ultimately matter to you.  Very few people will understand your story.  Most people are trying to figure out their own story and others don’t have the time or are not really interested in listening to yours.

The temptation to set low expectations and settle for less becomes real when you compare yourself with other people. It takes courage to say “no” to seemingly good opportunities in order to say “yes” to the very best.  You are not a loser if you haven’t found a job within a given timeframe or if you made it to the final interview but didn’t get the job.

Even if you don’t have the financial independence to prolong your search, if you accept a position out of necessity, remind yourself that you can work while continuing to search for your dream job.

  1. The corporate ladder is an obsolete metaphor

Job seekers, who have progressed over many years in one company, tend to be overly concerned with titles, organizational structures and status.  In most progressive organizations today, dotted lines, flat organizational structures and collaborative team environments are the norm.

I agree that people should look for challenging work that fits their experience and expertise.  But looking for a job with a title that fits into the next step on the corporate ladder can prevent you from finding enriching opportunities for meaningful work that expand your talents and capabilities.

The truth is that we are living in a new corporate world order where the corporate ladder is fast becoming an obsolete metaphor.

Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In, encourages professionals to forget the corporate ladder and consider careers in terms of a jungle gym. You can venture down different paths and explore numerous possibilities on the way to achieving your goals, just like trying to climb to the top of a jungle gym.  It took me quite some time to get this during my career transition four years ago.  I am glad I did, as I ended up finding an interesting opportunity which has broadened my experience not only professionally, but in my volunteer work and social life.

  1. Being stuck really sucks!

Following on my two earlier points, getting stuck can happen very easily if you can’t define what you want or if your definition of what you want doesn’t fit in the new corporate world order or with your values.

I’ve come across a few people who are stuck within a destructive ‘my way or the highway’ mindset, hanging on to what was and what will never be, taking job loss personally and feeling victimized.  When corporate priorities change, it so happens that some jobs are no longer needed. That’s why no one should take a layoff personally.

I know that it can be a drag to be out of work and pounding the pavement can be tough.  But here’s the upside:  going through a career transition can be the best opportunity to reorient a career.  On reflection, many people thank their lucky stars that they had the chance to move on, rather than stay stuck in a career that was no longer meaningful.

Most successful careers rarely ever follow a smooth, upward north-eastern trajectory.  Compromises and disruptions do occur along the way.  The truth is that compromises can be beneficial.

Speaking from my own experience, the job with a lower salary with less formal influence may just be what you need to gain more relevant experience in a changing world, while applying your past experience in a way that is beneficial to the organization and to your career in the long run.


Take ownership and responsibility for your career transition

The world is waiting to embrace talent and you have a fair shot to offer yours. Don’t let people, old ideas or a closed mind derail your job search.  The power to shape the future resides within each of us. That’s why it is important for every job seeker to take ownership of their career transition.

When you can clearly articulate to potential employers, who you really are and why you care, they will see that the value you bring to their organization is far greater than what you know and what they expect you to do.  This sets the stage for you to find meaningful work and for your future employer see you as a true partner, stakeholder and contributor to the organization’s success.


You may find the following articles helpful –

Career mistakes you must avoid@Deepak Chopra MD (Official)

Forget the Ladder; Try the Jungle Gym: What Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Says You Can Do for Your Career Right Now – Maggie Malon

It’s called a life, not a life sentence!  How to move forward when you’re feeling stuck@Michaela Alexis


Camille N. Isaacs Morell is a proven marketing strategy and business development enabler. She is passionate about inspiring people to make decisions that support business success.  

She currently seeks opportunities to contribute to the success of enterprises and non-profit organizations with direct responsibility for developing the marketing strategy to support business development and stakeholder engagement.

See the BIG picture…Focus on what’s important


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  • What if you knew that half the attendees at an important trade show were first timers?

Wouldn’t you consider this show as an ideal opportunity to reach out to these new attendees and add them to your new business leads list?

