Are you going halfway in meeting client needs?


How much of your media sales training and technique is devoted to getting a client to purchase ads on your print and digital platforms?

Of course, you may do so in the most consultative manner, with due diligence as to the nature of their business and their customer, all reflected in a proposal that precisely targets their best prospects. And the proposal might be accepted and executed and a successful sale completed.

However, if your next move is to wait, see if they get results, and then try to sell them yet more advertising, then you have only succeeded as a sales vendor and failed as a marketing partner.

The traditional media sales view of advertising communications looks something like the chart below. Define your client’s market, reach as much of it as the client can afford, and hopefully deliver a creative advertisement that gets consumer attention with an offer that they find compelling enough to remember and act upon.

Typically, media sales focus on selling an ad schedule and letting the client worry about what happens when a new customer is created by that advertising investment. Traditional mass media takes great pride in reaching the “thin market” for their advertising clients.

Do you stop serving the client after you deliver his ads to the marketplace? Well, then you have only gone halfway in meeting client needs. And you have left marketing dollars on the table — and an opening for a savvier competitor to become your client’s “partner.”

Marketing textbooks tell us that there are four P’s in the marketing mix: price, product, promotion, and placement. The new fifth “P” in the marketing mix is partner. And if you think like a partner, you have a perspective more like the inverted pyramid shown below.

Think of the end-to-end pyramids above as an hourglass. Your client may spend an enormous portion of his marketing budget with you to push consumers vertically from the bottom marketplace pyramid into the top customer pyramid.

This is the acquisition phase of marketing. For many media sales professionals, it is the only phase they are expected or equipped to pay attention to.

The top pyramid is all about the retention phase of marketing. It is CRM/loyalty marketing that keeps the consumers in the top pyramid. And it is another source of new customers when you use customer feedback to generate positive word-of-mouth. Businesses can also provide effective incentives to existing customers to create word-of-mouth/tag-along traffic.

In contemporary marketing, it is what happens in the top pyramid that will determine the success or failure of a business. Businesses cannot survive, much less thrive, if they rely only on the customer traffic generated by costly media advertising.

Providing CRM/loyalty marketing services to the advertising client serves as your retention programme. And the media sales team that is trained and equipped to provide support at the CRM level is able to perform as a full partner.

We’re not talking about rocket science here, either. The tools to help your client collect customer data, feedback, and contact information are readily available and easy to apply. Working with your client to build a customer database (managed by you, of course) is rewarding for both parties and will foster a strong and loyal relationship.

Providing additional services such as e-mail design and distribution, social media development and maintenance, even basic Web site development and maintenance for small businesses, are all very achievable with modest efforts and profitable pricing.

A media sales organisation can obviously provide these services more cost effectively for a number of small business clients than the client can manage for themselves. And the level of expertise that can be provided in this manner will also generally exceed anything the client could do for themselves.

Best of all, when you go down this path with your client, you will become their most valuable marketing partner, part of their success formula. You become part of every sales discussion and strategy development. And because you are providing greater value and selling more services, they will have become an important part of your success formula.

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