An agency person says, "Here we go again. Every November I get presented lots of 'great deals,' 'amazing opportunities' and 'special offers' on media plans that of course have to start right away. Do these salespeople know that hitting THEIR sales quota is not MY primary goal?
Since it is the time of year that prognosticators attempt to predict the future, let me offer this: Within five years, CPM pricing will account for less than 20% of the total market. CPM pricing will eventually be relegated to a few hundred sites like WSJ, TechCrunch, and GQ where advertisers are willing to pay for the credibility that comes from associating with these publishing brands. The rest of us will be forced to sell on performance pricing models.
What should a billion dollars buy? The New York media twittering classes are speculating on where Hearst might invest its rumored billion dollar war chest that is speculated to be aimed at digital media. The team at Silicon Alley Insider suggested 10 companies Hearst should buy. I say, NOT SO FAST, MY FRIENDS.
As a medium, we started this decade in such an aggressive rush to prove online "worked," and we have never shed this manic positioning. So everything we do, make, and sell gets positioned as something that will work right away. We need to stand behind our innovations, but stop promising advertisers that what we do works the second they take it out of the box.
In a prior post, I hypothesized that one of the reasons that publishers have too much unsold inventory is because of the overall lack of "self-serve" systems. Buyers simply do not have access to the publisher's standard products -- common ad products such as IAB banners and other basic products that a publisher offers to its customers -- without the assistance of a salesperson. This creates friction in the sales process that keeps publishers from maximum sell-through-rates. Display advertising needs to adopt a more direct approach to sales if it is to fully reach its potential.
Question from the mailbag: Why can't I just cherry-pick placements that I need for my media plan? I've been working with a direct response client for a while now, and I know what works. When I RFP sites, I can't just get what I want. I have to buy other placements that don't perform in order to get what does. Lucky for them, the ROI is still there but why is this the case?
The bizarre concept that is newstainment has crept into the American lexicon and bombarded our TV sets. Ideological slants on the news, coupled with maniacal talking heads aiming for shock value over substance, are dangerous and growing trends. The misguided notion that it is okay to treat news as entertainment -- as long as it captures viewers -- has far-reaching ramifications for our democracy, and for online publishing as well.
From the mailbag: Hi, I'm a developer trying to gain traction in both the agency and publishing worlds. I have a product that I think can make a real difference in how the business works, but getting traction isn't easy. This may seem like Sales 101, but please share any tips for getting me in the door.
Throughout my career, I have always heard how a great salesperson can sell anything, but I have never bought into this concept. I can't sell ice to an Eskimo. I can't sell cars, homes or shower curtain rings. I can only sell media. And within media, I can only sell a well-branded content property. It gets even worse for my career opportunities: I can only sell media for a well-branded content property that has sold me as a consumer.
The recent WSJ article "Why Email No Longer Rules," by Jessica E. Vascellaro, made the case that communicating through social media like Facebook and Twitter is so much more "for the way we live" -- which just didn't make sense, and drew many objections and comments. So I am writing this because really smart email strategies may be publishers' single most important distribution strategy. Email may also be your most important advertising strategy. And I don't want you to be distracted from focusing on what is important.