Ahhh, fall is here and so is budget season for those of you on a fiscal calendar year. Time for the sprint to the finish line.

In that spirit, I thought I would talk about some things to consider as you prep for 2015 from a product and sales execution perspective.

Here are some things to consider as we take a look forward.

Overall, legacy products (print, radio, television, yellow pages) will be down in 2015. It’s a non-election year my television friends.

Digital will be up, but not enough to replace legacy product losses in whole. You will need to think beyond core legacy and digital, or be prepared for further cost cutting. Your organisation will continue to evolve and will need to focus even more on core competencies of content and sales.

Since this is an innovative advertising blog, we will leave the content discussion to content experts.

From an advertising perspective, what is your plan? Will you be adding any new platforms or products for 2015? If so, how do you know if they are the right ones to offer?

Are you prepared to be successful and fulfill these new services and if you fail, fail fast and move on? And if you are, how are you going to maintain cost certainties?

Trust me, there are right and wrong answers to those questions. How you answer them and craft your plan for 2015 is critical.

My advice

Stop struggling with what you will and will not sell. Keep it simple. Make it easy. Develop the right solutions ... sell things your advertisers want to buy!

(I know, I know, I say this in pretty much every blog post.)

Stop reinventing the same old crap. Time to move from craptastic to innovative.

This sounds like rocket science, right? It appears daunting and complicated. I mean, talking to customers to determine the most important things they need to improve and grow their business? Blasphemy! Anarchy! Utter chaos!

Overly dramatic? Well, yes. But listening to media companies today, you would think change is just as overly dramatic.

On the other side, you may be thinking this blow-hard blogger who knows nothing about me or my market is making it sound like changing products is so easy … blah, blah, blah.

Listen, I agree with you. I am a blow hard.

However, there is a very clear path to success with any local advertiser, and that is providing products and services they need determined through data and research.

You cannot assume you know what your existing and potential customers need. You need to talk to them. You need to invest in data. You need to make an informed decision.

Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

The key to success

Aligning the platforms and products you can provide to customers that solves a problem and makes it easier to run their business is the key. This is not a debate over print and digital and broadcast and yellow pages. This is solution-selling based on marketing services, not advertising, which is a big, amorphous category.

Think beyond your current constraints and focus on what is possible. This new mix of products and services may seem out of scope and will likely require partnerships with companies that can bring expertise to your organisation. (I may know of one or two that can help here.)

One thing is for certain, there will be things you need to offer in this new solution set that will notbe owned and operated products. This is a fact. Deal with it now so you can move forward.

Digital will not necessarily save the day, but it will help. Understanding the needs of the local marketplace and delivering solutions to serve that marketplace is the home run. Don’t just try and get your slice of the marketing pie … try and get the whole damn thing!

It’s not about digital transformation. It’s about cultural transformation.

Product selling to solution selling.

Solutions built on what advertisers want to buy.

Until next time …