More than thirty years ago I sold advertising for both a full-power television station as well as an FM radio station. (Note, I still provide advertising opportunities on our current stations but that’s a whole other column for the future) I built a great list with mostly solid, easy renewal advertisers.
But I never treated any of them like I believed that for one minute.
No, I didn’t pepper them weekly with calls or visits asking if everything was working. That approach can often backfire as well. Like chum (shark-bait) in the water when some folks sense any weakness or concern on another’s part they will attack. I never want the blood in the water to be a sale disappearing into the briny deep.
On the other hand I never took, or take, a client for granted.
How does one achieve that balance. Being a part of the ATBA I know there are folks involved with many more years of experience than myself in this arena. I welcome your feedback on this, or frankly, anything I contribute.
In my personal experience there are three ways to address those who come along side our stations financially in exchange for airing ads which promote their products and or services. (Please note: none of this applies to political ads which are another whole kettle of fish.)
Methodology number one – advertisers as “Clients”. This view can often sum up our relationship with a very savvy advertiser as well as an agency. They already know what they want, have a good idea (or we share it with them) how our station can help them achieve their desired result and have a fairly firm budget in mind. With these folks our main task as an outlet for their message is to provide up to date information regarding programming, reach and documentation (proof of performance) of our execution of the agreed upon placement/airing of their ads. Usually clients appreciate our touching base sporadically during a campaign if only to say thanks and ask if there’s anything we can do on our end to make a change they would desire in the schedule. This classification does not need to have their hands held during the process and appreciates the calm, confident professionalism that comes from a broadcaster that believes in their ability to deliver a desired audience.
Methodology number two – advertisers as “Customers”. Have you seen those recent ads for the national car buying/selling company where the guy with the chain saw is supposedly carving a tiger from a block of wood? He mentions that folks visiting a car lot don’t like to be “pounced on” like being the prey of a tiger. Same way, I have found, with many of our advertisers. Sometimes they have something in mind, oft times it is the very real need of promoting their products/services to our potential audience. While it’s true that virtually no sales are ever made without the “ask” it’s making that “ask” at the right place, the right time and with the right verbiage that makes the difference.
What is the right place, etc.? And what is the third methodology? You’ll need to either join the ATBA or stay tuned, if you’re already a member, to learn more.
Until then, keep your transmitter cool, your paperwork filed and the light on the top of the tower on,