  • And what if over three quarters of executive decision-makers said that they asked for a price quotation from at least one supplier at the trade show?

I bet that you would definitely make the business case to invest in a high-profile sponsorship with a range of entitlements that would make your brand so visible that your booth would be a hub for potential customers.

Trade shows have traditionally served as key meeting places for buyers and sellers of all kinds.  Vendors are encouraged to invest thousands of dollars in sponsorship packages offering brand visibility, exhibit space, and various opportunities to connect with potential buyers.

But as Forrester Research points out, in this Age of the Consumer, technology empowers customers, who now control when and where they buy, and increasingly that’s not in a store.  I would add, and maybe that’s not at a trade show.

While I am not suggesting that marketers withdraw support for trade shows, I caution against using three commonly cited reasons to justify investing in trade show sponsorships –

  1.  “We’ll be conspicuous by our absence.”

Ask yourself, “What is the real reason for sponsoring the event?”

What if, as a result of changes in the business environment or your company’s business strategy, your company has shifted its focus to another market segment or has dropped a product line, or has been presenting the same message to the same audience year after year at that show?

If any of these reasons is true, your participation may be irrelevant to the  92% of attendees who go to trade shows to see and learn about what’s new in products and services. 

By reducing or withdrawing your company’s investment in the show, you may in fact be sending the right message to the market about your positioning and business focus, which may not be a good fit for the trade show and its attendees.

  1.  “We get a chance to showcase our expertise and our products.”

Whether the opportunity involves doing a presentation, moderating a panel discussion or doing product demonstrations in a booth on the exhibition floor, chances are that you’ll only be able to reach a subset of the attendee population at the show.

In reality, when podium positions are secured, presenters are prohibited from promoting their solutions or products.  Furthermore, attendees spend very limited time on the show floor, as the time allotted is generally 15-30-minute breaks between conference sessions, possibly two times during the day.

  1.  “We’ll definitely generate sales at the show.”

I’ll be cautious here, as admittedly, there are times when sales are made at trade shows.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research reports that 46% of executive decision-makers made purchase decisions while attending a trade show.  But that’s less than half of the attendees with purchase decision-making authority. It’s not clear what percentage of those purchase decisions leads to sales transactions.

To state that sales will be generated at the show is plausible only if it can be proven that there is a significant proportion of the attendee population comprised of decision-makers and that you know who they are, where they are at in the buying cycle and that you know how to contact them during the event.

Consider these facts

The 2015 Exhibit Survey’s Trade Show Benchmarks indicate that trade shows are still important venues for business development.

  • 38% of attendees indicate that visiting exhibits influences purchase intent
  • Over the past five years, approximately half of all trade show attendees have consistently reported that they plan to buy products, solutions and technologies they see exhibited within 12 months after the event.

These facts also tell us that new business is developed and secured over an extended period of time and not on the trade show floor.  We can conclude that trade shows do have a place in the mix of on-going marketing programmes.

The relative importance of trade shows to the business development process should be the guiding principle that determines whether or not to invest in trade show sponsorships and if so, what the appropriate investment should be. 

Here are three key questions, which, when plausibly answered, can support the business case to invest in trade shows.

  1.  Why attend?

The reason for sponsoring the show is aligned with the company’s business objectives.

This can be done by scoring the company’s agreed on and established trade show selection criteria.

Important selection criteria include the attendee population, conference theme, content, event reputation, uniqueness of the opportunity, cost and value, timing and availability of key staff and attendees.

Each criterion should be assigned a weighted score according to its relative importance to the company’s business objectives and priorities.  For example, if the priority is to enter a niche market segment, higher weights should be assigned to the attendee population and uniqueness of the trade show.

  1.  Who will attend?

The trade show provides the opportunity for direct contact with target clientele who are also in the target audience of the company’s on-going marketing programmes.

