The role of an educator is not an easy one. It takes dedication, persistence, and the authority to correct students when they’re headed down the wrong path.

It also requires the ability to teach in a way that doesn’t just yield the right result in order to pass one test, but prepare students for future success. 

The same responsibility is now bestowed on newsmedia sales executives. Our students are business owners, ad agency representatives, and marketers looking for direction. They want to learn how, in the digital landscape, to drive consumer activity in the age of DVRs, ad-free mobile apps, and commercial-free radio. (See Adam Burnham’s post on advertising avoidance technology.) 

In this role (which isn’t entirely new for newsmedia reps – for years we’ve been counted on by advertisers to provide consultative advice), we must take the lead by telling our advertisers what they should do, not asking them what they’d like to do. Too often, we allow an uneducated (or under-educated) advertiser to place an online ad buy with poor creative design, incorrect targeting, or otherwise misguided use of the medium.

We do this for a variety of reasons:

  • We’re worried about offending a new client.

  • We’re hopeful the client knows their brand well and has realistic goals for the buy.

  • Or we’re just on deadline and need to get the order completed so we can get out of the office and home to our families.

In most cases, these advertisers don’t know: 

A) Our audience or products as well as we do. 

B) The ad placements or campaigns that perform best on our sites.

C) What they even would quantify as “success” from this campaign. 

We must make sure to illustrate our expertise on A and B and help our advertisers properly benchmark their goals in advance, to measure whether or not the campaign “worked” for them after a reasonable amount of time (so that C doesn’t come back to bite us).

Just like the important role teachers in our education system play in shaping future leaders of our communities, we in the advertising and marketing business need to play our part in shaping educated digital media buyers.

When we do, we not only get more digital ad buys, but the advertising buyers have a better understanding of what they’re buying and what they can expect from it.  And we can all reap the benefits of a more educated media buying pool.