Media companies have always had the opportunity to play a bigger role in client marketing decisions. But many have not taken advantage of it; and still don't. Why? Because (a) they often don't ask the right questions, or (b) meet with the right people at the right time, or (c) are simply just focused on selling their inventory to meet a quota. Perhaps there are answers that will help to provide more consistent, long-term results. Let me explain.
First of all, if media companies want to be real partners with agencies and advertisers they must ask questions that will help to understand what the advertiser wants to achieve. What are the objectives of the campaign? What is the strategy being employed and what tactics are being used? These are basic questions that a media seller must ask in order to put forward the most relevant sales proposition. Next, who can provide all the necessary information, not just the buyer, but the strategic planner and the research insight executive as well as the creative staff? By the time implementation takes place the media have been established and the budgets are set. Too late to make any real difference. And finally, media vendors must think in terms of helping to solve particular issues or challenges facing the advertiser. A customized and innovative solution to solve a problem.
Too often, media sales executives concentrate on obtaining a greater share of the budget already allocated to the medium, instead of how they can obtain a greater share of the marketing budget. In other words, getting in early, seeing the right people up and down the line and even meeting with the creative people working on the campaign. Media companies have many assets to contribute to marketing a client's brand. They have devoted creative services, distribution platforms, editorial or programming content, promotion opportunities, events (i.e. experiential marketing), public relations involvement, conferences, research studies, data bases and more. How often do they bring theses assets to the agency or client, particularly as an integrated marketing concept along with their core traditional or digital product, which can attract both above and below the line investments? This process may also require a modification in infrastructure to produce some real collaboration and while this is happening, cost control and operating efficiency need to be addressed.
There are many new challenges facing everyone in the advertising and media business and we must all adapt to the rapidly changing media environment. As Sir Martin Sorrell recently put it," The most difficult thing in an organization is to get everyone inside the company to understand strategic and cultural change." He is right.
As experts in media consulting, Drexler/Fajen and Partners has worked with many advertisers, agencies and media companies over many years. With an inside view of the planning and buying process and it's transition to customized content, automated transactions, data analytics and measurement, we know how important it is for media companies to develop new selling approaches for both their traditional and digital properties. The bottom line of what clients are looking for hasn't really changed. It is the need to accomplish their goals with resources and methods necessary to do the job that has changed dramatically. Media companies should be an integral part of the development of a client's marketing plan long before sellers and buyers meet to review inventory and negotiate price. And, it needs to be done, now.
Mike Drexler is co-founder and Managing Partner of Drexler/Fajen & Partners, a media consulting and agency review firm that works with advertisers to evaluate their agencies’ performance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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