The 2015 Exhibit Survey’s Trade Show Benchmarks clearly point to the need to engage in pre-event, on-site and on-going communication and marketing programmes to drive new business.  Investing and participating in trade shows, like any other business investment, should be part of an integrated programme of marketing communications and business development tactics that consistently reach out to a defined target clientele over an extended period of time.  That’s how companies build an engaged, loyal clientele.

  1. What’s really in it for the company?

The sponsorship entitlements create new assets for the company.

To be of value, the sponsorship investment ought to provide the company with assets that can be leveraged to build contacts and relationships so as to generate new business over time.  Some examples include access to attendee lists, bonus distribution of white papers to attendees, on-site opportunities to host or attend invitation-only events.




See the BIG picture.  Focus on what’s important.

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As marketing continues to evolve, there’s no shortage of articles, research and blogs giving advice on data analytics, engagement tactics, content marketing.  Marketers read voraciously to find solutions to ensure that marketing programs contribute to new and incremental revenues and to the pipeline of qualified leads.  Effective marketing automation and performance metrics are the highly regarded hallmarks of success.

Although performance metrics can tell us about past performance, the single determinant of success is, and has always been, the consistent delivery of the brand promise throughout the customer’s journey. 

Giving the customer what he expects is everything 

One bad customer experience can be amplified in a nanosecond through social media and damage a brand’s reputation, undermining the investment in marketing programs. 

Recent experiences with a fender bender, having my old smart phone replaced and finding my lost luggage, have given me some valuable insights on how companies are either hitting or missing the mark when it comes to delivering on the brand promise.

It came as no surprise when I read in the 2016 Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council’s Predicting Routes to Revenue Report that

Only 16 percent of marketers feel that their organizations are delivering customer experiences that truly fulfill their brand promises, while two-thirds (66 percent) say their efforts in this area are hit or miss, and 14 percent say they are completely missing the mark.

Return to marketing fundamentals

The CMO Council’s finding points to the need to return to marketing fundamentals – the why, what and how products and services should meet the needs and expectations of the customer.  Every marketer knows that the brand promise is what the customer can expect in his interaction with the brand.

So why is there a disconnect between the customer experience and the brand promise?

In my view, very often the brand promise is defined by Marketing, but it is not understood by other areas of the business.  The back-office is not configured to support the customer experience; customer-facing teams are ill-equipped to serve customers; budgets don’t get approved for investments in training, IT development and operational processes that ultimately impact the customer experience.

The real answers to the why, what and how questions, can’t be just be statements of Marketing’s pipe dream, nor should they be the responsibility of some other area of the business.

The answers require deep understanding and insight into customers’ needs and their motivation to purchase, which may not be as straightforward or as obvious as is commonly taken for granted. 

Why is there a demand for your product or service?

Like it or not, a well-crafted end-product or service may really only be a means to an end for the customer.  For example, travellers use airlines to get to the family reunion or to the once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation destination.  Delay or lose the passenger’s luggage and the family reunion or the dream vacation is ruined.  Back-office operations that send an automated e-mail promising a response in 3 days, and a CSR who tells the customer that the “system is still searching for your bag” fully discredit the brand promise to “provide the best service possible.”

What is the fundamental problem has to be solved for the customer?

The perceived need that is being fulfilled may in fact be secondary.  The person whose car was damaged obviously needs to have it repaired.  But the real problem is the inconvenience of being without a car and the hassle of making alternative travel arrangements while the car is being repaired.  Armed with this insight, the promise of “personalized service for each guest” translates to a simplified sign-up process and flexible return schedule for the rented car replacement on top of a first-class repair job.  The combined work of the body shop’s Repair Services and Administration teams adds up to an A-grade score from a delighted customer, who then becomes a brand advocate.

How does the client want to be served?

And so what if you have a leading-edge product?  The average consumer doesn’t deeply understand (and doesn’t want to deeply understand) the technical features of many products they use on a daily basis.  Advertising the hi-tech features of smart phones won’t buy customers’ loyalty. The promise to provide the “best possible customer experience…treating the customer the way we would want to be treated” is really about ensuring that the customer’s experience is delivered on the customer’s terms.  What really matters is easy access to personalized service when and where the customer wants and needs it, delivered by tech-savvy customer service professionals.

