When it comes to successful sales, what you don’t know about competitors can hurt you.
Jack, your top advertising salesperson, has just told you of his latest sale – a 13 week contract to Tom’s Bakery. This has been a tough selling job and Jack is very proud of his accomplishment.
Now, as you might expect, Tom is going to carefully check the response to his ad, even though Jack has sold him on the idea of a campaign to tell the story of his business and that readership will be like a snowball, slowly building as time goes by.
A Predictable Reaction From Other Media
In the days following the first ad of the 13 week campaign, Tom is inundated not by customers, but by a cable TV salesperson, two radio station people, a daily newspaper salesperson, and a woman from the local billboard company. All these people say that their medium can do better in reaching Jack’s audience, both in terms of numbers and cost.
By the time Jack goes back to Tom the following week, Tom has developed a certain amount of doubt about the wisdom of his 13 week contract, particularly since the customer response to his first ad was less than overwhelming. Jack does his usual job of reselling Tom. The second ad insertion passes and the response isn’t bad, but the onslaught of competing media goes on, representing an ever present threat.
Jack Needs Some Help To Counter-Act Other Competition
Keeping communication lines open and active between your publication and its advertisers is imperative to offset competitive claims which are frequently aimed at undermining the Advertiser’s confidence in your sales arsenal. An excellent devices is a monthly newsletter from the publisher giving upbeat data about your paper: news features, success stories about advertisers, information about upcoming special promotion sections, community events sponsored by your publication, etc.
Another valuable service would be to provide source material from Trade Associations Publications devoted to retailing and marketing. Another wise move is for the Publisher to subscribe to these various publications to understand the inside aspects of the advertiser’s business, as well as providing information for the newsletter.
What About Marketing Seminars?
The publisher can achieve a huge public relations hit by sponsoring a seminar for his inactive, regular, and prospective customres. The end effect is to have the customers far more receptive to his salespeople and less inclined to look around at other competing media competition. This program can be conducted by an outside marketing expert who has the expertise to conduct such a seminar, or by a member of your top management. A good agenda might be:
The psychology of advertising – Why do people advertise? How to build a great campaign. How to develop a yearly marketing plan. Understanding media – advantages and disadvantages. Nuts and bolts of good ad design – Examples of good and bad ads. Small group workshop exercise – Designing a kick-off ad of a campaign.
Advertising Is War
Would a General fight a war without knowing the size, composition and disposition of the opposing forces? Salespeople with inside knowledge of their competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are better able to understand their own and adjust selling strategy accordingly. Conventions, trade shows, seminars and other professional meetings can afford you a perfect opportunity to talk with your competitors. Regular attendance at ad club and Chamber of Commerce meetings can bring you face-to-face with representatives of competitive media. Don’t be afraid to share some information about your publication as well . . . . you don’t want to come across as an interviewer asking a lot of questions.
Victory in media warfare belongs to the creative advertising salesperson who can write good campaigns, control budgets, develop more meaningful relationships, worry about the customer’s image, and constantly study competing media. Add constant pre-occupation with strategy and you have a good assault concept. As a final note, positive selling – selling your own publication instead of downgrading other salespeople and criticizing your competitors, has always been a good sales guideline. Advertising prospects expect you to sell your own publication. Understandably enough, they do not want to appear foolish for buying competitive media. The bottom line is that you present yourself and your publication in such a way that you effectively counter-act other media.