Advertising sales reps must develop data + trust for deeper partnerships

By Darrell Kunken

The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento, California, USA


We’ve all heard — and some have experienced firsthand, like yours truly: “If our lives consist only of work and no play, executives are at risk of losing their sense of work/life balance.”

One should apply this same thought process to the interactions with your clients. Not the “play” part, but the idea that you’re working to strike a balance.

Successful media companies will work with clients to find a balance that meets everyone's needs.
Successful media companies will work with clients to find a balance that meets everyone's needs.

This is another reason clients will want to work with you as their marketing partner.

Nearly all of the time, we find both parties at the table are going through their own version of business transformation and evolution. Through our conversations, we hope to move clients to a new level of understanding of how we can help them in their business today.

We want to move them from not really understanding how we are capable of assisting their business and advertising needs today to “OK I understand” to “I also don’t want to try and do it all myself and would welcome a partnership with you to get there.”

We need to help them perceive how working with a brand such as ours (with an important consumer base of its own) can help them build their own brand.

We start with research to understand the consumer marketplace first. So many competitors aren’t as well equipped to be a partner in marketing as we are.

Our commitment to our partners is that we will:

  • Be transparent.
  • Offer market-leading products and services at a fair price.
  • Be as committed to results as they are.

Prospective clients should want to hire us to be a part of their own business.

As my colleague Jennifer Williams, director of digital strategy and development, likes to say: “There is a business partner, and there is a trusted business partner. There is a difference.”

The news side of our business represents trusted journalist integrity. The advertising side of our industry should present and practice the same kind of integrity with our business partners.

Add to that the fact we ourselves have experience in and can sympathise with what it is like to navigate business transformation and we are in a key position to gain and preserve our clients’ trust.

Today, more than ever, we need to work where art meets science (research) and trust.

About Darrell Kunken

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