The BIG picture

Empowered with information, customers are driving the way business is done.  That said, there has to be a common understanding of the brand promise and a common view of how the brand promise will be delivered through interdependent relationships throughout the organization.  This, in my view, is the BIG picture.

Focus on what’s important

What’s really important is the consistent gathering of customer insights that is used to validate the brand promise and where necessary, adjust every aspect of business operations ensuring alignment with customer expectations. In practical terms, this means that organizations must do 3 things –

  1. Dedicate specialist resources to gather and analyse data on customer behaviour,
  2. Avoid analysis paralysis by requiring the delivery of actionable recommendations, and
  3. Commit to drive change in every area of the business so that the customer experience matches the brand promise.


See the BIG picture.  Focus on what’s important.



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Lost Luggage

For fourteen days I was without my suitcase.  When the airline finally delivered my suitcase, it was exactly fourteen hours before my flight back to Canada. This happened on my Christmas vacation in Jamaica.

It was frustrating to go through this experience as a customer.  As a marketer, I observed firsthand how a negative customer experience can undermine the hard work and investment in the company’s marketing program.

Disconnect between Marketing and Customer Experience

The philosophy of the airline’s founders – that just because you pay less for your flight, doesn’t mean you should get less – appeals to many travellers who are looking for the same or better service at lower cost than competing airlines.  The advertising slogan – Owners care – means that the employee-owners have a vested interest in the success of the airline, so that passengers will be treated well.

In the first few days of this ordeal, I wandered through a maze of standard verbal and automated responses, I resorted to sending Tweets and e-mails to senior leaders of the airline and I blew a gasket when the airline sent me the wrong suitcase on day 6.

Ironically, it was a contract worker who showed an impressive level of care that made me believe that the ordeal would come to a happy ending.

On Christmas Eve as I was preparing to go out to celebrate, the luggage delivery service’s driver called at 10:00 p.m. to say that he was two hours away.  He said that he didn’t want me to miss my celebration event and emphasized that he was committed to delivering my suitcase wherever I was and whenever it was convenient for me.

Personas, Processes, Predictability

Throughout the experience, it was clear to me that there were serious gaps in customer service, employee empowerment, operations and communication.  In my view, the shortcomings in all of these areas seriously undermined the airline’s marketing program in three ways –

  • There are some segments in the client population whose personas and needs were not understood;
  • The operations processes didn’t address the customer’s needs; and
  • The employees’ actions were not consistently aligned with the corporate values and culture.

I offer the following recommendations on how to prevent these shortcomings –

1. Clearly define and understand the personas of a diverse passenger clientele

Although Canadian-based airlines may consider Jamaica as a vacation destination, not all passengers are Canadian tourists.  A large number of airline passengers in winter are Canada-based Jamaicans returning ‘home’ on vacation.  These passengers have very different personas from Canadian tourists ‘going south’ for a winter vacation.

Admittedly, it is challenging to craft marketing messages and to provide a consistent client experience when a diverse clientele is using the same service.  Gaining a detailed understanding of various customer personas should be the first priority.  Armed with this understanding, it is likely that airlines will be well placed to develop appropriate service levels, effective operational processes and prepare employees to ensure that every client has a satisfying travel experience.

2.  Ensure processes to remedy problems are focused in customers’ needs

A passenger feels stranded when his luggage is lost or delayed.  What’s worse is when an automated e-mail promises a response within 3 to 5 business days.   A stranded passenger doesn’t care about the airline’s logistical constraints and system limitations.

Operational processes are only efficient if they meet the customer’s needs in a timely manner.

Even if it takes an extended period of time to solve a problem, in the interim, the customer needs to be kept informed of the status of the problem and be made to feel confident that every effort is being made by real people – not a computer system or some convoluted process – to solve the problem.

