Are you rolling your eyes at the title of this article? We know that this premise seems simple. However, your advertisers might beg to differ. To illustrate, we recently discussed this topic with Mitchell Olszewski, a former ad sales rep with Milwaukee Magazine turned B2B director of marketing. During our discussion, we uncovered 3 key ways that media sales teams can connect with buyers to sell more advertising.
Tip #1: Marketers Are About the Metrics
As the director of marketing for a growing business, Mitchell has his hands full. He has direct reports on his team, a growing number of brand channels to manage, events to plan, and a budget that ties all of these things together. His endgame? Keep the metrics moving in the right direction.
“Publishers are important, they have the audience. But they also have to meet the demands of modern marketers,” says Mitchell. Knowing what he knows now, he would refocus his sales pitch as a young magazine sales rep to focus on how success is measured.
“I would definitely have exercised my ability to talk about impressions and objective measurement of advertising output. Yes, it’s a lot of fun being in a magazine, or being on a website, or getting pictures done. But if I was able to speak to a media buyer on their level, I probably would’ve won more contracts and generated a higher volume of them.
He adds, “Finding an objective measurement across all media and showing how that fits into a strategy, that’s where my mindset is. When sales reps can speak that language to me, we can have a very meaningful conversation”
Tip #2: Offer Turnkey Creative Solutions to Sell More Advertising
In-house marketers are busy people. In part, it’s because they’re managing content creation among fellow staffers and freelancers. Not only does this take time, but it also takes resources away from projects they wish they could be working on.
Case in point: video production. Mitchell says, “Turnkey video is hot. It’s hard to produce. We can run it at virtual events, trade shows, or on websites as an ad. Anytime there is video involved, I want to hear about it.”
And, as Spotlight Media’s Mike Dragosavich shared with us during a recent interview, video production can be a huge profit center for publishers who offer it. Mitchell adds his buyers’ perspective:
“I’ve paid anywhere from $10-40,000 for a two-minute video. Some of them were included in event and virtual event packages. If a media sales rep can say, ‘We’re going to have a virtual event, we’ll produce the video [for your business], and you can have the file.’ Well, that’s got my attention!”
The same advice goes for other creative offerings: turnkey assets give marketers a chance to maximize the utility of advertising with magazines, newspapers, and media outlets. “Content that can be used on both a publisher’s site and a digital marketing push is the most valuable [to me]. I pay for the media, pay to run it to [a publisher’s] audience, and I’ll run it to my audience too.”
Tip #3: When It Comes to Price, Placement Matters
If you’re like most publications in 2021, you’re balancing print sales with digital sales. And like most marketing directors, Mitchell is open to striking a balance between the two to reach his intended audience. But, he says, the pricing can often become a headache when digital impressions are priced the same as print. “Print prices for digital are a red flag. How can you justify this [digital] rate? How many people am I going to reach?”
Mitchell offers the following to magazine sales teams struggling with digital pricing: “Make it easy for me to buy. Sell at a realistic CPM for digital. And sell based on compelling content. I’d be willing to pay more for CPM if there are value-adds like above-the-fold, page takeover, et cetera. Placement matters.”
Further complicating the print/digital CPM balancing act is the state of B2B print in 2021. With more people working from home, events halted, and offices closed, print’s reach feels uncertain. For this reason, you have to think beyond the rate card to sell more advertising.
“Going into [this year], I don’t want any print ads that are dependent on events. We’re trying to stay away from buying around specific events. My desk [back at my office] is covered in trade magazines and tabloids. The expectation that all of the print traffic is reaching the audience this year is unrealistic.”
If you’re pitching print first, think about value adds in the same manner as digital placement value adds. “Big titles have the trust of C-level executives. Is there something custom you can do [as a publisher]?” For example, you may consider creating a separate direct mail piece for owners and CEOs as part of a bigger print-centric campaign.
Sell More Advertising With a Buyer-Focused Pitch
When it comes down to it, media sales reps must connect with their prospects to make a sale. According to Mitchell, that can be achieved by focusing on success measurement, producing turnkey creative, and pricing your media in a way the buyer understands. “It’s a matter of listening to your customers and finding new ways that you can help them achieve their goals.”
Interested in learning from other top voices in the publishing industry? Check out our Publishing Success video series for more tips, tricks, and perspectives on what’s going on in media sales today.