Woe The Digital Sale: Pumped Up For Q4

Question from a media seller: I'm hearing mixed things about the ad business in 4th quarter. Now that we're here, should I be bullish, bearish or in between?

Jason says: What have you heard? Who did you talk to? It's all lies. Listen only to me. This year has been a wild ride. The media business is in quite a state of unrest. Magazine executives are asking themselves, "Will the tablet save us?" The owners of cable networks are asking the consumers to "watch us anywhere, as long as you authenticate yourself." The big 4 broadcast TV companies are amazingly (and successfully) clinging to the notion that, although their audiences have shrunk, the exclusive content they provide will keep advertisers paying more for less. Newspaper companies are trying to find their own strategy and may come up with something soon. And radio business is... well, I don't even own a car, so I can't speak to that.

That leaves digital. And frankly, the business is crushing it. Whether you are in search, mobile, social or video, there is a lot of gold in them hills. The wind is at our backs and it is our time to capitalize. But we have to be smart about it -- which is where we, Online Publishing Insiders, come in. This column is written to provide sales-side colleagues with the right mindset, theories and tactics to get the job done, including a behind-the-scenes look at the buy side perspective. In case you have been abducted by aliens or are otherwise totally uncool and have somehow missed it, just do an advanced search at the top right of this page and look at our columns. 

The macro economic picture is cloudy. Debt is rising to levels never seen before. There are political machinations in our country that are crippling government. Unemployment figures are dismal. We can't make a quick transition from a manufacturing-based economy to an information economy. But what we can do in our own business is simply inform advertisers how to make  smarter decisions in their marketing spend.

We are building products that make lives easier and more fun for consumers. We are streamlining operations to make processes simple and more efficient. If your product/service is accomplishing any of these, you have the right to be bullish. Thus, I am here to pump you up about having an excellent fourth quarter. Now, go get 'em. 

Amy says:  Are you kidding?  Q4 is already here!  There are plenty of opportunities every day of the year, but Q4 is a great time to jump in and capture some late-year action.  Here are some ways that may be helpful toward working with agencies to make some quick sales and fuel your Q4 momentum.

Agencies are always winning and losing business.  Account transitions create new opportunities to connect with agencies and create programs that are quick wins.  Digital advertising is now a mature medium and increasingly subject to achieving objectives beyond just click-through.  So now more than ever, agencies and clients are looking for real partnerships that provide more than just impressions.  And if you have something turnkey and ready to go, the agency is very likely to take advantage of your offer.

With the continued rise of social media and increased investment in mobile, these platforms are definitely a good way in the door with a planning team.  Most content sites have social and mobile extensions.  When you are pitching your site or even just leaving voicemails, lead with your social and mobile offerings. 

Pay attention to how campaigns are performing on your site.  When talking to a travel prospect, be able to say that your site is being renewed by several travel advertisers who report that your site provides superior performance.  It would be great to have a case study to back it up.  Make it as easy as possible for buyers to choose your site. 

Q4 is also "make or break" time for many advertisers, especially retail.  With some diligence, you may find a treasure chest of budget that, with the right offering, can make your year and the agency and client's year as well.  Pay attention to advertising you see in all channels.  Run a competitive report to see which advertisers are most active, and create a story where you site can be a hero to bring in that last wave of customer demand to end 2011 on a successful note.  Monies that were allocated to another medium may be pulled back and be ripe for the picking. 

I trust that Jason and I have pumped you up and you are ready to rise above being merely a girlie-man salesperson. Make your Q4 great, and it will be the best foundation for a successful 2012!

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