3.  Train employees to deliver a predictable and consistent customer experience

Fun, friendly and caring – these are among the airline’s stated corporate values that are said to flow through to the corporate culture and customer experience.  I can only agree that all of the airline’s staff in Canada, in-flight and in Jamaica were fun, friendly and caring when everything was working well.

All employees – both on the front lines and behind the scenes – ought to understand how to act in ways that are consistent with the brand promise and how their actions influence customer perceptions and corporate success.  In practical terms, this means that employees should be trained to communicate effectively when problems arise.  As well, employees should be empowered to manage risk and take remedial action on the spot before bad situations get worse.

See the BIG picture.  Focus on what’s important.

Companies should not lose sight of the big picture, which is that customers are the cause of business. Their needs come first!

Every area of the organization ought to focus on ensuring that the customer experience does not undermine the company’s marketing plans.

Post Script –

  • The only items of clothing in my other suitcase that did arrive with me at the beginning of my vacation were my exercise outfit and my swimsuit! So I did get a chance to work out my angst and to relax at the beach during my two-week vacation.
  • Do you want to know the name of the airline?  I’m not telling.
    • The airline has made every effort to settle my claim fairly and the senior leadership have said that they take my feedback very seriously.

I really believe that remedial action will be taken.

That’s why I am pretty sure that I will have a positive experience when next I fly with this airline.  I certainly hope that you will too!


See the BIG picture.  Focus on what’s important.




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There is a growing awareness of the important role Marketing must play in all areas of business.   But this doesn’t mean that it’s getting any easier for CMOs to gain the CFO’s nod of approval for marketing budgets.

Ask any CEO or CFO what they really care about when marketing budgets are being approved.  The answer always boils down to having measurable proof that marketing activities are contributing to revenue generation and profitability.

While no one would disagree that brand awareness and reputation are essential for business success and should be measured, many marketers are struggling to find the right metrics to justify their budgets.

Three key performance indicators of revenue generation and profits that are likely to get marketing budgets approved are  demand generation, acquisition of new clients and profitability of retaining current clients.

To deliver programmes that can be measured by these KPIs, Marketing has to work closely with other departments, particularly Sales and Client Service. There has to be a clear understanding of Marketing’s role to define where Marketing’s accountability begins and ends and to appropriately assign KPI metrics.

When setting KPI benchmarks, it is important to separate and measure the contribution of each Department involved –

  1. Demand generation programmes are generally based on calls to action through direct and indirect marketing activities. Not every lead that is generated results in a sale.  KPI benchmarks assigned to Marketing should measure the number of leads as well as the percentage of qualified leads.
  2. Although new client acquisition is the primary responsibility of Sales, the cost of acquiring clients involves the preparation of advertisements, collateral and quotation material and product /service enhancements require investment of time and resources from Marketing and possibly the IT, Operations and Customer Services Departments. The Marketing KPI benchmark should be based on the number of clients acquired as a direct result of a marketing lead generation programme.
  3. Profitability of retaining current clients generally requires the joint effort of key areas of the business such as Client Services and Marketing to retain, upsell and effectively service the client. The benchmark for this KPI should be directly related to Marketing budgets required to develop promotional programmes and on-going communications that engage current clients and support up-selling and cross-selling.

The trends in the metrics should be tracked and analysed on an on-going basis to determine how best to allocate future budgets and to adjust marketing strategies to optimize business results.

Click on the table below to see a suggested framework for setting KPI metrics.



See the BIG picture.  Focus on what’s important.



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Il y a quelques années, j’ai reçu un appel de quelqu’un qui essayait de me vendre des emplacements médias pour la campagne publicitaire de la compagnie où je travaillais. J’ai reçu l’appel juste deux minutes après que j’ai cliqué sur le bouton d’envoi d’un courriel avec ma réponse au courriel que le représentant des ventes médias m’a envoyé il y a quelques jours avant. Dans mon courriel, j’ai dit que j’avais déjà été sollicité par un de ses collègues.  J’ai réitéré que la stratégie de marketing de l’entreprise était axée sur les priorités qui, à mon avis, ne pourraient être soutenues dans les médias qu’il m’a offert.  Donc, le représentant des ventes  médias m’a téléphoné pour en savoir plus de mes priorités et objectifs publicitaires.

