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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

(SALES) Your Baby is Ugly


When I started in sales, I learned quickly that you were not supposed to tell your clients they were ?wrong.? The general rule:  Don?t tell clients their baby is ugly; instead ask them questions and provide them with independent research so they can come to the conclusion on their own.

For the September 8 edition of Radio Ink magazine I had the pleasure of writing a feature story, ?Selling Spots In A Digital World.? Editor Ed Ryan was kind enough to put the article online for you to read, even if you?re not a subscriber. You can find it HERE.
At first, ?digital? simply meant having a website. From there we evolved to selling ?digital real estate? on that website. Then we quickly moved to streaming, email blasting, text message clubs, and social media integration. These new points of contact allow you to connect on a deeper level with your audience and/or customers.

Traci Northrop of the Milwaukee Radio Group (one of the DOS?s I interviewed) told me that the strength of their digital platforms is perfect for advertisers to ?come along for the ride? when it?s appropriate. A small Main Street business would have a hard time getting 500,000 followers on Facebook or Twitter. A radio company, on the other hand, with the ability to talk to the mass audience every day, can push people to their social media channels, invite them for further engagement, and super-serve the listener. This becomes another access point for your advertisers to reach your audience.

Digital can give you the ability to connect in more personal and targeted ways than, frankly, even radio can deliver. That being said, a digital strategy is based on an already existing strong brand. If you don?t have a strong brand, you aren?t going to get followers on Twitter or Facebook, and you?re not going to get people to sign up for your text clubs. The strength of your brand and the strength of the relationship you have with your customers will ultimately determine the strength of your digital strategy.

You cannot develop a brand using exclusively digital. Want proof? Go to a grocery store today and stand in any aisle. Point to one product on the shelf that built its brand using digital. You won?t find one. Highly successful digital campaigns like the Old Spice YouTube videos and such were only possible because the brand identity already existed.

Broadcast, on the other hand, is a push medium. Because we are ubiquitous we have massive reach and can push people to stores, websites, and social media sites. If customers don?t hear it or see it first, how are they possibly going to know about it?

Digital, according to those I interviewed, is the ?shiny new toy.? The problem is digital is taking advertising dollars off the table. It would appear most of those dollars are coming from traditional print media/newspaper advertising. Broadcast owners who have lived with a paltry 7 percent share of the advertising pie forever, see digital as a way to grow revenue. It is.

I heard horror stories of car dealers moving 100 percent of their money off radio and onto digital. I experienced the attraction of the ?shiny new digital toy? with some of the car dealers and other advertisers I was calling on. One of the greatest attractions in the early days to digital is that it was largely ?free.? It doesn?t cost anything to have a LinkedIn profile, or a Facebook page. So people started posting content about their products, their services, and their sales messages all over social media for free.

People participating in social media don?t care about your products, services, your special financing, and your limited deal. That?s not why they use social media. People use social media to connect with other people. It?s called ?social? for a reason. It?s not called ?more advertising that I don?t want to look at.? So your use, and your client?s use of social media and digital has to fulfill the ?connection? desire of your fans and customers. It?s about engaging the audience with content that is non-sales related.

I?ve continued to research the ?bleed? of revenue going from radio to digital, and shockingly I?m finding out about things that are literally fraud.

Dealer Marketing magazine, an auto industry publication, recently did a September 24 feature article called, "Bot Fraud On Automotive Sites." Ari Jacoby is CEO and co-founder of Solve Media. He was the author of the article. Solve Media has done some great research on Bots and fraud in Internet advertising. They created a great infographic called ?How to Talk to Your Clients About Bots.? It?s a quick analysis of what Bots are, and what they mean to your advertisers. It also shows how much money they are potentially wasting, and most importantly, how to reduce the impact of Bots in your digital marketing.

We are in the advertising business. To be successful, we must be a source of business advantage to our advertisers. That means sharing with them research and information about how to make their advertising more effective. The RAB is a great resource on competitive media analysis research and why broadcast is such a strong choice.

Since auto is one of the largest categories broadcasters call on, sharing that article with your car dealers would be a great service. I?ve already shared this research on digital with many of my broadcast clients. I would be happy to help you do the same. Just send me an email. I?ll provide you links to the articles, the infographic PDF on Bots, and whatever else I can provide to help you tell a compelling story for broadcast.

You don?t have to tell your advertisers that their baby is ugly. There is plenty of research done by independent, non-radio/TV-related companies, that are doing a fine job for us. Our mission is to help our clients build their businesses. Sometimes that requires telling them things they are not going to like.

Jeff Schmidt is EVP and partner with Chris Lytle at Sparque, Inc. You can reach Jeff at

Twitter: @JeffreyASchmidt

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