Media must learn to be real partners with advertisers and agencies to build their business.
Advertisers realize that for every dollar they spend they should receive more than a dollar back in revenue. Some call it “dollar in dollar out”. It really means that the goals of advertiser spending should only be goals that can be measured and monetized. This is what the media must learn to do to sell more effectively. That’s a real business partnership.
Several agencies have begun to bring in employees from outside the agency business to help them do this. Many now from the digital side as well because of the rapid growth and integration of the digital space with traditional media. But many media still do not ingratiate themselves with agencies and advertisers well enough to enhance business. They continue to operate as they have in the past by trying to build relationships and maybe bring some real value to the table. This is not only costly but wasteful.
Let me tell you a story. I ran media agencies and media departments of several agencies for many years. Every media company seller wanted to take me out to lunch. The net result was that I gained about 40 lbs. And my clients gained less. Why? Because for every 50 minutes the media publishers, TV or radio sellers and I spent at lunch “building a relationship” about 10 minutes were devoted to serious business. And back then we drank like mad men. So media lunches lasted much more than an hour. And I always had to initiate the side about “here’s what my client needs” vs. “here’s what I can sell you” from the media side. They rarely asked what they could do for my clients.
Here’s another little story. There was a guy in the media business who held a top position at a magazine company. He was very well respected (and liked). You know, we always prefer to do business with people we like. Every year he invited about 6 or 7 top level agency people on a great 4 day trip to a wonderful destination. We ate great meals, played lots of golf (and tennis), and schmoozed for hours each day. At the end of the trip I always expected the publishers to call and ask me for a meeting back at the office. We surely got to know each other better from the trip. They never called right away. And a few I never heard from for months. What a waste of business time and expense. (I did call some of them when I was ready to consider a few of their publications down the road). But we never had a real partnership.
Most of the major media are modifying their business model. They are adding important digital capabilities, they are adding marketing people to their sales staffs, they are developing analytical models to evaluate performance, and they are desperately trying to preserve their traditional media value and the revenue it brings, in addition to new revenue from digital without cannibalizing their base. But what they have not been able to do well enough is understand how clients and agencies develop strategy, how they look for value, what they use to measure results and what is expected to be held accountable.
By the time the media are brought in; the budget is established, the strategy has been developed, the media types are designated, the goals are set and the metrics created. So what’s a medium to do? Show how efficient they can be, show how they can get on the schedule by swiping money that’s been planned from somewhere else, show how they can produce an idea that may or may not be relevant to what the client is looking for. That’s like pushing snow uphill after the snowfall is over, instead of getting in on the bottom and being a genuine, responsible participant in the outcome.
Drexler/Fajen & Partners believes that the advertising model is a three-legged stool: advertiser, agency and media from the start. Actually, in today’s digital world it’s really a four-legged stool with the consumer at least as important as the other marketing influences (perhaps more so, adding content and commentary to what’s going on). We know what agencies are doing, we know what advertisers want and need, we know what the media should bring to the table and how they should do it because we work with all three. And beyond that, we understand how media performance should be measured and the criteria for monetizing the investment.
Let us tell you our story and show you what we can do. It will be more than worthwhile. And that’s a promise we can fulfill.