Augmenter la notoriété de la marque faisait seulement une partie des besoins de mon entreprise, je lui ai dit, mais susciter l’intérêt, l’engagement et la considération d’achat par l’entremise du « content marketing » était ma priorité principale. L’emplacement des publicités sur son plateforme numérique n’était pas approprié et ne correspondait pas aux objectifs de l’entreprise.

En réponse, le représentant des médias a répondu avec une allocution de 60 secondes sur le nombre élevé d’impressions et cliques sur les annonces publiées sur son site web pendant un court période de temps, même si le « content marketing » et la possibilité de commanditer les articles n’étaient pas disponibles. De plus, il a essayé de me convaincre qu’il «n’était pas intéressé de vendre, mais il ne voulait que combler mes besoins. » Il m’a demandé d’accepter une invitation à une réunion avec son directeur qui m’inspirerait à «changer d’avis au sujet de mon cours stratégie de marketing. »

L’appel est terminé avec une offre et une promesse de suivi dans quelques mois pour voir s’il y avait un changement de priorités et la possibilité de publier des. Ni le représentant des médias, ni aucun de ses collègues ont jamais fait le suivi.

Vous penseriez peut-être, que c’était juste une mauvaise expérience et non pas un bon exemple. En effet selon mes observations au cours des années, la discussion que j’ai eue reflète un bon nombre des erreurs les plus fréquentes qui ont été faites par les représentants des ventes médias.

  • Être tactique, sans aucun égard pour la stratégie d’affaires et de marketing de l’annonceur, juste pour faire une vente rapide.
  • Une approche désorganisée et fragmentée, impliquant plus d’un représentant qui essaient de vendre diverses « solutions » au même annonceur.
  • Faire un pitch de vente sur les avantages et les mesures qui n’ont aucun rapport avec les besoins de l’annonceur.

La plupart des annonceurs que je connais aiment voir leur marque dans des positions importantes dans les médias et aiment voir des résultats positifs en matière de notoriété. Cependant, la triste vérité est que les annonceurs sont poussés à démontrer le ROI des investissements publicitaires. Le taux de prospection et les ventes sont les rendements les plus importants aux yeux les directeurs de finance ainsi que pour les directeurs généraux.

Les erreurs telles que j’ai décrites, mènent à la perte d’opportunités des ventes et pourraient être évitées si les représentants des ventes médias prennent le temps à écouter attentivement pour comprendre en profondeur, les objectifs de notoriété et de développement commercial des annonceurs.

Les représentants des ventes médias ne réussissent pas quand ils recommandent le placement d’annonces dans les médias qui n’est pas aligné ni pertinent à la clientèle cible de l’annonceur. Le pire, c’est que le succès est déclaré lorsque les métriques standardisés sont atteintes.  Dans le domaine des publicités numériques, beaucoup d’importance est accordée au nombre des clics et des impressions, qui en effet, ne peuvent pas du tout indiquer s’il y a une augmentation de la notoriété de la marque, ni de l’engagement ou de l’acquisition de nouveaux clients.

J’ai toujours accepté les offres présentés par les représentants des ventes médias qui ont fait la sélection appropriée des médias pour ma clientèle cible avec des options pour l’intégration des appels à l’action dans les publicités et ce, avec des métriques pertinentes pour gauger le retour sur l’investissement en termes du taux de prospection ainsi que l’impact positif sur les ventes. Ce genre d’offre est toujours présenté après que le représentant a pris le temps de s’informer et de comprendre les objectifs de la campagne et est en mesure de fournir l’offre après une analyse profonde.

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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.

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