Clients, Customers or Co-Workers – How to Treat Your Advertisers Like They Matter

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,

Rod Payne

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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.


The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance