There are four common ways account lists are assigned within a publishing sales force. Here's why divvying up business by ad agencies usually works the best.
As a media sales guy, I will gratefully take business from any agency with a fax machine and an email address. Rarely available to discuss campaign ideas or optimization? No sweat, I'll work with you. You say you never provide creative on time, yet you expect full delivery of time-sensitive, highly targeted inventory? I thank you for your business. History of paying your bills 6 months late? Go ahead and send me the insertion order!
We recently had an industry moment brought on not by an acquisition or a new technology, but rather, by an advertisement touting a chicken sandwich. I first noticed it nestled above-the-fold on the home page of UGO.com. The copy read "There is no web site for it. It's tender and spicy and you just go eat it." So naturally, I clicked on the ad six or eight times. With each click, something I had never seen happen online occurred: absolutely nothing.
With Google selling other media and the eBay experimenting with selling cable TV and, most recently, radio, some publishers worry that automated, auction-based ad systems may be out to replace the brand ad sales executive. There are many reasons why this won't happen, regardless of whether these high-profile efforts are successful. But this doesn't lessen the need for both media sellers and advertisers to start thinking about separate strategies for inventory used for branding and inventory best used for achieving performance objectives such as efficient reach or "cost per whatever" (hat tip to Dave Smith, Mediasmith).